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Non-surgical or medical abortion can be accomplished with the Abortion Pill (RU-486, Mifepristone or Mifeprex) or by Methotrexate Injection.The Abortion Pill is an option for women who are 7 weeks pregnant or less. It causes miscarriage and this can be triggered in the privacy of your home.
The Abortion Pill has a higher rate of success for early pregnancies within 49 days or 7 weeks. Non-surgical or medical abortion is actually a program of two sets of pills. The Abortion Pill or Mifeprex (Mifepristone, RU-486) blocks the hormone needed for pregnancy to continue. The second medication is Misoprostol (Cytotec) which makes the uterus contract, expelling the pregnancy similar to a miscarriage.
Methotrexate is a chemotherapy agent that has been long used in cancer treatment and is administered by injection. It causes a miscarriage and it is a very effective method for Ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy). Ectopic pregnancy means pregnancy is in the fallopian tube and not in the uterus. Methotrexate terminates a pregnancy by blocking the production of folic acid. We recommend Mifeprex if you are pregnant 7 weeks or less and Methotrexate Injection when Ectopic Pregnancy is suspected.
In the first 12 weeks, suction-aspiration or vacuum abortion is the most common early pregnancy abortion procedure. Early-term surgical abortion is a simple procedure which is considered safer than childbirth when performed before the 12th week.
The method for first trimester surgical abortion is called vacuum aspiration or suction curettage. Just like in a Gynecology examination you will be placed on a cushioned table. If you choose to be asleep (IV Sedation), the Doctor of Anesthesiology would administer the anesthesia at this time and remain by your side during the procedure. Once you are asleep, the Doctor places an instrument called the speculum which holds the sides of your vagina open. The speculum is also used in pap smears so it is well known to most women. A second instrument is placed to hold your cervix, which is the opening to your uterus.
The Doctor will then gradually dilate (widen) the cervix based on your stage of pregnancy. When the cervix has been appropriately dilated then the Doctor will insert a small tube called the cannula which is attached to a suction machine. The machine uses gentle suction to empty the uterus. Then the Doctor uses a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette and checks the uterine walls to make sure no tissue is left.
- Local Anesthesia (Local). In this form of anesthesia a local numbing agent is used to block pain receptors in the cervix. It numbs the entrance to the cervix but not the uterus where the vacuum aspiration is taking place. Therefore, it is not totally effective in eliminating pain during the procedure. Local is not recommended for first time surgical abortion patients since they are wide awake and experience intense pain. Local is often recommended for patients who have experienced it in the past. The doctor must determine the patient’s qualification and approve the patient for local anesthesia.
- IV Sedation. As patients may experience pain during most abortion procedures, we recommend surgical abortion with IV Sedation. In this form of anesthesia the patient is given medication intravenously (IV) which causes the patient to become semiconscious and unresponsive to pain. The patient is basically “asleep”. With IV Sedation the patient is monitored by a Doctor of Anesthesiology (Anesthesiologist) or a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). The role of the Anesthesiologist or CRNA is to monitor the patient during surgery. IV Sedation patients feel no pain during surgery, less pain after surgery and tend to recover faster immediately following surgery. IV Sedation is recommended for first time surgical abortion patients or patients with low pain tolerance. The surgical doctor and Anesthesiologist/CRNA must determine the patient’s qualification and approve the patient for IV Sedation.
The experienced and caring medical staff at Women’s Health Clinic, Inc. includes a board certified gynecologist and Doctor of anesthesiology. Many of our patients find comfort in knowing that they are being cared for by compassionate and accomplished professionals