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Frequently Asked Questions
Your Appointment / What will happen to me during my appointment?
Your appointment will begin with paperwork asking for your medical history and offering you information
about the procedure you have chosen. You will have a counseling session, where someone will discuss
with you the medical information you have been given and answer any questions you have. You will
then be given a number of blood and urine tests to confirm that you are pregnant, to test your blood type,
and to test for several indicators of your general health. These tests will also establish a baseline
for blood tests you will be given after your procedure. You will have your temperature and blood pressure taken
to make sure you are physically well enough to undergo an abortion, and have your height and weight measured.
You will then be given an ultrasound to determine the exact size of the fetus and how many weeks pregnant you are.
From there, you will be taken to the procedure room. What happens in the procedure room will depend on the nature
of your procedure.
If you choose a non-surgical (Mifepristone) abortion, you will be given a pelvic exam, so that the physician
can confirm your pregnancy and evaluate your condition. You will then be given the first medication
which will begin the process of ending your pregnancy. The doctor will review with you the instructions
for Misoprostol administration and answer any questions you have. You will either be given an appointment
for two to three days later for Misoprostol administration or you will be given the Misoprostol tablets
to take home with you along with a prescription for painkillers- usually Tylenol 3. You will return
to the office for a check-up two weeks after the Misoprostol is taken.
If you are having a first trimester surgical abortion, you will be given a pelvic exam, so that the physician
can confirm the size of your pregnancy and position of your uterus and to evaluate your condition. You will be
given a sedative, if you have opted for one. The doctor will then insert a speculum to open the walls of the vagina,
so that s/he can see your cervix. S/he will administer a local anesthetic to numb your cervix. The doctor
will then use a series of tapered rods called dilators to gradually open your cervix. When your cervix
is dilated wide enough, the doctor will insert into the uterus a small plastic tube attached
to a suction machine (similar to the one dentists use to clear the mouth of saliva.) The tube
will be moved inside the uterus for a minute or two to remove all of the pregnancy tissue. The doctor
may also gently check the walls of the uterus with a small instrument called a curette.
Surgical procedures between 14 and 24 weeks of pregnancy are more complicated and usually take two
to three days. This procedure begins with the doctor inserting laminaria, a type of seaweed that swells
by absorbing fluid from the cervix. This allows the cervix to dilate in a gentle, natural fashion. The dilation
can take up to several days. You will return to the office each day to have your progress checked
and the laminaria changed. When your cervix has been dilated wide enough, the laminaria will be removed. The doctor
will then give you a sedative and remove the contents of the uterus.
After your surgical procedure you will dress and go to a recovery area where you will be monitored
for about an hour until you feel well enough to leave.
After the surgical procedure the absence or presence of blood is not uncommon. Some women will not bleed
at all while others may have medium to heavy bleeding afterwards. This bleeding normally slows down after
about a week or two. Spotting may occur for a couple weeks after the procedure. The spotting can last
until your normal menstrual cycle resumes four to six weeks after your procedure.
If you have any questions or concerns at any point during your visit, do not hesitate to talk to any member
of the staff about them. They have a lot of experience with this difficult situation and will help
and support you in whatever way they can.
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