The news of an unexpected pregnancy can be very alarming. In your case, you may be feeling scared because the pregnancy has progressed beyond the first trimester. There might have been a delay when it came to committing to a decision. For various reasons, you may not have realized you were pregnant at first. Or a change in your circumstances has caused you to consider abortion instead of parenting or adoption. Abortion procedures this late in pregnancy typically involve a few extra steps. Weighing the risks alongside your level of comfort with this procedure can help you analyze if this is the best option for you. When considering abortion at 16-24 weeks, it’s important to know where to turn.
Where can you find answers to your questions about abortions performed at 16-24 weeks gestation? Avenue Women’s Center offers private consultations at each of our six DuPage County centers. During your appointment, you’ll receive relevant information from one of our expert pregnancy consultants. We’ll help guide you through the different abortion methods and discuss potential abortion alternatives with you. Within a nonjudgmental environment, you can safely confide in our caring staff.
Call, chat, email, or text us so we can begin helping you sort through your next steps!
What Is a Dilation and Evacuation (D & E) Abortion?
It may be too late for a non-surgical abortion if you’re no longer in the first trimester. If you decide to have an abortion, you may undergo a dilation and evacuation (D & E) procedure. This abortion method usually requires preparation, and it may take a few days to complete.
A provider typically inserts sterilized seaweed (laminaria) inside you 24 to 48 hours before the abortion is performed. The laminaria slowly opens your cervix as it expands. Depending on where the procedure is done, you may leave and come back the next day to complete the procedure.
Upon returning, a provider may administer anesthesia. Your cervix might be opened wider with metal dilators and a speculum. Forceps may be used to remove the pregnancy and placenta. Also, a tube may be used to suction out the contents of the uterus. Then, a curette (or loop-shaped knife) is often used to scrape the uterine lining.
Are There Any Risks Associated With This Abortion Method?
It’s good to learn more about potential side effects before undergoing any kind of procedure. A healthcare provider or a pregnancy consultant can walk you through the risks of a D & E abortion.
Some possible adverse effects of a D & E abortion might include:
- Laceration of the uterus or cervix
- Hemorrhaging or blood loss
- Incomplete abortion
- Cervical damage
What Other Information Should I Gather Before Having an Abortion?
Your health matters when it comes to making an unexpected pregnancy decision. You may need to be screened for certain conditions prior to having an abortion when you’re 16-24 weeks pregnant.
Testing for Rh Factor
For example, it’s a good idea to be tested for the Rh factor of your blood. If your Rh factor is negative, you usually need an Rh immunoglobin injection (Rhogam). Coming into contact with the fetus’s blood during an abortion if the fetus is Rh-positive can lead to the buildup of antibodies. This can complicate future pregnancies. If you become pregnant again without having an injection, these antibodies may attack the fetus’s blood cells.
Being tested for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can be important as well. Some STD symptoms may not be noticeable right away. Ruling out the possibility of infection can prevent it from spreading.
Gathering Information Regarding the Pregnancy
The viability of your pregnancy can also play a role in your decision. An ultrasound exam may be necessary even if you’re considering abortion. Certain conditions may require medical treatment and render you ineligible for an abortion.
Knowing this information beforehand can alert you to possible complications. It can also give you an idea about what you may need to do before moving forward with one of your options. Finding a trusted resource can provide you with support as you process each step and learn more about your choices.
Are you contemplating an abortion decision later in pregnancy? Avenue Women’s Center is prepared to work with you within a confidential environment. We can provide you with accurate information about abortion and counsel you through all of the potential side effects. Each of our centers is equipped to offer you a free, limited ultrasound exam to help you gather more information about your pregnancy. We want to make sure you have all the answers you need to feel confident in your decision.
Schedule your free appointment with us today!
- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Risk Factors for Legal Induced Abortion-Related Mortality in the United States. Vol 103, No. 4, April 2004.
- C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. (2018, September). Rh Sensitization During Pregnancy. Retrieved from: https://www.mottchildren.org/health-library/hw135942
- National Institutes of Health Medline Plus. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Retrieved from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pelvicinflammatorydisease.html.
Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.