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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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