An unplanned pregnancy can be overwhelming as you consider all of your options and make a decision about what to do. If you’re considering abortion, know that there are different procedures and each one comes with its own set of risks so it’s important to be informed. TPHC does not provide abortions, however we have a caring and non-judgmental medical team on hand to answer any questions you may have. We’ve listed information below to get you started!
What should I do first?
Before making a decision, you need to answer three important questions. The answers to each will determine next steps and what abortion procedures are available to you.
Am I really pregnant?
This may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s one many people overlook! After pregnancy test, it’s important to confirm the pregnancy with an ultrasound. Once you have a positive pregnancy test, Turlock Pregnancy and Health Center offers no cost limited diagnostic ultrasounds.
How far along am I?
One of the purposes of an ultrasound is to figure out how far along your pregnancy is. This is important because it will determine the type of abortion procedure you can get. There are multiple procedures, each one dependent on how far along you are.
Could I have an STD?
Undiagnosed STDs can spread during a surgical procedure, so you should be tested before you get an abortion. If you have an STD like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, you’re at risk of contracting Pelvic Inflammatory Diseas (PID), which can increase your risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancies in the future. It may also decrease your ability to get pregnant in the future. We provide free STD testing so you can know for sure before pursuing an abortion.
Types of Abortion Procedures
The type of abortion procedure available is determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy. There are two main types of procedures – medical and surgical. In the state of California, a surgical abortion is available after viability (24 weeks) only if your life or health is at risk, which is another reason it’s important to get an ultrasound.
The Abortion Pill (RU-486)
This type of abortion is a medication abortion and is often referred to simply as the abortion pill. In reality, it is a series of two pills – mifepristone and misoprostol – that end and help your body expel the pregnancy.
The first pill – mifepristone – blocks your body’s progesterone supply from reaching the uterus, causing fetal demise. This pill can be taken at the doctor’s office when prescribed or taken at home.
The second pill – misoprostol – causes contractions to expel the fetus. It is typically taken at home 24-48 hours after the first pill.
You should schedule a follow up exam after the abortion to make sure the procedure was successful and that there are no complications to worry about. This should be scheduled about two weeks after your abortion.
Possible Risks & Side Effects:
- Heavy Bleeding
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after two weeks, consult a medical professional immediately.
Surgical Abortion Procedures
If you are more than ten weeks into your pregnancy, you will need to have a surgical abortion. There are three types of surgical abortions as outlined below.
Suction Aspiration (6-12 weeks after last menstrual period)
In this procedure, your cervix will be injected with a local anesthetic and cone-shaped rods will be inserted to cause dilation. Once your cervix has been widened enough, a long plastic tube will be inserted into your uterus. A suction device at the other end will suction out the pregnancy.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): (12-21 weeks after last Menstrual Period)
This abortion method is the most involved, often requiring a sedative. For this procedure, your cervix will be injected with local anasthetic like in an aspiration abortion, and a tube may be used to suction out the pregnancy. Forceps will also be used to remove larger sections. Finally, the lining of your uterus will be scraped to ensure all remnants of the pregnancy are suctioned out.
Possible Risks & Side effects of surgical abortions:
- Cramping, sweating, or feeling faint
- Heavy or prolonged bleeding
- Blood clots
- Damage to cervix or uterus from the scraping
- Infection (an antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent this)
- Psychological issues such as eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse
Turlock Pregnancy & Health Center is here to help you determine how far along you are and weigh all of your options so you can make an informed decision about your pregnancy. Please call us today to schedule your free appointment, or fill out our contact form.
Every visit is completely free and confidential. You are welcome to bring someone with you if you’d like. It’s helpful to have someone you trust to hear the information and help you process your decision.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2009). “Mifeprex Medication Guide.” U.S. Department of Health. Retrieved May 30, 2014 from http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM088643.pdf
Rue V M, Coleman PK, Rue J J, Reardon CC. Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women. Medical Science Monitor [Internet], 2004 Oct 01 [cited 2016 Sep 22]:: 10(10); SR%-16,
Babbel S. Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS)-Does It Exist? [Internet]. New York (NY): Sussex Publisher, LLC; 2010 Oct 25 [cited 2016 Sep 22]. .
Lanfranchi A, Gentles I, Ring-Cassidy E. Abortions Impact on Women 1st ed. Canada, Ontario. The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research; C2013 Chp 7, Biology and epidemiology confirm the abortion-breast cancer link; p. 109-142.
Anderson J. Abortion and the Risk of Breast Cancer: Information for the Adolescent Woman and Her Parents, [Internet]. [Gainesville (FL)]: American College of Pediatricians; 2013 Oct [updated 2013 Dec; cited 2016, Sep 15]