One of the most practiced abortion procedures are performed using what is called suction aspiration. The woman needs to be in her first trimester (first three months) of pregnancy, which means 12 weeks pregnant or less. The cervix opening is widened with rods of increasing size, and a tube is then inserted into the uterus. The fetus and placenta are vacuumed out. The uterus is then scraped with an instrument called a curette to make sure that no products remain behind. This operation takes less than 15 minutes.
Medical abortion is an option up to 8 weeks LMP. Prescription Mifepristone is taken in pill form at the clinic. It causes the end of the pregnancy. Then 24-72 hours later, the woman uses Misoprostol to cause the uterus to contract and expel the tissue. A follow-up appointment is required to make sure the abortion is complete. Occasionally more than one follow-up appointment is necessary.
To use above mentioned method, women must live within 2 hours of a hospital. Some women prefer Medical Abortion because the process feels more natural and private; they can decide where they are when they go through the experience, such as staying home for the weekend. Side effects of the second medication include cramping, bleeding, diarrhea, nausea, etc.
Another method is called as D&E — dilation and evacuation. This is another common method. D&E is usually performed later than 16 weeks after a woman’s last period. Less than 1 out of 10 abortions in the United States happen during this time. After 24 weeks of pregnancy, abortions are performed only for serious health reasons.
Few of the obstetricians also recommend some different technique of abortion. As soon as the pregnancy can be detected by ultrasound (typically 4-5 weeks), an abortion can be performed using a manual aspiration device called the IPAS Syringe.
Similar to the suction aspiration procedure, the IPAS system consists of thin flexible tubing, but instead of using a machine to create suction, the suction is created by a handheld syringe. The procedure usually takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Aftercare is the same as with suction aspiration.