- Author James Pendergraft
- Published March 19, 2012
- Word count 502
Women faced with an early pregnancy wonder what their options are regarding the choices they have in terminating their pregnancies. Early abortions are generally abortions that occur between 3.5 to 7 weeks gestation. There are advantages in having abortions performed this early in gestation. First of all, women do not feel as guilty about having abortions performed as early in the pregnancy. Secondly, the recovery time is much faster as women who have a surgical abortion can return back to their normal duties the same afternoon and have sex the following day. With the medical abortion, the procedure is close to 100 percent effective as the earlier the pregnancy, the more effective the abortion pill procedure is.
Surgical abortion procedures are now being performed routinely between 3.5 weeks gestation and higher. One is able to see the gestational sac by vaginal sonogram as early as this time. The abortion pill procedure can be performed from 3 to 9 weeks gestation. There are a few facilities that will perform the procedure as far as 14 weeks under certain circumstances. After 14 weeks, patients are still able to do the abortion pill procedure, but arrangements must be made to perform the procedure at the abortion facility overnight.
A sonogram is done as described above to determine the number of weeks pregnant a woman is. All basic lab work is done which consists of blood work, urine and vital signs. This is important to assure that patients meet the basic criteria to have the surgical or medical abortion procedure performed. Patients are counseled to discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure and to assure that the patient is not being forced to have the procedure performed.
Intravenous sedation or general anesthesia can be used to reduce anxiety and help with discomfort. The surgical procedure consist of placing the patient in the lithotomy position which is where the patient is placed in the same position as having a Pap Smear performed. A vaginal speculum in placed in the vagina followed by dilation of the cervix with serial enlarged dilators. A sterile catheter is inserted and attached to electric vacuum machine and the gestational tissue is gently removed. Most patients can tolerate the early abortion procedure well with Intravenous Sedation which prevents most patients from remembering or feeling anything. There may be mild cramping for 10 to 15 minutes after waking up from the procedure.
Most patients experience immediate relief after having the procedure completed. There are some that may experience mild or severe depression, but those patients have a very strong psychological history in the past. The recovery period is very short for patients who are 6 weeks or less pregnant. They are able to return to work the same afternoon and have sex the following day. Patients greater than 6 weeks and less than 12 are able to resume normal activities within one week. Patients are encouraged to return to the office in 3 weeks to assure that they have recovered fully and to see how their birth control is working and that there are no side effects.