1st Trimester Abortion 4.6 – 12 weeks

First Trimester Abortion: Vacuum Aspiration (4.6—12 weeks)

The vacuum aspiration procedure is a one-day outpatient procedure. It is used to terminate pregnancy through the 12th menstrual week (12 weeks from the first day of your last period). You may choose to be either awake or asleep for a first trimester abortion.

When you arrive at the clinic, the receptionist will ask you to complete paperwork and read through an informational notebook. When you are finished, you will have an ultrasound. This shows how far along you are in your pregnancy. The ultrasound does not hurt. You will then be asked to leave a urine sample for a pregnancy test. A patient coordinator will then check your blood pressure, temperature, height, and weight. You will have a finger-poke to check your Rh type (the positive or negative part of your blood) and iron level.

Next, you will meet privately with a patient coordinator who will review your medical history. The patient coordinator will explain the procedure to you in detail and answer any questions you may have.

You will be taken to a dressing area and asked to change into a patient gown. You may place your belongings in a locker. You will then be called into the procedure room, where you will be introduced to the doctor. Our doctors are board-certified obstetrician-gynecologists, and they are experienced in performing abortions.

To begin the procedure, the doctor will put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. He or she will then use a series of round, smooth, dilating rods to gently open your cervix (the opening to your uterus). The doctor will gently remove the contents of your uterus. The abortion procedure takes less than 10 minutes.

Your anesthesia will be administered according to your preference as discussed when making your appointment. Family Planning Specialists offers the following options:

• Local Anesthesia (Awake): If you choose local anesthesia, you will be fully awake during the abortion. You will be given the option of taking a pain medication and a muscle relaxer prior to the procedure. Both medications are optional. The muscle relaxer we use also helps to prevent nausea. The doctor will inject Lidocaine (a numbing agent) into and around your cervix before completing the abortion. While the medications help to make you more comfortable, you may still experience some cramping during the procedure, which typically lasts less than ten minutes. An abortion with local anesthesia feels differently to different women; therefore some women feel only mild discomfort while others feel intense cramping. After the procedure, you will spend 30 minutes in the recovery room for observation and rest. If you take the muscle relaxer, you MUST have someone come to the clinic to drive you home.

• Moderate Sedation (Drowsy): If you choose moderate sedation, you may be drowsy and relaxed during the procedure. An abortion with moderate sedation feels differently to different women. Some women may feel only slightly drowsy while others feel extremely relaxed; some women feel only mild discomfort while others feel intense cramping. You MUST NOT eat, drink, chew or smoke anything for four hours prior to your appointment. Before the doctor begins your procedure, he or she will give you medications by IV. The doctor will also inject Lidocaine (a numbing agent) into and around your cervix. You will feel the effects in less than one minute. The abortion procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes. You will need to spend a half hour in the recovery room for observation and rest. Before you are allowed to leave the recovery room, our staff will confirm that your ride is in the lobby to drive you home. Under no circumstances will you be allowed to leave without a ride home. You MUST have someone pick you up. You may not take public transportation, take a taxi alone, or drive yourself home.

• General Anesthesia (Asleep): If you choose general anesthesia, you will be asleep during the entire procedure. This means that you will not feel anything at all and have no awareness during the procedure. You MUST NOT eat, drink, chew or smoke anything after midnight on the night prior to your appointment. Before the doctor begins your procedure, an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will give you anesthesia by IV. You will fall asleep in less than one minute. The abortion procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes. You will need to spend one hour in the recovery room for observation and rest. Before you are allowed to leave the recovery room, our staff will confirm that your ride is in the lobby to drive you home. Under no circumstances will you be allowed to leave without a ride home. You MUST have someone pick you up. You may NOT take public transportation or a taxi alone, or drive yourself home.