There are several types of surgical abortions. Suction aspiration also called suction curettage, or vacuum aspiration abortion, is performed during the first 6 to 16 weeks gestation. Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is another type of procedure typically done in later weeks. Both types have risks and side-effects that greatly vary depending on your gestation and health.
Surgical abortions are done by opening the cervix and passing instruments into the uterus to suction, grasp, pull, and scrape the pregnancy out. The exact procedure is determined by the age and growth of the fetus (how far along you are).
Aspiration/Suction– Up to 13 weeks LMP (last menstrual period)
Most early surgical abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia is typically offered to reduce pain. The abortion involves opening the cervix, passing a tube inside the uterus, and attaching it to a suction device which pulls the embryo out.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) – 13 weeks LMP and up
Most second trimester abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia, oral, or intravenous pain medications and sedation are commonly used. Besides the need to open the cervix much wider, the main difference between this procedure and a first-trimester abortion is the use of forceps to grasp fetal parts and remove the fetus in pieces. D&E is associated with a much higher risk of complications compared to a first-trimester surgical abortion.
D&E After Viability – 24 weeks LMP and up
This procedure typically takes 2–3 days and is associated with increased risk to the life and health of the mother. General anesthesia is usually recommended, if available. Drugs may be injected into the fetus or the amniotic fluid to stop the heart before starting the procedure. The cervix is opened wide, the amniotic sac is broken, and forceps are used to dismember the fetus. The “Intact D&E” pulls the fetus out legs first, then crushes the skull in order to remove the fetus in one piece.
If you are considered late-term and are still considering an abortion, make an appointment with Options on Main today to talk about your options.