Procedural Abortion (Up to 15 Weeks, 6 Days)
Having a procedural abortion is a SAFE & EFFECTIVE option for ending a pregnancy in the first 15 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy.
A procedural abortion, also known as aspiration abortion, is usually administered by a method called vacuum aspiration. The procedure itself usually takes only five to ten minutes, and is a common in-office gynecology service.
While the procedure itself last only minutes, additional time is needed for registration, paperwork, lab services and recovery. Please plan to be in our office for 4-5 hours for you abortioncare appointment.
You will have an opportunity to meet with your health educator to discuss the procedure and your feelings and concerns at your appointment. Our staff is here to support and help both patients and those who are with you in this experience.
In the video below, Dr. Jan Fruiterman, one of the board-certified gynecologists at Falls Church Healthcare Center, explains aspiration abortion:
What to Expect
You will be assigned a health educator who serves as your advocate to assist you with paperwork, review your appointment and answer your questions. At your appointment your sonogram will be obtained and medical history reviewed, lab work is performed and pre-medications given before you are readied for the procedure. These are important opportunities for you to meet your medical team and to relax.
The abortion procedure will be performed by one of our Board Certified Clinicians. The procedure itself takes only a few minutes and typically is not performed until the embryo is visualized by sonogram, usually after 5-6 weeks gestation.
- Local anesthesia (awake) or IV sedation (asleep) is administered
- Sterile medical instruments, a dilator and cannula, are gently inserted through the vaginal cavity, into the cervix opening and into the uterus.
- The cannula is connected to a device that will provide the gentle suction needed to safely remove the pregnancy tissue from the uterus. This may make a slight, annoying sound.
- Following the procedure, we allow ample recovery time in our patient’s lounge. You will be discharged with written and oral instructions on how to take care of yourself and what to do if you have a problem.
BEFORE your abortion procedure
- Avoid sexual intercourse the day before the procedure
- Avoid douches 48 hours before the procedure
- Avoid vaginal creams or medications 1 week before the procedure
- Please do not wear fingernail polish
If you’re NOT having anesthesia you will be AWAKE – you can:
- Take Tylenol or Motrin 30 minutes prior to your appointment time.
- Drive yourself home.
If you’re HAVING anesthesia you will be ASLEEP – you must:
- NOT eat, drink, chew gum (nothing by mouth) 6 hours prior to your appointment. Be sure to drink water before you begin to fast.
- Please bring someone with you to drive you home…you cannot drive yourself home.
- Plan to be at the center at least 4-5 hours. You will have a 30 minute recover time in the patient lounge.
AFTER your abortion procedure
- Harmless vaginal bleeding and some discomfort is possible immediately after the procedure.
- Some women may need to use a pad for a few days after the procedure.
- Comply with the clinician’s instructions for follow-up visits and any needed re-tests.
- You will be given aftercare instructions that includes no sexual activity for at least 1 week.
About 2-3 weeks after your procedure, please call FCHC for a follow-up phone appointment.
Please Note: Completing a urine pregnancy test prior to calling will help our nurse in your follow-up assessment.
We encourage and will assist you in exploring various family planning / birth control options.
Additional Information about Procedural Abortion using Vacuum Aspiration
- National Abortion Federation: I’m Pregnant: What are the options?
- National Abortion Federation: First Trimester Abortion: A Comparison of Procedures
- How does procedural abortion work?