Thinking about Abortion?

Get all the answers you need to make the choice that’s right for you.

In order to know which type of abortion you would be eligible for, you need to have an ultrasound exam to confirm viability of your pregnancy (show a fetal heartbeat inside the uterus) and determine exactly how far along your pregnancy is (gestational age).

We offer pregnancy testing and ultrasound exams. Call today to schedule a confidential appointment.

Until then, you can estimate the gestational age by counting the number of weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP).

Fewer than 9 weeks after LMP

RU-486 (Mifepristone (Mifeprex) and Misoprostol) “The Abortion Pill”

  • Mifepristone is given during your first office visit. Mifepristone is a pill which blocks progesterone from the uterine lining. This is the hormone which keeps the pregnancy alive. Without nourishment, the fetus dies. This alone may cause contractions to expel the fetus.
  • You return home for 36 to 48 hours. You may expel the fetus during this time.
  • Misoprostol tablets are given orally or inserted vaginally during the second office visit 36 to 48 hours later.
  • You will return home where the misoprostol will start contractions and expel the fetus. This may occur within a few hours or in some cases up to two weeks after taking the misoprostol.
  • A physical exam is done two weeks later to ensure the abortion was complete and that there are no immediate complications.
Risks and Side Effects:
  • The procedure is unsuccessful approximately 5-8% of the time, thus requiring an additional surgical abortion procedure to complete the termination or stop heavy bleeding.
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Infection
  • Not advised for women who have anemia, bleeding disorders, liver or kidney disease, seizure disorder, acute inflammatory bowel disease, or use an intrauterine device (IUD)
Fetal Development: Week 5-9
  • Development of brain and spinal cord
  • Heart begins to beat
  • Hands and feet are forming
  • Every essential organ has begun to form
  • Bones begin to form, muscles can contract

6-12 Weeks after LMP

Suction Aspiration or Vacuum Aspiration

  • You will lie on your back with your feet in stirrups. A speculum is inserted to open the vagina.
  • A local anesthetic is administered to numb the cervix. Then, a tenaculum [a slender sharp pointed hook attached to a handle, used mainly in surgery for seizing and holding parts] is used to hold the cervix in place for the cervix to be dilated by cone shaped rods.
  • When the cervical opening is wide enough, a cannula [a long, hollow plastic tube] connected to a high-power suction device is inserted into the uterus to suction out the fetus and placenta.
  • The procedure usually lasts 10-15 minutes, but recovery may require staying at the clinic for several hours.
Risks and Side Effects:
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Feeling faint
  • Possible heavy or prolong bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to the cervix or uterine lining
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Infection due to retained products of conception or infection caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), causing fever, pain, abdominal tenderness and possibly scarring.
Fetal Development: Week 9-13
  • Genitals have formed
  • Baby can make a fist
  • Buds for baby teeth appear

12-21 Weeks after LMP

D&C: Dilation & Curettage (12-15 Weeks)

  • Dilation and curettage is similar to suction aspiration, except that it uses a curette [a long, loop-shaped knife] to scrape the placenta and fetus away from the uterine lining.
  • A suction cannula [a long, hollow plastic tube] may be inserted to suction out remaining debris.
  • This procedure usually lasts 10-15 minutes but recovery may require staying at the clinic for several hours.
  • This procedure has the same risks as the suction aspiration, but heavy bleeding is more likely than with suction aspiration.

D&E: Dilation & Evacuation (15-21 Weeks)

  • In most cases, 24 hours prior to the actual procedure, the abortion provider will insert laminaria or a synthetic dilator into the patient’s cervix. This is necessary because the cervix must be dilated much more than for an early abortion.
  • The next day, cone-shaped rods of increasing size are used to continue the dilation of the cervix.
  • Forceps [a hinged instrument used for grasping and holding parts] are used to remove larger fetal parts.
  • A cannula is inserted to help suck tissue away from the uterine lining. Then using a curette, the lining is scraped to remove any residual tissue.
  • The procedure normally takes about 30 minutes and is usually performed in a hospital setting because of the greater risk for complications.
Risks and Side Effects
  • Nausea, bleeding and cramping may occur for two weeks following the procedure.
  • Infection due to retained products of conception or infection caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), causing fever, pain, abdominal tenderness and possibly scarring.
  • Damage to uterine lining or cervix
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

Induction or Prostaglandin Abortion

  • Prostaglandin is a drug which may be injected into the womb, or given as a pill. It causes strong uterine contractions.
  • To ensure that the baby will be dead upon delivery the abortionist may inject saline or urea.
  • Digoxin or potassium chloride will be injected into the baby’s heart to kill the child before delivery.
Risks and Side Effects
  • Nausea, bleeding and cramping may occur for two weeks following the procedure.
  • Infection due to retained products of conception or infection caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), causing fever, pain, abdominal tenderness and possibly scarring.
  • Damage to uterine lining or cervix
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

Dilation and Extraction or Partial-birth Abortion

  • After undergoing two days of dilation, the abortionist performs an ultrasound to locate the child’s legs and feet.
  • The abortionist then uses a large forceps to grasp one of the baby’s legs, pulls firmly, forcing the child into a feet down position.
  • The baby’s body is delivered in a manner similar to a breech birth. The baby’s head remains inside the birth canal. The abortionist uses a surgical scissors to pierce the child’s head at the base of the skull.
  • The abortionist then inserts a suction catheter into the brain and vacuums out the child’s brain tissue.
Risks and Side Effects
  • Nausea, bleeding and cramping may occur for two weeks following the procedure.
  • Infection due to retained products of conception or infection caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), causing fever, pain, abdominal tenderness and possibly scarring.
  • Damage to uterine lining or cervix
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
Fetal Development: Week 14-16
  • Fingerprints have developed
  • Baby begins sucking
  • Patient can feel baby start to move (fluttering)
Fetal Development: Week 17-20
  • Nails growing on fingers and toes
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes grow in
  • Patient feels baby’s movements more strongly

Contact us here or call us at 319-337-0575 for a confidential consultation for personal solutions.

Information turns fear into confidence.

Medical citation: http://americanpregnancy.org/unplannedpregnancy/surgicalabortions.html
Fetal Development citation: http://mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-development/PR00113