The Abortion Option?

So, you’re thinking about abortion.  This is an important decision so you’re doing the right thing by getting as much information as possible. We are pro-woman and will get you the answers you need to help you make the decision that’s best for you. We also do not have a financial investment in your decision so we can offer you unbiased information about your options and your pregnancy. Our staff will provide you with facts about abortionparenting and adoption, as well as provide the important medical testing you need, all free of charge.

Since 20 – 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage you need to first find out if you have a viable pregnancy.  Early in pregnancy, a viable pregnancy is one in which the woman’s HCG levels are rising normally, the fetal heart is beating and the fetus is in the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy is one in which the gestational sac implants outside of the uterus. It is important to rule out an ectopic pregnancy before having an abortion especially if you are considering the Abortion Pill. The FDA states that “mifepristone is not effective for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy,” and also recently issued a warning about sepsis occurring after medical abortions with mifepristone.

Types of Abortion?

So you’ve had a positive lab grade pregnancy test and a diagnostic ultrasound to determine how far along you are and that you have a viable pregnancy, now what are your abortion options?   

Abortion Pill/ Medication Abortion/ RU-486/ Chemical Abortion

  • When can I do it?  You need to be less than 70 days after the first day of you Last Menstrual Period (less than 10 weeks) to use the pill.  The FDA does not recommend use beyond 10 weeks and it becomes less effective if used later often resulting in having to have a surgical abortion or additional medication to complete the process. Options for Women offers free ultrasounds to women who medically qualify.  Call us today to schedule an appointment
  • Why choose the Abortion Pill instead of a Surgical Abortion?  Women often choose this method because they can do it at home and it isn’t a surgical procedure.
  • What is the Abortion Pill or Medication Abortion? – It actually is a combination of two medicines.  You first are given a pill called Mifeprex (mifepristone) this medication blocks a hormone called progesterone which is needed for a pregnancy to continue to progress.  After 24-48 hours you will take a second pill called Misoprostol that will cause the fetus to be expelled from your body.
  • How will I feel during the abortion?  Everyone is different but most women report not feeling any different after taking the first pill of Mifeprex but some do report light spotting.  After you take the second pill Misoprostol usually within the first hour but sometimes longer you will start having heavy cramping, nausea, diarrhea, fever, chills (like you’re having the flu on top of a really painful period).  You will start passing large blood clots as your pregnancy is expelled from your body.
  • Do I have to go back to the abortion clinic?  Normally you are seen 7 to 14 days after your abortion to make sure that the medication has worked properly and you have expelled everything from your uterus.  This is important and failure to keep this appointment may result in severe health problems if you have retained any part of the pregnancy.
  • How long does it take for me to feel normal?  You will usually pass your pregnancy within 3-4 hours and it normally takes 1-2 days to complete the abortion.  Normally you will continue to have bleeding/spotting and cramping for 4-6 weeks.   It is recommended that you do not have sexual intercourse for at least 2 weeks following the abortion to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Does it work? For women choosing the abortion pill at 10+ weeks the pill works 87% of the time to end their pregnancy.  Some women require additional medication or have to have the surgical procedure to remove the pregnancy completely.
  • Can I change my mind?   We recommend you take the time you need to be very sure of your decision before taking the medication.  But, if after you take the first pill you change your mind and decide you want to keep your baby there is hope.  There is a medical process called Abortion Pill Rescue that has been shown to be successful in reversing the effects of Mifeprex. 
  • When do I need to go for emergency care?  Most women do not have complications following their Medication Abortion however if you start to have any of the following signs and symptoms you should get emergency care as soon as possible:

Heavy bleeding – soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours

Severe abdominal or back pain

Fever lasting more than 24 hours

Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

  • Can everyone take the Abortion Pill? The FDA does not recommend use in women who are more than 70 days (10 weeks) into their pregnancy, have an ectopic pregnancy, have problems with their adrenal glands, have an IUD in place, have a bleeding disorder, take certain steroids, take medicine that thins your blood, have porphyria, or if you are allergic to mifepristone, misoprostol, or medicines that contain misoprostol, such as Cytotec or Arthrotec.
  • What is RU-486 is that different than the Abortion Pill?  RU-486 is the former name for the medication Mifepristone.

Suction Aspiration or Vacuum Aspiration Abortion Procedure (6-13 weeks of pregnancy)

  • When can I do it?  Usually done when your pregnancy is between 6-13 weeks along.  It is important to have an ultrasound to determine how far along you are to see if this procedure might be right for you.   Options for Women offers free ultrasounds to women who medically qualify.  Call us today to schedule an appointment
  • Why choose the Vacuum Aspiration Abortion over the Abortion Pill?  Women often choose this method because it has a higher success rate (96-100%) and the procedure is completed in a predictable time period.  
  • What is a Vacuum Aspiration Abortion?  This involves removing the fetus and placenta from your uterus through your vagina with a suction device and/or a scraping tool called a curette. Depending on factors like the fetus’ gestational age, a surgical abortion is performed under anesthesia. This procedure itself takes around five to 20 minutes.  You will then go to a recovery room for 30-45 minutes.  The entire procedure usually takes 3-4 hours.  Afterwards you will be released to your home. 
  • How will I feel during the abortion?  Most women feel cramping during the procedure as the fetus and the placenta are removed from the uterus.  The cramping will decrease after the cannula (tube) is removed.  Some women may also experience, nausea, sweating or feel faint.  You may also experience bleeding, cramping, or spotting for days after a surgical abortion.
  • How long does it take for me to feel normal?   After the procedure it is recommended for you to go home and rest for the day.  The next day you may resume your normal activities though it is recommended that you do not do any heavy lifting or strenuous activities.  Usually women have irregular bleeding and spotting up to 2 weeks following the procedure.  It is recommended that you use a pad instead of tampons.
  • Does it work?  It has a high success rate of 96 to 100%. 
  • Can I change my mind?   We recommend you take the time you need to be very sure of your decision before committing to having an abortion.  But if prior to them starting the procedure you may change your mind.  If you have any doubts tell the clinic you don’t want to go ahead with the procedure.  It’s okay, it’s your body and you get to choose if you go ahead with an abortion.
  • What are some complications that could happen?  While the procedure is normally very safe any surgical procedures has risks involved.  Possible complications are:  failure of the doctor to completely evacuate the uterus of the pregnancy, uterine perforation (puncturing the uterus), infection, bleeding and cervical laceration (tearing the cervix). 
  • Can I get pregnant after I’ve had an abortion?  Yes, most women can and do get pregnant following an abortion.  It is recommended that you give your body time to heal at least 2 weeks before resuming sexual intercourse.
  • What if after I’ve had the abortion I regret my decision?  Women often do have feelings of regret and sadness following an abortion.  If you continue to have feelings of sadness and depression it is recommended for you to seek counseling or medical care.  Options for Women PHC does offer post-abortion counseling and referrals to trained therapists to help you at this time.  Call today to speak to one our peer counselors about your feelings.

