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Surgical Abortion Explained

Understanding your options fully is vital when you are considering an abortion. Here are the essential facts that you need to know about having a surgical abortion.

When Can You Have a Surgical Abortion?

A surgical abortion is usually carried out between 9 and 19 weeks. Abortions can be performed later if there is a medical need and a surgical termination may also be chosen before nine weeks if you are unable to take the abortion pill.

The Surgical Abortion Procedure Explained

During your initial consultation with the doctor, you will have a chance to discuss all of your options, including surgical or medical abortion. If you decide to go ahead with a surgical termination, you will need to make another appointment for the procedure itself. When you come back to have the termination:

  • You will be given medication to dilate your cervix. You may need to come in the day before the surgery to take this, but it is sometimes given on the same day, a few hours before the procedure.
  • You will usually be given a general anaesthetic so that you are asleep during the procedure, although in some cases a sedative may be used instead. Once you are asleep or sedated, the surgery can begin.
  • Specially designed instruments will be inserted through the dilated cervix into the uterus. The pregnancy will then be removed.

The procedure only takes about 10 minutes, but it can take a while to recover from the anaesthetic or sedative. You should also expect to experience some cramping and bleeding as your uterus returns to normal.

What Are The Risks?

All forms of abortion carried out in the UK are very safe, but there is always a small risk of side effects with any treatment. If you are having a surgical abortion, there is a chance that you could experience heavy bleeding, an infection, or some damage to your womb or cervix. Your doctor will explain these risks in detail before the procedure, but most women won’t experience any problems. Having an abortion is actually much safer than having a baby, and it won’t have any impact on your future fertility.

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