Before your Procedure
When you arrive at The Women’s Centers for your abortion, you will be treated with compassion and respect while receiving the highest quality, individualized medical care. Your service will include a series of pre-procedure assessments with medical staff and patient advocates.
You will receive the following care as we prepare you for your abortion procedure:
- Ultrasound – to determine the gestational age of the pregnancy
- Lab testing – to determine RH blood type, hemoglobin level, and vital signs
- History and Physical – to review your medical history, current physical state, and birth control options
- Support and Education – to address your questions, concerns, and what to expect afterwards
FIRST TRIMESTER ABORTION PROCEDURES IN THE CENTER
At our Centers, abortion procedures in the first trimester are generally performed within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and are completed by a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D&E). The procedure will take approximately 5 minutes, although your entire visit to the Center may take several hours (including wait time), to safely work with your unique body.
The procedure can be performed with either local or intravenous (IV) sedation. Most patients call local anesthesia “awake” and IV sedation, “asleep.” It is not uncommon for patients to choose to be “awake” for an abortion in the first trimester. If you choose local anesthesia you will be awake and conscious during your procedure. The medication will lessen your pain but you will still experience cramping and discomfort during the procedure. You will be able to leave the Center by yourself if you choose local anesthesia because you will be alert.
If you choose IV sedation you will get medications through an IV that will reduce anxiety and pain and cause a depression of consciousness. Choosing IV sedation means that you need to bring an escort who will register with you at the start of your appointment and assume responsibility for your safe delivery home after receiving the IV medications. IV sedation and local anesthesia are both intended to minimize discomfort but may not entirely eliminate pain or awareness of the procedure.
FIRST TRIMESTER ABORTION PROCESS USING MEDICATIONS
At our Centers, abortion by pill is offered in the first trimester until 11 weeks of pregnancy. The appointment at our Center will take a few hours so that we can give you personalized care and partner with you to understand how to use the medications and how to contact us if necessary. In order to manage your pain, we can give you a prescription for pain reliever.
SECOND TRIMESTER ABORTION
At our Centers, abortion procedures in the second trimester are generally performed between 12 and 28.6 weeks of pregnancy. Not all of our Centers offer abortion through 28 weeks, so please confirm with a patient advocate when you call to make your appointment.
During a second trimester procedure, your cervix needs to be dilated (opened) prior to the actual abortion procedure. Depending on your stage in pregnancy and your unique health history, this dilation may take anywhere from an hour up to overnight before your procedure. Most patients who are 17 weeks thru 28 weeks of pregnancy will require a two-day procedure.
Our compassionate staff will make sure your instructions are clear so that you understand how long you will be in our Center receiving care, and if you may need that extra day.
Anesthesia in the second trimester is done through IV sedation. IV sedation medications will reduce anxiety and pain and causes a depression of consciousness. Because these medications will make you drowsy and not alert, you are required to bring an escort who will register with you at the start of your appointment and assume responsibility for your safe delivery home after receiving the IV medications.