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Aspiration is the medical term for an abortion routinely used up to 13 weeks LMP and on some occasions up to 15 weeks LMP. It is performed in the clinic by a physician who specializes in abortion care and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Sedation is an option for the aspiration procedure.
An aspiration appointment include: the ultrasound (sonogram) to asses stage of pregnancy, bloodwork, a review of your health history, giving informed consent, decision-making about sedation and birth control options, as well as learning what to expect during and after the procedure, performing the aspiration, and your in-clinic recovery time. All of your questions will be answered; all of your options will be explained. The appointment may last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is the medical procedure used for some abortions beyond 15 weeks LMP.
D & E involves a process that includes preparations to gradually/slowly dilate or open the cervix before the actual abortion. It is performed, in clinic, by an expert physician
who specializes in abortion care and may require appointments on 1 to 3 consecutive days depending on gestation and the doctor’s discretion.
Sedation is an option for a D&E.
The first appointment day may last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours and includes: an ultrasound (sonogram) to assess stage of pregnancy, bloodwork, a review of your health history, giving informed consent, decision-making about sedation and birth control options, as well as learning what to expect during and after the procedure. All of your questions will be answered; all of your options will be explained. Dilators are then inserted into your cervix and gently expand over night, opening the entrance to the uterus allowing for a simple and safer procedure. Women who receive dilation are required to stay overnight within 30 minutes of the clinic. We are happy to assist in hotel arrangements as needed.
Depending on gestation, a second day of dilator inserts may be necessary or additional medications may be used to help soften and open the cervix. Once the cervix is open, the dilators are removed, and the physician uses special instruments to evacuate (remove) the pregnancy, under ultrasound guidance, to ensure the entire uterus is empty. The evacuation procedure may last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
After the procedure and depending on your gestation, you recover anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours within the clinic. You will be discharged with aftercare instructions, medications to be taken for the next week, along with a 24 hour number where you can reach us if you have any questions or concerns after the procedure. Women who choose sedation must have a driver. We recommend a follow up appointment within 2-4 weeks from your D&E procedure.
Second trimester abortion, also known as later abortion or late-term abortion, is legal and protected by Washington State Law called the Reproductive Privacy Act
For information about what to expect during your appointment, check out our
Abortion Appointments video.