Telehealth is available!

FCHC is proud to announce that we have implemented Telehealth as part of your abortion care appointment. Telehealth allows for you to meet with our patient educators to review your medical history with you, go over your options, and answer any questions you may have — at a time and in a location convenient for you!  Find out more at our Telehealth page.

Procedural Abortion – Asleep (Through 15 Weeks)

Having a procedural abortion is a SAFE & EFFECTIVE option for ending a 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 2.5 – 3 hours for your abortion care appointment. (If your last menstrual period was more than 12 weeks ago, please plan to be in our office for up to 4 hours.)

You will have an opportunity to meet with your patient 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:

Falls Church Healthcare Center – Aspiration Abortioncare
Watch this video on YouTube.

What to Expect

You will be assigned a patient 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.

  • Cervical preparation takes place prior to the procedure through administration of misoprostol which softens the cervix
  • IV sedation is administered (asleep).
  • 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
As you ARE having I.V. Sedation — remember:
  • 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 3-4 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 3 weeks after your procedure, please contact FCHC to provide follow-up status. You can do so by calling us or filling out our follow-up form at .

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

How does surgical abortion work?
Watch this video on YouTube.

Please see below for Procedural Abortion aftercare instructions.

Your Care at Home

Procedural Abortion

You can also download a PDF of this form locally here.


Cramping, spotting and/or bleeding are expected.

  • Cramping similar to menstrual cramps is normal
  • Bleeding may stop and start for a few days at a time, or there may be no bleeding at all
  • Passing clots while bleeding is normal
  • Irregular bleeding & spotting may continue for 6-8 weeks
  • Discuss persistent spotting and bleeding at your Online/Phone Follow-up Assessment
  • Pregnancy hCG hormones gradually decrease and pregnancy symptoms subside within 10-14 days
What to Avoid

  • If you had IV sedation, no driving until the following day

  • No intercourse for 7 days

  • Nothing in the vagina until bleeding slows in 3-7 days

  • No tampons or menstrual cups until bleeding slows in 3-7 days

  • No vaginal medications or suppositories unless instructed by a physician for 7 days
  • How to recover quickly and easily

  • Return to normal activity by the next day, including shower or bath

  • Enjoy fresh air and exercise

  • Treat cramping with ibuprofen. A cold pack or heating pad on the abdomen or lower back is helpful

  • Strenuous activity (heavy lifting, exercise) may increase bleeding, this is normal
  • Additional Information

  • Expect a period in 4-8 weeks

  • Your first period may be heavier and longer, include clots with more cramping than usual

  • Pregnancy can occur before your next period. Family planning information

  • Urine pregnancy hCG hormone tests may be positive up to 4-6 weeks.  Call if concerned

  • Discounted fees available for continuing GYN services

  • Persistent fever – 100.4 or higher for 4 hours or more

  • Severe cramping or pain not helped by medication

  • Very heavy bleeding: soaking a maxi pad every hour for 2 hours in a row

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours or more

  • No period by 8 weeks or persistent pregnancy symptoms

    • Online: go to or Call 703-532-2500.
    • During the COVID pandemic Falls Church Healthcare Center provides Online or Phone Follow-up Assessment
    • Prior to your Follow-up Assessment complete the urine pregnancy hCG hormone test you were given