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One of the most common concerns about surgical termination is whether it might hurt. Although you will probably experience some cramping after the abortion, the procedure itself isn’t painful. However, exactly what you feel during the operation will depend on whether you have a general anaesthetic or a sedative.
Most surgical terminations are performed under a general anaesthetic, which means that you will be asleep and unaware of anything that is going on during the operation. You won’t feel any pain or discomfort while you are asleep. The procedure usually takes just ten minutes, so you will only need a light anaesthetic. When you wake up, you will still feel a bit drowsy and you will need to take it easy for the rest of the day.
In some cases, we may recommend having a sedative during your surgical termination instead of a general anaesthetic. For example, this might be necessary if you have previously had a bad reaction to an anaesthetic. The sedative will help you to feel relaxed and drowsy during the procedure, but it won’t put you to sleep. You may be given a painkiller to minimize any pain, but you could still be aware of some discomfort or pressure in your abdomen as your uterus contracts. It should feel a bit like menstrual cramps.
After the anaesthetic or sedative has worn off, you should expect to experience some cramps or abdominal pain. It usually comes and goes, for up to two weeks. You should contact your doctor if the pain is severe, but in most cases it will be no worse than your usual period pain. You should be able to manage it with over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol.