What is a Surgical Abortion?
A surgical abortion is also referred to as a Dilation & Curettage (“D&C”) and can be done anywhere from 5 – 14 weeks of gestation. Like a Medical Termination, a D&C is a safe and effective (99%) way to end a pregnancy. All Surgical Abortions are done in the privacy of our office, and often only take just a couple of minutes to complete. You are given medication to relax you and to ease any discomfort from the procedure. Due to this medication, you will need to have someone with you who can safely drive you home after the procedure. In the state of California, you can choose to terminate a pregnancy up to the 24 week mark. However, at My Choice Medical Center we are only equipped to do procedures up to 15 weeks. In the event you are further along in your pregnancy, we would be happy to refer you to a facility that can provide you safe, affordable and quality care.
What Should I Expect at my Visit?
On the day of your Surgical Abortion appointment, you should plan to be in the office for approximately 1-2 hours. Upon arrival, our staff will provide you with the initial paperwork you will need to fill out. This paperwork will provide us with all your necessary information and medical history. You will also have your blood drawn in our lab, and we will collect information regarding your pregnancy hormone levels and your blood type. You will also have an ultrasound done so that the staff can know exactly how many weeks pregnant you are and verify that you are a good candidate for the procedure. Once you are ready for the procedure, you will be shown to a private surgical room where our highly skilled and licensed OB/GYN surgeon will provide you with the proper medications to ease your anxiety and allow you to be comfortable prior to performing the procedure. Following your procedure, our staff will monitor you during your recovery time. Before you leave, our staff will provide you with post-operative instructions, any relevant medications, and a 24/7 access line where you can reach the on-call physician at any time with any questions/concerns that you may have.
Is a Surgical Abortion (or ‘D&C’) safe?
Yes! A D&C is a very safe method of pregnancy termination. In fact, the risks of serious side effects or death are much higher in routine childbirth than with a D&C. Studies have shown that serious risks (infection, too much bleeding (hemorrhage) or death associated with a D&C are far less than 1%.
Is a Surgical Abortion (D&C) Effective?
Our surgical procedures have a success rate of about 99%. It is very rare for a woman to need a secondary surgery following her D&C. In the unlikely event any of this is necessary, our staff will provide you any necessary follow-up care at no additional cost.
Is There Any Required Follow Up for a D&C?
Although a D&C is considered very safe and is usually completely effective in one office visit, we do request that you come for one follow-up visit approximately 2 weeks after your procedure. This allows our staff to confirm that the procedure was completely successful and that you do not have any complications.
Can I still get pregnant after Surgical Abortion?
YES. You will be able to come become pregnant after the Surgical l Abortion. Once the hormones of pregnancy (Beta hcg) have become negative and your menstruation returns your chances of becoming pregnant again will be the same as it was before the Surgical Abortion. This is why it becomes so important to start using birth control after your two week appointment to prevent an unintended pregnancy. At My Choice Medical Center we offer all forms of family planning including oral contraceptives, Depo Provera, IUD, patch and NuvaRing.
When Will My Period Come Back?
It will usually take 4-8 weeks after your procedure for you to see your next period. That first cycle may be slightly heavier than your average period. For the first six weeks there will be times of no bleeding, spotting, and passing blood clots with cramps. If you do not see a period after 8 weeks, please contact our office.
How Is the Surgery Done?
The surgical abortion is done by dilating the cervical canal and suctioning the contents. The procedure takes around 3 minutes to complete. Based on the gestation age the amount of dilation varies.
Am I awake during the procedure?
You will take 10mg of Valium and 800 mg of Motrin before the procedure. Even though you are not unconscious during the procedure the Valium will make you drowsy and relaxed during the procedure. You are also given local anesthesia with Lidocaine to the cervix during the procedure. This method of anesthesia is the safest possible way of doing the surgical abortion in a non-hospital setting. Also, the physician is talking you through the process and keeping you informed.
Will I Experience Pain During the Surgery?
You will be given oral Valium and Motrin, and Lidocaine injection for the procedure. You will experience cramping during the dilation and suctioning phase of the procedure. It will be similar to strong menstrual cramping which will start during the last minute of the 3 minute procedure and will subside within 5 minutes after the procedure. By the time you walk out of the procedure room you should have no more cramping. You might have occasional cramping the first night after the procedure which should not require any medication stronger than Motrin.
Who Performs the Surgery?
All surgical abortions are done by Dr. Joseph, a highly experienced surgeon who specializes in the D&C procedure. Dr. Joseph has been trained by Planned Parenthood organization during his OB/GYN residency and has worked extensively at their organization for years. This vast experience sets him apart from other OB/GYNs performing this service on occasional basis in their non-equipet office.
Do I need to have a companion with me or can I Take a Bus/Taxi/Uber Home?
My Choice Medical Center recommends for you to have a companion to drive you home. We understand that many times this would not be an option and you may need to use bus, taxi or Uber to get home. We do have patients who request not to take the narcotic medication so they can drive themselves home.
Can I Go Back to Work or School Right Away?
Most women feel well enough to return to work or school the day following their procedure. If you would like some extra time to rest and recover, we will be happy to provide you with a note excusing you for a day or two. However, we do recommend you abstain from any strenuous activity, exercise, heavy lifting for the 2 weeks following your procedure. Our staff will speak to you before you go home to make sure your work/school situation does not interfere with these restrictions.
Will I Bleed For a Long Time After Surgery?
Everyone is slightly different, and it is not unusual to have some form of bleeding for up to 6 weeks after your procedure. On the contrary, some women have close to no bleeding afterwards. Since every recovery and every woman is unique, we do stress the importance of your 2 week follow-up visit.
Can I Use Tampons Right Away?
To reduce risk of infection and to help monitor bleeding, we ask that you do not use tampons until we see you for your follow up.
When Can I Exercise Or Have Sex Again?
We advise waiting 2 weeks to do any strenuous activity including exercise or sex. Once we have seen you for your follow-up appointment we will give you the go-ahead to resume all normal activity.
Can I Have Someone In The Room With Me?
Yes. My Choice Medical Center encourages you to have someone with you throughout your stay. This is unique to our center since all other facilities do not allow partners or companions to stay with the patient during the procedure due to security reasons. Our mission is to have the patient as comfortable as possible throughout her visit.
What If You Don’t See Anything On My Ultrasound?
If the ultrasound does not show the pregnancy due to early gestation you will have the option of proceeding with the procedure as long as we can draw the blood for the level of the pregnancy hormone level (Beta Hcg) and gauge its drop in the following visit. Most other facilities will make you wait and return in few weeks to confirm the location of the pregnancy before the procedure. We will inform you of all the options and proceed with your decision.