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Mabel's Voices Project

Suction Abortion

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens during a suction abortion?
During your visit you will read through and fill out paperwork, have a counseling session, and sign consent forms. After all of your questions have been answered, an ultrasound will be done to verify the gestation of your pregnancy. Once it is determined that you are within your first trimester, we can safely perform the abortion – this usually takes 10-12 minutes.

During the procedure we use a local anesthetic so you will be awake during the procedure. The anesthetic numbs the area around the cervix so that the doctor can open the cervix with sterile rounded-tipped rods without causing pain. Depending on the gestation of the pregnancy, the doctor will empty the uterus using either a hand held suction device or a suction machine. After the procedure is complete you will be here another 20 to 30 minutes or until you feel well enough to drive home. All together, plan on being here for 2 hours.

What does the abortion feel like?
Most women say the procedure feels like moderate to severe menstrual cramps that last for about 5 minutes. You will be offered some medication to help with this discomfort and your counselor will talk with you about different ways you can help relax your body – the more relaxed you are, the more comfortable the procedure is.

How long does it take to recover?
After an abortion you will probably have some cramping and bleeding and you should rest for the remainder of the day. Most women say they feel back to normal the following day. It is important not to do any heavy lifting or excessively hard physical work/exercise for a couple of days, as these activities will increase your cramping and bleeding.

Is a suction abortion safe?
Yes, suction abortions are very safe in early pregnancy, less than 0.3% of women receiving first-trimester abortions require hospitalization due to complications. The risks of a first trimester abortion are nearly 12% less than that of pregnancy but even with the most careful medical care before, during, and after an abortion, there are possible complications. At your visit we will review these possible risks and complications so you will be able to recognize their symptoms. The risk of death from a suction abortion is 1 per million; the risk of death from a medication abortion is 10 per million, and the risk from a full-term pregnancy is 128 per million.

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