Summary of Possible Options for Termination of Pregnancy

An abortion is a procedure that ends a pregnancy. There are different abortion options available depending on where you are during your pregnancy. These options include medical and surgical abortion.

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Abortion Options Overview

If you are trying to decide if abortion is the right option for you, understanding your abortion options can help you make a decision. Most abortions occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but the procedure can be done later in the pregnancy. The abortion option you choose will likely depend on how long you have been pregnant.

  • You have three options for premature termination of pregnancy that can be used to effectively and safely terminate a pregnancy. These methods of abortion can be done in the first trimester of pregnancy (1 to 12 weeks).
  • Surgical abortion options are commonly used in the second trimester of pregnancy; about 10% of abortions occur in the second trimester.

In general, second trimester abortions tend to be more risky than first trimester abortions. Don’t be fooled by rumors that abortion can cause breast cancer or mental health problems.

Medical abortion

If you want to have an abortion, medical abortion is an option. This method of termination of pregnancy is considered an option for premature termination of pregnancy. During a medical abortion, you will be prescribed certain medications to terminate your pregnancy. Medical abortion is also known as the abortion pill . It is FDA approved for use within 49 days of the first day of your last menstrual period. This equates to the seventh week of pregnancy (or five weeks from conception).

Medical abortion options can be used as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed by a pregnancy test. RU486 (trademark of Mifeprex ) has been used widely, safely and effectively for many years. A doctor will give you an abortion pill . Then, usually 24 to 48 hours later, you will need to take a second medicine called misoprostol. Sometimes only Mifeprex is used. When both drugs are taken, medical abortion can effectively terminate a pregnancy in 92-98% of cases without the need for surgery.

Manual suction abortion

Manual aspiration is an option for early termination of pregnancy. You can have this procedure any time between 5 and 12 weeks after your last period. During a manual suction abortion, your healthcare provider will use a manual suction syringe. This abortion option only takes a few minutes (5 to 15 minutes), has a minimal risk of scar tissue formation, and recovers quickly. The manual suction abortion method also has a very high success rate (it is 98-99% effective).

Abortion with vacuum aspiration apparatus

Apparatus vacuum aspiration is another method of early termination of pregnancy. You can have an abortion 5 to 12 weeks after your last period. During a vacuum suction abortion, your healthcare provider will most likely need to dilate (or open) your cervix. Then a tube connected to a bottle and pump will be inserted through the cervix. The pump turns on and creates a slight vacuum that sucks tissue out of the uterus. Machine-assisted aspiration abortion is done quickly, safely, and efficiently in your healthcare provider’s office or clinic.

Dilation and curettage abortion

Dilation and curettage (also known as D&C) is a surgical abortion option that can be used up to the 16th week of pregnancy. It used to be a popular early termination option, but with more non-invasive abortion options now available, the use of D&C is declining. Dilation means the opening of the cervix. Curettage is the removal of the contents of the uterus. A D&C procedure may be required if the vacuum aspiration abortion is unsuccessful. During D&C, a curette (a spoon-shaped instrument) is used to scrape the walls of the uterus. A D&C abortion can be done in a hospital under general anesthesia or in your healthcare provider’s office under local anesthesia.

Dilated abortion and evacuation

Dilation and evacuation (also known as D&E) is another option for surgical abortion. Dilation and evaluation is usually done during the second trimester of pregnancy (usually 13-24 weeks). About 24 hours before a dilated voiding abortion, a device called an osmotic (cervical) dilator is usually inserted into the cervix to slowly open it. This method of abortion takes about 30 minutes. It usually involves a combination of vacuum aspiration, dilation, and curettage, as well as the use of surgical instruments (such as forceps). D&E abortion is usually done in a hospital or clinic. This method of abortion is almost 100% effective, this is because your doctor will examine the removed uterine tissue to make sure the abortion is complete.

Induction abortion

An induction abortion is a procedure performed to end a pregnancy in the second or third trimester. This type of abortion is generally only used if there is a health problem in the fetus or pregnant woman. Induction abortion minimizes the risk to your health and can allow healthcare providers to perform more precise fetal dissections (to identify exactly what went wrong). Less than 1% of all abortions in the United States are induction abortions. During an induction abortion, you will be given medications that trigger the onset of labor. Then you will go through all stages of labor and delivery.

Uncorrupted extension and removal

Intact dilation and removal (also known as D&X and partial abortion) is an option for late abortion. After 21 weeks of pregnancy, an intact dilated and extractive abortion is performed. This late termination method results in the removal of an intact fetus and is therefore the most controversial of all termination options. The law against partial abortion during childbirth allows the use of intact D&X only if it is necessary to save the life of the mother. This abortion option may or may not be legal in your state; This is because the courts in some states have struck down this law.

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