How Long Does a Surgical Abortion Last?

How long does a surgical abortion last?

Having an abortion is a major physical and emotional decision. Understandably, you would have questions and concerns. The abortion provider determines the type of surgical abortion procedure you have based on how far along you are in your pregnancy. The method also determines how long it will take, but most are fewer than 15 minutes. 

What Is a Surgical Abortion?

Surgical abortion uses medical instruments to remove a pregnancy from a woman’s body. There are three main procedures. The date of your pregnancy determines which one you have. 

Vacuum Aspiration

Vacuum or Suction Aspiration uses a tube attached to a syringe to suction out the pregnancy. Depending on how far along you are, it may require dilating (opening) the cervix.  An abortion provider uses this method up through the 12th week of pregnancy. 

Dilation and curettage (D & C)

The abortion provider uses instruments or medication to dilate (open) your cervix first. Then they use suction and a sharp scraping tool to remove the pregnancy. This procedure requires additional time for dilation and recovery. 

Dilation and evacuation (D & E)

This procedure is performed on late-term abortions and is the most prolonged method. In addition to dilation, the abortion provider uses suction, a sharp scraping tool, and forceps to remove the pregnancy. 

What Are the Risks of a Surgical Abortion?

Bleeding and cramping are a part of every abortion, but a surgical abortion has additional risks. The risks increase as you enter your second trimester, beginning at week 14 up to the 24th week, the legal limit for abortions in Massachusetts. Possible problems include:

  • Tissue remaining in the uterus, cusing infection
  • Injury to the cervix
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall

Can’t I Use the Abortion Pill Method Instead?

The FDA has approved medical abortion (the abortion pill) only through the 10th week of pregnancy (70 days after the first day of your last period). However, research studies show that its effectiveness drops after 44 days. You run the risk of an incomplete abortion and infection.

Where Can I Get More Information?

Come to the Boston Center for Pregnancy Choices if you have questions or need factual information about abortion procedures, side effects, and potential risks. Although we do not provide or refer for abortion, it’s essential to be fully informed so you know what to expect. 

We can talk in person or virtually if you prefer. We’re here for you. Let’s discuss your situation, look at all of your options, and find a solution. Schedule a free and confidential appointment today.

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