Explanation of the Procedures
Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, and the doctor knows how many weeks along the pregnancy is, and you have decided to end the pregnancy, the procedure offered typically reflects your stage of gestation. Early abortions can be accomplished medically or surgically, but most facilities do not have the protocols established or personnel with the technical ability to offer medical abortions (with pills). Therefore, most abortions are performed surgically.
- Women often travel far for their abortion procedure and feel comfortable completing the preoperative preparation in a short office visit. In states where laws require waiting periods, this can be done in stages.
- The assessment process involves only a targeted
history, physical examination, laboratory work, and ultrasound (including dating of the pregnancy, if indicated) followed by a counseling session.
- Second-trimester abortion preparation is more difficult. Preparing the cervix in less than 24 hours is almost impossible, but the basic assessment process is identical.
- Ultrasound examinations may be used to look specifically for obvious problems with the fetus.
- Some centers also offer an intra-amniotic injection of the drug digoxin, which stop heart activity in the fetus before a second-trimester abortion.
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