Abortion means the termination or ending of a pregnancy. It ends the growth of the embryo so it does not develop into a baby. If abortion occurs naturally, it is called a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. If performed by choice, it is called an induced abortion. The following will describe how induced surgical abortions are performed here at Wasatch Women's Center.
In this country, 91% of all abortions are performed in the first trimester. The method used during this time is called "vacuum aspiration". We offer medication to make the procedure more comfortable. When it is time for your procedure, you will be asked to empty your bladder, and then you will be taken into an examination room. In the examination room, there is a stand for instruments, lights, gynecological table with leg rests, and the vacuum aspiration machine. In this room, you will be attended to by a friendly and knowledge medical assistant and a Board Certified OB/GYN physician who will perform the procedure. The physician will ask you if you have any questions before starting the abortion procedure.
As the abortion begins, the physician will gently insert an instrument called a speculum into the vagina. This opens the vagina so that the doctor can see and reach the cervix with the instruments. The speculum will stay in place until the abortion is over. The cervix is then numbed by an injection of a local anesthetic. After this, you may feel a moderate cramp as the cervix is held by an instrument called a tenaculum. The most important thing for you to remember is to keep the abdominal muscles relaxed. The assistant will help you with deep breathing exercises and give you other hints to assist you.
The cervix is dilated, with a series of dilating rods of graduating size that will be slowly inserted and removed one at a time. This stretches the cervix and allows for the insertion of a small plastic tube, called a cannula or curette, into the uterus.
Once the plastic tube is inserted, the vacuum aspiration machine is turned on. This will sound like a small running motor. As the uterus emptied, you will experience some cramping.
The total time needed to do the abortion is usually five minutes or less. When it is over, you may feel crampy, shaky, or lightheaded. Since you experience post-operative bleeding, you will be given a sanitary pad.
Once you are able, you may dress and go into the recovery area where you will stay for approximately 30 minutes. In recovery, you will be given prescriptions, and post operative care instructions. Refreshments are available for you. Before leaving the Center, a 2 week follow-up appointment will be scheduled. The follow up appointment is at no extra charge and is vital in assuring a complete recovery.