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Surgical abortion

I Decide: Young women's journeys to seek abortion care

Surgical abortion

Vacuum aspiration

This method is done in a clinic or hospital and will be done with sedation or general anaesthetic (while drowsy or asleep) or with a local anaesthetic (while awake) to reduce the pain. The medication is given either as a pill or injection into the cervix or in your arm. The cervix is then gently opened and a thin tube is inserted into the cervix and suction is used to end the pregnancy. The procedure takes about 15 minutes and you will be asked to rest for a while afterwards as you will feel some cramping and will also have some bleeding (like during your period). You should be able to go home within two hours depending on how you feel.

When vacuum aspiration is used to treat an incomplete abortion, the process will be the same as above.

Dilation and evacuation

This is a procedure used to perform surgical abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy. Different types of anaesthetic might be used, including sedation or general anaesthetic. After the anaesthetic is given a passage is gently stretched through the cervix until a narrow forceps can be used to end the pregnancy. Any remaining tissue will be removed by suction. You can usually go home on the same day as the surgery.