Are you looking for surgical abortion information in Oak Park, Illinois or elsewhere? Perhaps you’re experiencing a suspected or confirmed unplanned pregnancy. There are many reasons why this pregnancy may be unwanted. Whether it’s bad timing, an undesirable circumstance, or just not part of your plan, this won’t go away by itself. You need to explore and understand your options, and we hope you will allow us to come alongside you for what’s ahead during this challenging time.
At Avenue Women’s Center, we understand that each woman’s situation with an unplanned pregnancy is unique. We have also discovered that thirty-six years of experience, commitment, and support to women in this circumstance has prepared us to be an effective first-step resource for each new client who comes to us for assistance. In this article, we will share some basic surgical abortion information for you to use in Oak Park or wherever you are. Then please read on to learn more about our services and how we can help you through your next steps in the journey that’s before you. Or – contact us now for more information or to schedule your free consultation.
Overview of surgical abortion
A surgical abortion removes a pregnancy from the uterus through the vagina. Surgical abortions are done in-clinic or in a doctor’s office or hospital. They are almost always performed on an out-patient basis and you are able to leave the same day. A number of different procedures may be used, usually determined by how far along the pregnancy has progressed. In most states, abortions are allowed into the second trimester, up to about 20 – 24 weeks. Exceptions may be allowed in cases of endangerment to the life or health of the woman. This is true in Illinois. If you are considering a surgical abortion, you will need to look into the laws of your state for any requirements or restrictions. Also, before undergoing any medical procedure, consult with your primary care physician.
What type of surgical abortion and when?
During the first trimester and up until about 16 weeks, aspiration is the procedure most often used. This method is also known as suction aspiration, suction curettage, or vacuum aspiration. More abortions are performed in the first trimester than at any other time, and suction curettage is the most common type of abortion used. In an aspiration abortion, a long tube is inserted into the uterus through the cervix, and the pregnancy is removed by means of suction. A spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge (a curette) may be used to scrape the inside of the uterine wall to be certain no tissue remains.
Into the second trimester, 14-16 weeks or later, abortion options include a Dilation & Curettage (D&C) or Dilation & Evacuation (D&E). Before the surgery, possibly the day before the procedure, laminaria or dilation rods may be inserted to enlarge the opening of the cervix. Along with the suction and curettage, forceps may be used in the procedure to grasp and remove larger parts.
Some time around weeks 23 – 25, slightly past half-way through the second trimester, is understood by many health professionals to be the “age of viability.” That is, when born at this stage of development, an infant may be able to survive outside the womb. A limited number of states allow abortion past this time in the pregnancy.
Pain medication with surgical abortion
Pain medication is available for surgical abortion. Depending upon the procedure and the needs of the patient, options include numbing by injection, local or regional anesthesia, sedatives for relaxation during the procedure, and general anesthesia. Antibiotics will typically be given to prevent infection. After the procedure, over-the-counter medications are commonly used to alleviate discomfort. If you have a surgical abortion, it is important to talk with your doctor about any medications and your specific health situation.
What to expect: Recovery/ side effects after surgical abortion
After a surgical abortion, most clinics require a woman to spend a short time in recovery at the abortion clinic or medical office. She will need to have someone drive her home after the abortion procedure. Many abortion providers advise women to plan to rest that day, and resume normal activities (no heavy lifting) as they feel able, probably within a day or two. Especially after a second-trimester abortion procedure, a woman will likely experience a day or two of soreness or cramping. Bleeding may continue up to about two weeks. Every abortion provider should provide information regarding after-care, and any warning signs a woman should generally report. It is important for women to communicate openly with their doctors regarding their personal health situation – sharing whatever questions and concerns they are experiencing.
It is possible that a woman might experience some emotional side effects, either shortly after the abortion or farther down the road; along with relief, she may feel regret, sadness, anger, guilt, depression or anxiety. It is recommended that women learn about and consider their emotional risk before having an abortion. After abortion, women should monitor their emotions and seek help if needed. Contact Avenue Women’s Center for information regarding post-abortion support.
Surgical abortion risks/complications
Generally speaking, surgical abortion is considered to be low risk with few serious or dangerous complications. As with any surgical procedure, however, there is always the possibility for problems. These may include allergic reaction, excessive bleeding, potential injury or damage to the cervix or the lining of the uterus, scarring of the inside of the uterus, or tissue left behind inside the uterus which would necessitate another procedure to remove it, or more serious complications. The greater the number of weeks of pregnancy when the abortion is performed, the greater the risk for complications. Again, women must communicate specifically with their doctor in advance about their unique medical situation and risks. They should observe all instructions from their doctor, promptly seeking medical attention for any circumstances which seem unusual or troubling.
How we can help
We hope this introductory surgical abortion information has helped answer some of the questions that are on your mind. There is much more that Avenue Women’s Center can offer as you continue to look into your options and seek your course of action in this unplanned pregnancy. If you’re not certain but suspect you might be pregnant, our free, medical-grade pregnancy test is a good place to start.
For further information about surgical abortion and pregnancy options, we offer free and confidential pregnancy consultations with an experienced client advocate who will meet with you in a private, comfortable and nonjudgmental environment.
From Oak Park, Illinois our Elmhurst location is under ten miles – less than a half hour – away. We also have offices in Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, and Wood Dale, Illinois. To learn more or schedule an appointment at any location, please contact us by phone, text, email or chat. We look forward to serving you.
- American Pregnancy Association. (2017, January). Surgical Abortion Procedures. Retrieved from: http://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/surgical-abortions/
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2015, May). FAQ, Special Procedures, Induced Abortion.
- Retrieved from: https://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq043.pdf
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2013, February). Pregnancy Choices: Raising the Baby, Adoption, and Abortion. Retrieved from: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Pregnancy-Choices-Raising-the-Baby-Adoption-and-Abortion
- Healthline. (2016, August). Surgical Abortion. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/surgical-abortion
- Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016, October). Abortion – Surgical. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002912.htm
- Web MD. (2015, October). Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) for Abortion. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/women/dilation-and-evacuation-de-for-abortion
- Mayo Clinic. (2017, July). Getting Pregnant. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/expert-answers/abortion/faq-20058551
- Mayo Clinic. (2016, October). Dilation & Curettage. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dilation-and-curettage/about/pac-20384910
- Guttmacher Institute. (2017, December). An Overview of Abortion Laws. Retrieved from: https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws
- WebMD. Pregnancy – Baby Development. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/baby/tc/pregnancy-your-first-trimester#1
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.