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HomeWhat is Surgical Abortion? A Guide to Making Informed Decisions

What is Surgical Abortion? A Guide to Making Informed Decisions

14 May, 2024 | Abortion, Blog, Media

Surgical Abortion

Facing an unexpected pregnancy can feel overwhelming, and exploring your options can be daunting. If you’re considering a surgical abortion, it’s essential to have accurate information and supportive guidance to make the best decision for you. This guide aims to provide clear information about surgical abortion in a way that’s both informative and supportive. It’s important to remember that the best decisions for your health and wellbeing are always made in collaboration with your doctor and those who support you.

What happens during a surgical abortion?

Surgical abortion is a safe and common medical procedure to end a pregnancy. It’s a short-day procedure usually performed in a clinic or a hospital. It involves an experienced doctor removing the pregnancy from the uterus via your vagina, either by using suction or specialised instruments.

Am I eligible for surgical abortion?

To determine if a surgical abortion is suitable for you, a healthcare professional will assess your medical history, perform an ultrasound, discuss your options and answer any questions you might have. Surgical abortions are available in both the first and second trimesters of pregnancy (though second-trimester procedures are slightly more complex).

Types of surgical abortion

There are two main types of surgical abortion procedures:

Vacuum Aspiration: This is the most common type of surgical abortion used in early pregnancy. It uses gentle suction to remove the pregnancy.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): This procedure is sometimes used later in pregnancy and may involve additional steps before the procedure. Surgical instruments are used to remove the pregnancy

What can I expect during the surgical abortion procedure?

While the specifics of your procedure may vary, here’s a general overview of what to expect:

Consultation and Preparation: You’ll have a detailed consultation to discuss your medical history, ultrasound results, the details of the procedure, anaesthesia options, and any questions or concerns you may have.

Anaesthesia: Surgical abortions are typically performed with intravenous sedation to ensure your comfort and minimise pain.

The Procedure: Your doctor will use specialised instruments to gently open the cervix and remove the contents of the uterus. The procedure itself is usually quite short.

Recovery: Most people recover quickly from surgical abortion. You might experience some cramping and bleeding afterwards, and your healthcare team will provide instructions for managing this at home.

Learn more about the procedure for surgical abortion.

Caring for yourself after a surgical abortion

Going through a surgical abortion can be physically and emotionally challenging, but there are steps you can take to care for yourself during the recovery process:

Rest: Give yourself permission to rest and take it easy. Your body needs time to heal, so avoid strenuous activities and take time off work or other obligations if possible.

Pain Management: It’s normal to experience cramping and discomfort after a surgical abortion. Your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage these symptoms. Heat packs can also be soothing during the recovery process.

Hydration and Nutrition: Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, especially if you’re experiencing bleeding. Eating nutritious foods can also support your body’s recovery process.

Emotional Support: It’s natural to experience a range of emotions after a surgical abortion, including relief, sadness, or even a sense of guilt. Lean on supportive friends, family members, or partners for emotional support. Consider seeking counselling or joining support groups to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences.

Follow-Up Care: Routine follow-up appointments are not usually required, but make sure to contact your healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

Side effects and recovery process for surgical abortion

Surgical abortion is a safe procedure, and serious complications are rare. However, as with any medical intervention, there are some potential side effects:

Bleeding and Cramping: Bleeding and cramping are usually less than a normal period following a surgical abortion. You’ll receive guidance on how to manage these symptoms.

Nausea: Some people experience mild nausea in response to the anaesthesia. Nausea due to the pregnancy usually goes away in a few days.

Infection: Your doctor will discuss ways to minimise the risk of infection, including signs to watch out for.

Most people feel back to normal within a few days. If you are worried about anything, you should contact the doctor or the service provider.

For information on potential side effects, risks, and complications of medical abortion, please refer to this free online resources page provided by MSI Australia.

Support and your wellbeing

Remember that you’re not alone. Leaning on a trusted doctor, counsellor, or loved one can help with anxieties and ensure you have both medical and emotional support. Here are some points to consider:

Your Feelings: Everyone has different feelings about their own procedure. This is a complex decision and having a range of feelings is normal. There is no right or wrong way to feel after your abortion.

Confidentiality: Healthcare providers offering abortion services understand the need for confidentiality and will work to create a safe and secure environment.

Choosing whether to continue or end a pregnancy is a personal decision. Seek out information and compassionate support to make the choice that is right for you, your body, your health, and your life.