FAQ

During your appointment, you will have a one-on-one session with a patient coordinator to discuss your questions and concerns prior to surgery. Here are some of the more common questions women ask.

1. Is this confidential?
Yes, our services are completely confidential. For more information on privacy rights, click here: Privacy Notice
2. Do I need parental consent?
No, California law does not require minors to have parental consent at this time.
3. How do I schedule an appointment?
Appointments are readily available. You can usually schedule within one week of your call. Please call our office at (510) 268-3720 to schedule an appointment.
Our phone hours are:
Monday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday through Friday 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
4. What kinds of insurance do you accept?
We accept cash, Kaiser with a referral, Medi-Cal and some private insurance with prior verification.5. Can I bring my children with me to the office?
We do not allow children in the office. The appointment is long, and waiting is hard on everyone. In addition, some women find it upsetting to be near children immediately before the abortion.6. Will there be protesters?
There is no reason to expect protesters, but the office does not have control over their presence or absence. If protesters are present, Family Planning Specialists makes every effort to have clinic escorts available for patients outside. These escorts wear vests marked FPS. The City of Oakland has a “bubble law” ordinance that restricts the rights of anyone to come within 8 feet of you to counsel, harass, or interfere with you while you are within 100 feet of the clinic without your consent. These laws are enforced by the Oakland Police Department, and violators are subject to arrest. If you feel that your boundaries have been violated in any way, you have a right to file a formal complaint.



 7. Is it painful?
If you receive general anesthesia, you will be completely asleep during the procedure and will not feel anything at all. If you receive moderate sedation, you may feel drowsy and relaxed but also might have some mild to strong cramping. If you receive local anesthesia, you are awake during your procedure and may feel strong, uncomfortable cramping. However, some women feel very little discomfort, and the abortion procedure takes less than 10 minutes. If you take the abortion pill, you will likely have very intense cramping that lasts for up to several hours.

8. Will I be able to get pregnant again?
An abortion performed without complications will not affect your ability to get pregnant in the future.

9. How long does the procedure take?
An abortion procedure takes 10 to 15 minutes to perform. Your total appointment time will take 3 to 5 hours and may be split over two days.

10. How will I feel emotionally after the abortion?
A variety of feelings are normal following an abortion. You may be relieved that you made a difficult decision and the abortion is behind you. You may experience a sense of loss or feelings of sadness. It usually helps to talk about your feelings with someone who is close to you and can offer support. We can also provide referrals to counselors upon request.

11. What symptoms will I experience after the abortion?
Most women have bleeding and spotting following the abortion. These symptoms vary greatly depending on the individual and how far along you are into your pregnancy. They may last anywhere from a few days to three or four weeks. Most pregnancy symptoms, (such as nausea, sore breasts or low energy) are gone within one week.
Please click here to view our Aftercare Brochure.

12. Is it safe? What are the possible risks or complications of an abortion?
Although the possibility of having a complication during an abortion is very low, possible complications include excessive bleeding, retained tissue, missed pregnancy, perforation and infection. “Excessive bleeding,” or “hemorrhage,” is very rare, but may require you to be transferred to an emergency room if bleeding cannot be controlled in the clinic. “Retained tissue” means tissue that remains in the uterus after the surgery is over. Symptoms of retained tissue might be excessive bleeding, large blood clots and intense cramping. While uncommon, this complication is treatable by reaspiration (repeating the procedure to remove any residual matter). “Missed pregnancy” means that one can remain pregnant after the procedure is over. In other words, it is a failure to terminate a pregnancy. Although this is unusual, it can be corrected by repeating the procedure. “Perforation” means a tear in the cervix or puncture in the wall of the uterus. It is a rare complication. Infection, which is possible with any sort of surgical procedure, may typically be avoided by having nothing in the vagina for up to 2-3 weeks after the procedure and by taking all of the antibiotics we prescribe. About .01 in every 100,000 (one in a million) women die during or after a surgical abortion at 8 weeks gestation or less. About one in every 100,000 (one in one hundred thousand) women die during or after a medical abortion, miscarriage, or full-term pregnancy. In other words, a surgical abortion at 8 weeks or less is ten times safer than carrying a pregnancy full-term.

13. What do I do if I think I am having a problem after surgery?
If you think you are having a problem, call our office at (510) 268-3720. In case of an emergency we can be reached 24 HOURS a day.

14. Do you offer follow-up care?
A routine follow-up exam is not necessary unless you have taken the abortion pill, in which case it is necessary to ensure that the pill was successful in ending your pregnancy. If you are having problems or concerns related to the abortion procedure or recovery, we urge you to contact Family Planning Specialists to be seen for an evaluation as soon as possible.

15. When will I get my period again?
Most women will have a period four to eight weeks after surgery.

16. When will I be able to have sex again?
If you have had a second-trimester procedure (12—21.6 weeks), you should abstain from intercourse for three weeks. In fact, to prevent an infection, you shouldn’t insert anything into your vagina during this time. This includes tampons, douching, or submerging yourself in water—no swimming, baths or hot tubs. If you have had a first trimester (4.6—12 weeks) surgical or medical abortion, you should abstain from these activities for two weeks.

17. When can I return to normal activity?
You may return to normal activity when you feel ready. This may take from a couple of days to a week. We do recommend that you restrict any strenuous activity or heavy lifting (10 pounds or over) for one week.

18. Why do I have to have a ride? Why can’t I take a taxi or public transportation after receiving sedation or general anesthesia?
Driving after any type of sedation is a serious risk to your own safety and that of others. When you drive after receiving a muscle relaxer, moderate sedation or general anesthesia, you are legally “under the influence” of narcotic drugs. If arrested, you would be charged with a DUI and may need to pay large fines or serve jail time. Even taking public transportation alone is dangerous after being sedated. You will likely be dizzy and drowsy, so being alone without support while in a taxi, bus or BART can result in fainting or falling. Because the hours after your abortion are a sensitive time in which you may feel nauseated, very tired or weak, we want to make sure that you are transported safely home by someone you trust.

19. Why do I have to remove my piercings?
When you have your abortion, our medical team will be using surgical instruments to perform your surgery. It is possible for your piercings to “catch” onto this equipment and be torn out of your body, resulting in injury. Another possibility is having to insert an airway if you experience a loss of consciousness (“pass out”) or other respiratory distress. Facial piercings especially can get in the way of instruments that help you breathe safely. In addition, facial piercings may become loose and obstruct your airway and cause serious complications if your breathing becomes compromised.

20. What is Rh negative blood?
About 15% of the population has what is called “Rh negative” blood, which is inherited, like eye color. Pregnant women with Rh negative blood types must have a special injection after each abortion, miscarriage, or delivery. If any Rh negative woman does not receive this injection, antibodies may be released into her bloodstream which can cause complications with future pregnancies. The fee for this injection is fifty dollars in the first trimester and one hundred twenty-five dollars in the second trimester.

21. Which abortion method is right for me?
Please click here to view a Comparison Chart of Different Abortion Methods