When you come for your appointment, you will fill out some forms. You will then have lab work and an ultrasound. You will then speak privately with a counselor who will describe how to terminate a pregnancy as well as other options and then you will sign a consent form.
You will be given a Xanax and an ibuprofen to help to relax you and reduce cramping during the procedure.
You will have an IV started and medicines introduced to relax you and make the procedure comfortable.
You will speak to the anesthetist who will start an IV. At the time of the procedure, medicine will be introduced through the IV to make you go to sleep.
At the time of the procedure, you will have a speculum placed in the vagina; this is like when you go for a pap smear. The physician will give you numbing medicine around your cervix and then dilate your cervix if needed. Suction will be used to remove the pregnancy. The physician will do a final check with a curette to make sure the uterus has been emptied. The abortion takes about 5 minutes.
After that, you will be taken to the recovery room for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
If taking the Abortion Pill (RU486)
You will be given a pill in the office as well as other pills to take at home the next day. You will bleed and cramp, usually for 2 to 12 hours heavily but then will taper off and may last 3 weeks.
Abortion is a very safe procedure. In any surgical procedure, there are risks of minor and major complications. These risks during first trimester abortion are relatively low in comparison with many surgical procedures. Complications which can occur during or after abortion are:
- Some of the tissue remaining in the uterus (incomplete abortion). This may require a second procedure at no charge to you.
- Perforation of the uterus and internal injuries resulting from that. This may occur one time in every two thousand procedures.
- Infection can occur which may require further treatment.
- Laceration of the opening of the uterus might require stitches.
- Heavy bleeding or hemorrhage, pains, continuing pregnancy is also possible, though very improbable, complications.
- Shock and death can occur from any surgical procedure, including abortion. Deaths due to first trimester abortions are 0.4 per 100,000, 10 times less than childbirth.
- Emotional problems may occur but are unlikely.
There are alternatives to abortion. They are continuing the pregnancy and keeping the baby or putting the baby up for adoption.
Withdrawal of Consent
You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time prior to the performance of the abortion.
Offer to Speak to the Physician
You may speak with the physician on the day of the abortion so that he may answer any questions you may have.
Probable Gestational Age
Pregnancy is dated from the 1st day of your last menstrual period. The 1st trimester is the first 13 weeks from your last period. Early abortion options are available. Virginia state law requires that you have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before your procedure if you live less than 100 miles away or at least 2 hours before your procedure if you live more than 100 miles away.
Offer to Review Printed Materials
You have the right to review printed materials provided by the Virginia Department of Health which describe the fetus and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion; medical assistance benefits available for prenatal care; and information of child support and assistance in collection form the father.