This drug is approved for use in women up to the 49th day after their last menstrual period (LMP). The procedure usually requires three office visits.
This surgical abortion is done early in the pregnancy up to until 7 weeks after the women’s last menstrual period. A long, thin tube is inserted into the uterus. A large syringe is attached to the tube and the embryo is suctioned out.
This is the most common surgical abortion procedure. It is performed between 6 to 14 weeks after LMP. Because the baby is larger, the doctor must first stretch open the cervix using metal rods. Opening the cervix may be painful, so local or general anesthesia is typically needed. After the cervix is stretched open, the doctor inserts a hard plastic tube into the uterus, and then connects this tube to a suction machine. The suction pulls the fetus' body apart and out of the uterus. The doctor may also use a loop-shaped knife called a curette to scrape the fetus and fetal parts out of the uterus. (The doctor may refer to the fetus and fetal parts as the “products of conception.”).
This surgical abortion is done during the second trimester of pregnancy between 13-24 weeks after LMP. At this point in pregnancy, the fetus is too large to be broken up by suction alone and will not pass through the suction tubing. In this procedure, the cervix must be opened wider than in a first trimester abortion. This is done by inserting numerous thin rods made of seaweed a day or two before the abortion. Once the cervix is stretched open the doctor pulls out the fetal parts with forceps. The fetus' skull is crushed to ease removal. A sharp tool (called a curette) is also used to scrape out the contents of the uterus, removing any remaining tissue.
Physical side effects may occur with induced abortion, whether surgical or by pill. These include abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Abortion also carries the risk of significant complications such as bleeding, infection, and damage to organs. Serious complications occur in less than 1 out of 100 early abortions and in about 1 out of every 50 later abortions. Complications may include:
There is evidence that abortion is associated with a decrease in both emotional and physical health. For some women these negative emotions may be very strong, and can appear within days or after many years. Some women report the following: