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As you contemplate your unexpected pregnancy options, you may have begun to consider undergoing an abortion procedure. There are many different types of abortions, and they’re usually dependent upon the gestational age of your pregnancy. The further along you are increases the chances that more prep work will have to be done to prepare your body for a surgical abortion. If you’re in the second trimester of your unexpected pregnancy, then it’s likely that you’re too far into the pregnancy for a medication or aspiration abortion, and an abortion provider may perform the dilation and evacuation (D & E) method on you. Before you move forward with an unexpected pregnancy decision, it’s recommended that you seek information about abortion procedures in order to determine if a surgical abortion is the right choice for you.

Are you considering dilation and evacuation abortion as an unexpected pregnancy option? Avenue Women’s Center is here to provide you with compassionate care through our confidential resources. Our free consultations provide information on parenting, adoption, or abortion, including dilation and evacuation. We also provide limited ultrasound services to determine the gestational age of your pregnancy, and assess if there’s a potential risk of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Contact us to receive consultation about an unexpected pregnancy at no cost to you!

Before You Make An Abortion Appointment

It may be beneficial to have an ultrasound exam before you make an abortion appointment for a D & E. Not only will this allow you to learn the precise gestational age of your unexpected pregnancy, but an ultrasound is usually able to determine the viability of a pregnancy (whether it’s likely to continue). If there is a high risk of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, then a surgical abortion may no longer be necessary.

If pregnancy complications are detected through an ultrasound examination, then it’s important to seek further information or treatment through a doctor or hospital.

The D & E Abortion Method: What Can I Expect?

If you’re more than 12 weeks into your unexpected pregnancy, then it’s likely the uterine content is too large to be broken up by suction, and it may not be able to pass through the tubing. Your cervix (the opening to the uterus) may have to be dilated a bit more than it would be for a first-trimester abortion, and an abortion provider may do this by inserting laminaria inside the cervix. Laminaria is a porous material that expands with moisture, opening and softening the cervix. This process normally takes place a day or two before the abortion.

When the procedure is ready to begin, an abortion provider may use a tenaculum to keep the cervix and the uterus in place, and he or she may use cone-shaped rods of increasing size in order to continue the dilation process. A numbing medication may be used on your cervix to lessen some of the discomfort, and a shot may be administered before the D & E begins to end the pregnancy.

At some point during a D & E, a cannula ( a long tube) may be inserted inside of you to begin removing tissue from the lining. A curette ( a surgical instrument shaped like a scoop or spoon) may also be used to scrape away any residual uterine content. Due to the gestational age of your pregnancy, an abortion provider may need to use forceps to remove the larger parts of the uterine content. Typically, once most of the parts have been removed, a suction machine can then be used to ensure none of the content remains.

What Are Some Side-Effects Associated With a D & E Abortion?

Some women may experience nausea, bleeding, and cramping that may last around two weeks after the abortion is complete. Additional side-effects may include damage to the uterine lining or cervix, perforation of the uterus, infection, and blood clots. If any of these symptoms persist or worsen after you have undergone a D & E, please contact your medical provider. If the bleeding becomes excessive, call 911 or go to a local emergency room right away.

As with any surgical procedure, abortion carries a series of potential health risks or side-effects. This is why it’s often recommended that you have a complete understanding about each abortion method in order to make an informed decision. If you’re researching about abortion procedures, then a doctor, or a pregnancy consultant may be able to answer any questions you have.

Avenue Women’s Center is here to equip you with reliable information about the different kinds of abortion procedures, including the D & E method. We can help you confirm the pregnancy through our free, medical-grade pregnancy tests, and our limited ultrasound exams can assess the date and the early risks of your unexpected pregnancy. Our expert consultants not only discuss your pregnancy options with you, but will address any of your valid questions about your unexpected pregnancy, ensuring you have all of the support you need. Schedule a free appointment today to receive free, unexpected pregnancy care at no cost!


  • American Pregnancy Association. Surgical Abortion Procedures. Retrieved from:
  • WebMD. (2019, March). What Are the Types of Abortion Procedures? Retrieved from:

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.