What Is an Elective Surgical Abortion?

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What Is an Elective Surgical Abortion?

Elective surgical abortion is the in-clinic procedure used to end a pregnancy by removing the embryo/fetus and placenta from the mother’s womb (uterus). Because this is a surgical procedure, it is usually performed by a physician in a clinic or hospital, and involves some form of sedation. The costs and risks associated with this type of abortion are higher than other methods.

Elective surgical abortion is not the same as miscarriage (also known as spontaneous abortion). Miscarriage is when a pregnancy ends on its own before the 20th week of pregnancy. Elective surgical abortion is also not the same as a procedure known as D&C (Dilation and curettage) that some women undergo to clear the uterine lining after experiencing a miscarriage.
Each type of elective surgical abortion comes with various risks. According to the Mayo Clinic, common side effects of surgical abortions include:

• Bleeding, including blood clots
• Cramping
• Nausea and vomiting
• Sweating
• Feeling faint

More serious risks to watch out for include:

• Bleeding that’s heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
• Fever or Infection
• Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
• Pain that gets worse instead of better
• Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
• Perforation of the uterus (when a surgical instrument punctures the uterus)
• Damage to the cervix
• Scar tissue on the uterine wall

To really know what to expect if you get an elective surgical abortion, gather all the information you can about your pregnancy first. Find out:

• How far along are you?
• Do you have any potential medical complications, such as ectopic pregnancy?
• Do you know what procedure you would qualify for?
• What are the risks associated with that procedure?

At The Women’s Center Illiana, our professional medical team is happy to help you navigate your decision with compassionate, confidential help at no cost.

Meeting with a medical staff member at The Women’s Center Illiana for in-person care can give you the chance to ask any questions you may have to ensure the option you are choosing is the best for your health, safety, and future.

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