D&E:  Dilation & Evacuation Abortion Procedure (14-20 weeks of pregnancy)

  • When can I do it?  This procedure is the most common for second trimester pregnancies (14-20 weeks). It is important to have an ultrasound to determine how far along you are to see if this procedure might be right for you.   Options for Women offers free ultrasounds to women who medically qualify.  Call us today to schedule an appointment
  • What is different between the Vacuum Aspiration Abortion and the Dilation & Evacuation Abortion?  The two procedures are very similar but a Dilation & Evacuation abortion is done when your pregnancy is further advanced therefore, the instruments that are used are larger and your cervix needs to be dilated (expanded) in order for the fetus to be removed.    
  • What is a Dilation & Evacuation Abortion?  This involves removing the fetus and placenta from your uterus through your vagina.  This is done by using a vacuum, forceps and a scraping tool called a curettage.
  • What is the procedure for a Dilation & Evacuation Abortion:  To prevent infection the doctor will give you an antibiotic.   Because you are further along in your pregnancy your practitioner may use a medication called Misoprostol to help open up your cervix.  A few hours or the day before the procedure depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy the physician will insert a cervical (osmotic) dilator (laminaria).  As the dilators absorb moisture they will expand and slowly open your cervix.  Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy the doctor may need to use progressively larger dilators.  After the dilators are in place women often report a feeling of pressure and/or intermittent cramping.  Once your cervix if sufficiently open the physician you will be given either regional or general anesthesia to reduce the pain and discomfort.  The physician will then place a cannula (hollow tube) to suction the fetus and the placental tissue.  In addition he/she will use forceps to remove the larger fetal tissues.  This is followed by a curette (a small scraping tool) to scrape the uterine lining which is again suctioned to ensure no remaining fetal parts are left in.  Following the procedure you will then be taken to a recovery room to rest and recover before being discharged to your home.
  • How will I feel during the abortion?  Depending on the anesthesia used you may or may not feel anything.  If a regional anesthesia is used you will likely feel pressure or intermittent cramping as your cervix dilates with the introduction of the dilators.  During the procedure you may feel some cramping as the fetus and the placenta are removed from the uterus.  The cramping will decrease after the cannula (tube) is removed.  Some women may also experience, nausea, sweating or feel faint.  You may also experience bleeding, cramping, or spotting for days after a surgical abortion. 
  • Will my baby feel pain during the procedure?  At this time scientists are not in agreement if a baby feels pain at this level of development.  
  • How long does it take for me to feel normal?   After the procedure it is recommended for you to go home and rest for a day or two but it may take up to a few weeks to resume all of your normal activities especially is you have a later term abortion.  It is recommended that you do not do any heavy lifting or strenuous activities and avoid sexual intercourse for at least 2 weeks if not longer.  Usually women have irregular bleeding and spotting up to 2 weeks following the procedure.  It is recommended that you use a pad instead of tampons.
  • Does it work?  It has a high success rate of 96 to 100%. 
  • Can I change my mind?   We recommend you take the time you need to be very sure of your decision before committing to having an abortion.  But if prior to them starting the procedure you may change your mind.  If you have any doubts tell the clinic you don’t want to go ahead with the procedure.  It’s okay, it’s your body and you get to choose if you go ahead with an abortion.
  • What are some complications that could happen?  While the procedure is normally very safe any surgical procedures have risks involved.  Possible complications are:  failure of the doctor to completely evacuate the uterus of the pregnancy, uterine perforation (puncturing the uterus), infection, bleeding and cervical laceration (tearing the cervix). 
  • When should I call my doctor or go to the ER following an abortion?  If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms following an abortion you should seek medical care:  a fever of 100.4 or higher, using one or more pads in an hour due to heavy bleeding, severe abdominal or back pain, unusual or foul smelling discharge.
  • Can I get pregnant after I’ve had an abortion?  Yes, most women can and do get pregnant following an abortion.  It is recommended that you give your body time to heal at least 2 weeks before resuming sexual intercourse.  
  • What if after I’ve had the abortion I regret my decision?  Women often do have feelings of regret and sadness following an abortion.  If you continue to have feelings of sadness and depression it is recommended for you to seek counseling or medical care.  Options for Women PHC does offer post-abortion counseling and referrals to trained therapists to help you at this time.  Call today to speak to one our peer counselors about your feelings.