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 a 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 both a surgical abortion and when taking the abortion pill, 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 Disease (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 – medication 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 drugs – mifepristone and misoprostol – that end and cause your body to expel the pregnancy.
The first drug – 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 drug – 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.
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
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, a surgical abortion will likely be recommended as a safer option. Two of the types of surgical abortions as outlined below.
VACUUM Aspiration: (first trimesteR)
In this procedure, your cervix will be dilated. 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): (second trimester)
This abortion method is the most involved, often requiring a sedative. For this procedure, your cervix will be dilated like in a vacuum 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 removed.
Potential Risks of surgical abortions:
- Failure to end the pregnancy
- Tissue remaining in the uterus
- Injury to the cervix
- A hole in the wall of the uterus (uterine perforation)
- Moderate to severe vaginal bleeding
- Psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, 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.
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