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Understanding Your Timeframe to Get an Abortion

After learning of an unexpected pregnancy, many women feel determined to access an abortion right away.  The thought process behind this sense of urgency may look different for every individual.  Is this something you’re experiencing?  Maybe, for any number of reasons, continuing the pregnancy feels like an unbearable option. So, you’re looking to terminate as soon as possible.  Perhaps you haven’t had an opportunity to fully process your circumstances and understand your options.  And all of this might be completely new territory, especially if this is your first unexpected pregnancy.  Sometimes women feel an impulse to act because they don’t know how much time they have, so they approach the situation as though there’s little to no time.  A decision for abortion (or any other pregnancy option) matters.  That’s why it’s important to pause and access the information you need to move forward with a confident, knowledgeable mindset.

If you’re feeling confused about your pregnancy options and how much time you have to consider them, reach out to Avenue Women’s Center!  We provide accurate information to help you view these circumstances with a clear perspective and take your next steps accordingly.  Our six limited medical clinics in Chicagoland, Illinois are a safe and comfortable space to ask questions and learn about your options.

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Abortion Method Timeframes

A combination of the medications mifepristone and misoprostol (aka, a medication abortion) is commonly used to end a pregnancy in its early stages.  This regimen is FDA-approved through seventy days gestation (or, up to ten weeks after the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period).  Many women know or suspect they’re pregnant due to a missed period weeks before that seventy-day point.  So, if the first day of your last period was less than ten weeks ago, you probably have time to learn about the options and resources available before becoming ineligible for a medication abortion.  As you enter your second trimester (after 13 weeks of pregnancy), a surgical abortion method called “dilation and evacuation” or “D&E” may be available.  With D&E, a suction device and surgical tools may be used to remove the contents of the uterus.  For example, the professional performing the procedure may utilize a tool called a curette to scrape the inner lining of the uterus.  Keep in mind that the availability and legality of abortion varies significantly from state to state.  How far along a woman is and individual circumstances may also have a major impact on abortion eligibility.

Accessing Important Information

Seeking an abortion may be a complex matter due to recent changes in legislation and other factors, not to mention the possibility of emotional effects post-abortion.  That’s all the more reason to pause and seek the information you need to continue this process with a well-informed outlook.  It’s wise to speak with a medical professional early on.  You might also consider reaching out to a first-step pregnancy center like Avenue Women’s Center.  We provide free medical-grade pregnancy tests, and an opportunity to process the result alongside a compassionate pregnancy consultant.  Our team members are available to offer accurate information on all your pregnancy options (abortion, adoption, and parenting), while helping you connect with resources (like medical care) to equip you for the road ahead.  We also offer no-cost limited medical ultrasounds.  Getting an ultrasound may be an important step before ending a pregnancy.  A scan can date your pregnancy (to determine which abortion methods you’re eligible for), evaluate the possibility of miscarriage, and identify risks (like ectopic pregnancy- a pregnancy located outside the uterus).

You may have more time than you realize to reach a pregnancy decision.  But if you’re feeling the instinct to act, that’s understandable because this choice involves your health.  Most likely, there are many practical steps you can take to move your process forward between the moment you receive a positive pregnancy result and the moment you make a pregnancy decision.  Avenue Women’s Center is here to provide education and caring support all along the way.

Schedule an appointment today!  We’re located in Darien, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, and Wood Dale, Illinois.

*Abortion laws vary significantly by state and are subject to change.  Check your state’s regulations for more information. 

*It’s important to speak with a doctor before moving forward with an abortion.  A qualified medical professional can evaluate if you’re eligible, as well as discuss potential risks and complications.



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.