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Abortion at Six Weeks

You didn’t plan this. You didn’t want this. Still, here you are. Pregnant. Six weeks. You’re scared, sad, angry, confused, even disbelieving. You feel alone – not sure who you can talk with, or where to go for help. You’re considering abortion at six weeks. You have many questions about what’s ahead. In addition to the ones you’re thinking about right now, it’s likely there are more that haven’t yet even occurred to you. We hope the basic “abortion at six weeks” information we will share with you now will be helpful. After that, please read on for more about the other services we can provide for you at this challenging time.

At Avenue Women’s Center, we understand concerns that are going through your mind. For over thirty-six years we’ve served Chicagoland area women who have found themselves in a similar circumstance. The details haven’t been exactly the same, but what has been the same is the need for each one – as for you – to find the support and assistance so deeply crucial to you at this time. The staff of Avenue Women’s Center is here to give you that support. We hope you will reach out to us today. Following are answers to some of your questions about abortion at six weeks.

Two procedural options are available for abortion at six weeks: Medical (or medication) abortion with RU-486, the “abortion pill,” or a type of surgical abortion.

A medical abortion can be performed up until week ten of the pregnancy (70 days after the first day of the last menstrual period). This three-part procedure begins with a visit to an abortion provider’s office for an exam and an ultrasound to accurately date the pregnancy.

  • At this appointment a woman will be given the first of two medications that are part of the regimen. Mifeprex is a drug that ends the growth of the pregnancy by blocking the production of hormones necessary for it to progress.
  • The woman will typically go home with the second drug, Misoprostol, with instructions from the doctor to take it about 48 hours later. The Misoprostol will usually bring on intense cramping and uterine contractions which will expel the pregnancy from the uterus. A woman should expect heavy bleeding as the pregnancy is passed. This part of the process can take several hours or may last up to a number of days. Women are reminded to contact their abortion provider if they have any questions or concerns during the process.
  • About two weeks later the woman must return to the abortion provider’s office for an examination to confirm the abortion is complete with no tissue remaining inside the uterus. If there is remaining tissue, a surgical procedure may be required to remove it.

An aspiration, or suction procedure, is a surgical abortion option performed in an abortion clinic or medical office up to 13 weeks gestation. There are a number of variations of an aspiration abortion.

  • Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) may be performed early in the first trimester. This process uses a syringe specially designed to apply suction, removing the contents of the uterus. It is considered to be less invasive than a machine vacuum and uses only a local anesthesia on the cervix. This abortion procedure may not be available in some areas.
  • A machine vacuum aspiration (EVA, electric vacuum aspiration) uses an electric pump rather than a manual syringe or pump. In this case, a thin tube (cannula) is inserted into the cervical canal and the suction to remove the pregnancy is generated by a machine.
  • Suction curettage employs a sharp-edged instrument to scrape the inside of the uterus and remove the pregnancy tissue which is then drawn out by the suction.

A surgical abortion may include the use of laminaria or other cervical dilators before the procedure. A woman should typically expect to experience cramping, bleeding, and nausea as part of the surgical abortion procedure. As with the medical abortion, if the aspiration is not successful in removing all tissue, a Dilation and Curettage (D&C) procedure may be required to complete the process.

These are some basics of early trimester abortion options. As you are thinking about abortion at six weeks, here are a number of other important things to consider, and ways in which Avenue Women’s Center may be able to assist you.

First of all, are you certain the results of your pregnancy test are completely reliable? Did you use a home pregnancy test? When did you take it? Many are used in the first week after a missed menstrual period. That would be the fourth gestational week, very early in a pregnancy. The ability for home tests to give accurate results at such early stages varies greatly. Avenue Women’s Center offers a medical grade pregnancy test that is 99.5% accurate as long as it is ten days after the possible time of conception. This test which can verify (or un-verify) a positive test result is a free service at Avenue Women’s Center.

An ultrasound is required to verify how far along a pregnancy has progressed and determine eligibility for various procedures. Among many providers, there is often a separate charge for this. At Avenue Women’s Center, you may qualify for a limited medical ultrasound at no charge to you.

Also, although early pregnancy detection is important for enough time to make the decisions that must follow, without feeling rushed, it may be advisable to allow for exploration of key information that becomes better available later in the pregnancy. Statistics show that as many as one in five or six pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first twenty weeks. A Avenue Women’s Center ultrasound can help assess the likelihood of this happening with a specific pregnancy. When it is discovered that a pregnancy appears likely to end naturally, women often elect to avoid the expense and inconvenience of an abortion.

At Avenue Women’s Center you will find:

  • A comfortable, professional environment, private and confidential, where you will be treated with kindness and respect.
  • A listening, compassionate, nonjudgmental ear to help you sort through the emotions you are experiencing at this time – even the ones that don’t seem to be consistent with each other.
  • Accurate information about your options.
  • A promise to walk with you as you navigate through this journey, whatever your decisions you arrive at.

Appointments are available at all five of our DuPage County locations. Please call or text for a free, no-obligation pregnancy consultation with one of our experienced client advocates. We will be honored to serve you.


References:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015, May). Induced Abortion. Retrieved from: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Induced-Abortion#abortion
  • American Pregnancy Association. ( 2017, April). Abortion Procedures. Retrieved from: http://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/abortion-procedures/
  • American Pregnancy Association. (2017, January). Surgical Abortion Procedures. Retrieved from: http://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/surgical-abortions/
  • US Food and Drug Administration. (2016, March). Medication Guide: Mifeprex. Retrieved from: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/020687s020lbl.pdf
  • Web MD. (2015, May). Vacuum Aspiration for Abortion. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/women/manual-and-vacuum-aspiration-for-abortion
  • Medscape. (March 2017, March). Pregnancy Diagnosis > Home Pregnancy Tests. Retrieved from: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/262591-overview

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.

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