First Trimester Surgical Abortion
Suction Aspiration or Vacuum Aspiration
6-12 Weeks After LMP1
- Patient lies on her back with feet in stirrups and a speculum is inserted to open the vagina.
- A local anesthetic is administered to her cervix. Then, a tenaculum (a slender sharp pointed hook attached to a handle, and 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 cervix is wide enough, a cannula (a long plastic tube connected to a suction device) is inserted into the uterus to suction out the baby and placenta.
- The procedure usually lasts 10-15 minutes, but recovery may require staying at the clinic for a few hours.
Risks and Side Effects
- Cramping, nausea, sweating, and feeling faint.
- Less frequent side effects include possible heavy or prolonged bleeding, blood clots, damage to the cervix and perforation of the uterus.
- Infection due to retained remains of the baby and related tissues, an STD, or bacteria being introduced to the uterus, can cause fever, pain, abdominal tenderness, scarring, infertility and in some cases, death.
Some symptoms can indicate an emergency complication stemming from your abortion. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical care:
excessively heavy bleeding (as discussed above)
strong-smelling vaginal discharge
severe abdominal pain
Bleeding after an abortion
Many women will experience bleeding after an abortion. During this time period, you may experience days with light to heavy spotting.
It’s also normal to pass blood clots, though passing large clots (the size of a golf ball) for more than two hours is not normal.
Consistent heavy bleeding is defined as going through two or more maxi pads in one hour, or bleeding heavily for 12 hours or more. This may be a sign of complications, and especially so if the blood is bright red after the first 24 hours post-abortion, as compared to a darker red, or if it accompanies a stabbing, persistent pain.
Sex after an abortion
After both types of abortion procedures, it’s typically advised that you wait about two weeks before having sex or inserting anything vaginally. This reduces the risk of infection, and is an important part of post-abortion care.
If you have unprotected sex following an abortion, call your doctor or local clinic and ask what measures you can take to prevent pregnancy.
If you suddenly experience sharp pain during sex after an abortion, call your local clinic for advice. If they believe it’s not an emergency, they may still schedule you for a follow-up.
Fetal Development Weeks 9-12
The following describes some of the developmental steps of the baby during the time frame when a woman is eligible for a vacuum abortion.
- Upper lip, teeth, fingers and ears begin to form
- Toes and genitals are forming. Baby can make a fist
- Baby has permanent fingerprints
- Baby starts to produce urine
- All organs are functioning by week 12
1 LMP – Last Menstrual Period
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