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Abortion (cont.)

Abortion Preparation


Most abortions are performed after your health care professional takes a brief and targeted medical history. You will be asked questions about prior pregnancies and any treatment or care during the current pregnancy. You will be asked about any diseases or conditions that affect your reproductive organs, such as sexually transmitted infections.

The health care professional will ask whether you have a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, anemia, bleeding disorders, or surgery (on your ovaries or uterus, for example). If you have active medical problems, you may need to be stabilized before an abortion or have the procedure performed in a facility that can handle special medical problems.

  • If there are known problems with the fetus, such as severe brain abnormalities that will either not allow the fetus to live, and if these problems are known through diagnostic testing, the woman may choose to end the pregnancy with abortion.
  • The most common problems with the fetus encountered in abortion counseling include major system development failures and problems that cannot be repaired dealing with the heart, nervous system, spine, brain, abdomen, kidneys, and breathing and digestive systems.


A brief physical examination is usually performed before an abortion. The focus is on determining when your pregnancy began and checking for sexually transmitted disease and whether you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure.

Lab tests

Pregnancy tests are used to confirm that you are pregnant. Home tests are reliable, so providers will accept these results in some cases. Blood will be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and for hepatitis. Urine may be checked to see if you have a urinary tract infection.

Imaging studies

An ultrasound is virtually always dome for pregnancy confirmation and dating. Doctors are looking for how many fetuses may be developing, the size of the fetus or fetuses, a picture of the uterus and ovaries, and to rule out a problem such as an ectopic pregnancy (a life-threatening condition in which the fetus develops outside the uterus).


Your health care professional may give you antibiotics as a precaution against infection. Antibiotic use for the procedure is usually given the day of the procedure and for the next day or two.

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Elective Abortion »

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