Early Abortion (First Trimester)
Early abortion summarized:
- An early abortion is ending a pregnancy through the first trimester (the first 3 months of pregnancy).
- Early abortions can be performed surgically or with medication.
- Early abortions are associated with less risks, require less follow-up, are more reasonably priced than later abortions.
What is an early abortion?
An early abortion is the termination of a pregnancy throughout the first trimester (within the first 12-14 weeks of pregnancy). As with later abortions, first trimester abortions require less medical attention and follow-up, which makes them significantly more affordable than later abortions.
A pregnancy is in its initial stages during the first trimester, which offers a range of abortion alternatives. Early abortions can be achieved with surgery or with medication if the pregnancy is less than 10 weeks (measured on or after the first day of the last menstrual period, and complete with ultrasound in our clinic). Having the possibility of a medical abortion, also called a medication abortion, is a definite advantage of early abortions. Subsequently 10 weeks, abortion with medication alone is not viable, and terminating a pregnancy at this phase entails a surgical procedure.
How is an early abortion performed?
Surgical abortion is presented at the time pregnancy is established up to 14.0 weeks. Aspiration is used to eliminate the pregnancy. Cutting or surgical incisions are not needed. The normal time to complete the procedure is 15 minutes.
Medical abortion and surgical abortion are both safe and effective for most women. Women will be able to talk over both options with our doctors, and select the best process for them. Surgical abortion, also recognized as suction aspiration abortion, can be accomplished in a one-day procedure in the first trimester of pregnancy (up to 14 weeks after last menstrual period). The procedure is completed in the doctor's office with local anesthesia and oral pain-relieving medications.
You will be in a reserved room throughout your health education, examination, procedure and recovery. The entire visit will take around three hours, but up to 5-6 depending on your gestational age and other medical indications. Please make arrangements to have a driver available to take you home after the procedure.
When you check in for your appointment, we will verify your insurance information, collect your co-payment/deductible, if applicable and ask you to complete some forms. Termination services at ACWC are integrated into the general OB/GYN practice. Women are not identified in the waiting area as wanting pregnancy termination and there are no signs advertising our clinic. This safeguards the confidentiality and security of our patients and staff.
Shortly after you arrive, one of our medical assistants (MAs) will bring you into a triage room, where she will take your blood pressure, pulse and weight. After your vitals are taken, the MA will bring you to a private examination room where you will meet a member of our medical team. We will review your medical history, perform an ultrasound to determine the gestational age of the pregnancy, and give you medications. You will receive oral pain medications as needed. We may give you additional medicine to soften your cervix. If you brought a support person with you, he or she may stay with you during the health education session and procedure as is helpful to you.
You will be awake during the procedure, but the medicine we give you will alleviate your discomfort. The doctor will:
1. We will us a speculum to inspect your vagina
2. Sanitize your vagina and cervix with gauze and soap
3. We will apply numbing agent to your cervix
4. We will dilate your cervix.
5. Inset a narrow malleable tube into your uterus
6. Apply mild suction to the other end of the tube to take away all of the pregnancy tissue
Ultrasound guidance may be used during your procedure.Toward the end of the procedure, you may feel heavier cramping that feels similar to menstrual cramps in your uterus, as it is shrinking down to its usual size. The suction portion only takes about a minute and the entire procedure takes around 15 minutes
ACWC offers you the option of going to sleep or staying awake for the abortion procedure.
The sleep medications are also known as "general anesthesia." You will receive the intravenous (IV) medications under the care of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA.) You may experience mild to moderate cramping once awake. The nurse in the recovery room will help manage your discomfort. Women who select this option must have a driver take them home because they may still be drowsy and cannot safely operate a vehicle.
Another option is to stay awake during the procedure. The doctor will place a medication near the opening of the uterus (womb) to decrease the feelings of pain and cramping during the procedure. An advocate will be at your side to coach you through the process. Women who choose this option are able to drive themselves home after the procedure.
After the procedure, you should continue relaxing for a few minutes. You will likely experience some cramping and spotting. While in recovery, we will offer you a heat pack and a menstrual pad. When you feel able, you may get dressed. Your nurse will then give you post-operative care instructions. You will be prescribed antibiotics and birth control, upon request. You must go directly home to rest and allow the medication to wear off. You will be able to return to usual activities the next day.
You will come back to the office for a follow up appointment in one or two weeks after your procedure to verify that your procedure has been completed and that you are healing well. It is important that you come to this follow up appointment so your doctor can check for any issues. On this visit, you will be given a prescription for a birth control system if you did not receive one after your procedure.
What to bring with you to the appointment:
- Federal or State insured ID
- Insurance card, if applicable
- Any medical records and contact information from your prior providers
- Bring a list of all your medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs
- Name and location of your preferred pharmacy
- Comfortable/warm clothes
- iPod with relaxing music
- Supportive person whose presence will be comforting to you
- Wear a mask
What not to bring:
- Small children, unless you have someone who can wait with them in the car
Abortion Cost and Fees
Please visit our fees page to review the cost of service.
The Atlanta Comprehensive Wellness Clinic difference
We are devoted to providing professional, inexpensive pregnancy termination. We believe every woman deserves to be treated with respect and dignity irrespective of any life situations.