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If you are having a surgical abortion, you will probably be given a light general anaesthetic so that you are asleep during the procedure. Having a general anaesthetic can feel a little bit strange, but the experience can be easier when you know what to expect.
An anaesthetic is a drug that blocks pain signals travelling along your nerves. A local anaesthetic blocks these signals from just one area, but a general anaesthetic is stronger. It can stop pain signals from all parts of your body and put you to sleep. When you are under general anaesthesia, you will be completely unaware of anything that is happening. You will be unconscious and you won’t feel any pain or other sensations.
If you are having a general anaesthetic, you will meet the anaesthetist at the hospital before the surgical abortion procedure. The doctor will explain the effects of the anaesthetic in detail, including the risks such as allergic reactions to the drugs. You may be given an injection of anaesthetic as well as a face mask to breathe into. You will be asked to count backwards slowly. You will start feeling drowsy and fall asleep. You won’t be aware of anything else until you wake up after the procedure.
When you wake up from the general anaesthetic, the procedure will be over and you will be in the recovery ward. You will feel drowsy and groggy for a while, so you will need to stay in the hospital for at least a couple of hours after the surgical abortion procedure. You might find that your memory is a bit hazy, which can be confusing and disorientating. However, the nurses will be there is you feel anxious or have any questions.
You will probably feel tired after you wake up form the anaesthetic, as being under the anaesthetic is like having a normal sleep. You should take it easy for the next couple of days and make sure that you have someone who can pick you up from the hospital. You won’t be able to drive for at least 48 hours and you should take at least a day off work.