Do surgical abortions hurt?

Surgical abortions are one of the most efficient and safest ways to end a pregnancy. Women living in the state of Florida have the right to decide whether or not they wish to have an abortion and which method to use. Many patients that come to our abortion clinic Fort Lauderdale have the same fear: do surgical abortions hurt?

It is absolutely normal and expected to have many questions or even fears before any surgical procedure. In this article, we will discuss surgical abortions further. We will focus on what a patient typically experiences during and after the procedure, potential side effects, pain levels, and how to minimize them. Do you want to learn more about abortions and what to expect? Continue reading. 

do surgical abortions hurt

How do surgical abortions work?

To put it in simple terms, a surgical abortion consists of removing the content of the uterus by using gentle suction. There are two types of surgical abortion depending on how far into the pregnancy the patient is at the moment of the procedure. At an abortion clinic, a doctor will first perform an ultrasound and pelvic examination to determine the stage of the pregnancy. Regardless of which method you choose – or even if you opt for a medication abortion – healthcare professionals will also do blood tests to learn your Rh factor and blood pressure. They will also test the patient for STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or RPR – which can lead to health complications if you have them during an abortion.

These are the two different types of surgical procedures:

Vacuum aspiration

Surgical abortions are performed at medical clinics, and the procedure starts very similar to a pelvic exam. A vacuum aspiration, also known as suction abortion, can be done up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy. The healthcare professional will tell you to lie on your back and rest your feet in the table’s stirrups. Then, the abortion physician will use a speculum to inspect your vagina and cervix. The pregnancy suction can be carried out by manual or electrical vacuum – that will depend on the equipment of the abortion clinic your choose. The entire process usually last about 10-15 minutes. You may be asked to stay a couple of hours at the clinic, and it is recommended you have someone to take you home, especially if you choose to use anesthetics. 

Mid-trimester dilation and evacuation

If you are already beyond the 13th week, you will need a mid-trimester dilatation and evacuation abortion. This type of procedure is medically possible up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy. However, in most states, abortion laws only allow terminating a pregnancy up to 15 weeks gestation. After that time, abortion bans prohibit carrying on abortion, and besides, health complications could be too high. Therefore, there’s a small window of time to get this type of surgical abortion.

The procedure is pretty similar to the vacuum aspiration, but the process is a little more complex due to how far into your pregnancy. The abortion healthcare professional will use a combination of dilation, forceps, and vacuum aspiration. To start, the doctor will administer dilators to open up your cervix and then proceed to use forceps and a gentle aspiration to remove the pregnancy tissues from the uterus. This procedure typically lasts less than 30 minutes; you will likely have to stay at the abortion center for a day or two. 

Common side effects of abortions

Abortions, like most surgeries, can lead to some side effects. After a surgical abortion, you can expect some bleeding – that looks similar to period bleeding – for about 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure. You will likely also experience some cramping that feels like period pain. It is normal to feel sore and tired for a couple of days after the procedure; it’s best you take a few days to rest so your body can heal and recover properly. Those are the side effects most women experience in the days or weeks following an aspiration abortion. Other patients may also develop some of these rare side effects:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • sweatiness
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea
  • chills

Do surgical abortions hurt?

Everyone who decides to have an abortion probably thinks the same: do abortions hurt? If you’re worried about what you will feel during a surgical abortion, you are not alone. That is a typical concern among most of our patients. The good news is – you shouldn’t feel any severe pain or significant discomfort during or after the procedure. Surgical abortions do not hurt; moreover, healthcare providers will offer you medication to ease any discomfort. However, each woman experiences an abortion differently. While some express that they do not feel any pain, others say they experience it as painful.

The pain level can also differ depending on the surgical procedure you get. Nevertheless, as mentioned, healthcare professionals will prescribe some medication or anesthetics so you feel comfortable during the process. If you have a vacuum aspiration, your doctor will give medication or injections to numb your cervix. Since the procedure involves some medical instruments, you may feel minor discomfort while the physician performs the suction. For a mid-trimester dilation and evacuation, your doctor will use a general anesthetic, which means you will be asleep while the abortion is carried out. 

What about the abortion pill? Does it hurt?

Another option to terminate a pregnancy is using the abortion pill. You can decide which method to choose between surgical vs abortion pill. In some cases, depending on health factors and how many weeks of gestation you have, your doctor can recommend one method against the other. But generally, the decision is up to the patient. If you’re unsure which method to choose, you can speak with an abortion health center counselor.

Women who decide to go with a medical abortion or abortion pill often have the same question: do medical abortions hurt? For the abortion pill process, you must take two different drugs (mifepristone and misoprostol). Mifepristone prevents further progesterone production, a hormone our body uses to maintain pregnancy. Misoprostol causes contractions in the uterus so that it can expel the pregnancy content. This part of the process can be slightly uncomfortable or even painful. Most women describe the contractions as normal period cramps, but some individuals experience more intense cramping. Abortion pill pain can be handled by taking painkillers. Always ask your healthcare professional which painkillers are more suitable to take without disturbing the abortion process and post-abortion healing.

How to minimize the pain after an abortion

On the days following up a surgical abortion, you may feel a bit sore or experience some mild pain. Medical abortion is often completed in about 4-5 hours. So it’s normal for you to feel abortion pill pain during that period. 

Doctors recommend that you use the following couple of days to rest and allow your body to recover properly. Taking over-the-counter painkillers your healthcare provider recommends will help you navigate discomfort or pain. Also, don’t forget to look over your annual physical exam checklist for females since it is a vital part of your preventive health. 

There are certain foods to avoid to enhance your recovery. Typical foods that promote constipation and inflammation are the ones you’ll want to avoid—for example, highly-processed meats, foods with low fiber content, caffeine, and alcoholic drinks. Preventing constipation and reducing inflammation to the minimum will help your body recover faster.

Mental health problems and impact after an abortion

Spending time at home, with close friends or family, can also help you recover more quickly. Remember that having an abortion means your body goes through a lot of physical and mental stress. According to the National Institute of Health (NHI) and data on abortion rates, women who have a history of abortion are more prompt to develop mental health problems. For example, intense feelings of relief mixed with sadness are common after terminating a pregnancy. Managing those contradictory emotions alone can be challenging for some individuals. If you feel you have developed mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, due to the procedure, you should talk with a health professional to help you overcome this. 

Contact a professional abortion clinic now

Abortion access is a right that women living in Florida have. Abortion rights advocates say many factors go into a woman’s decision to opt for an abortion, from health complications to lack of financial support. Regardless of why you decide to end the pregnancy, you probably have many questions, such as: Do abortions hurt? At our abortion clinic, our dedicated team is ready to clear all your doubts and tell you more about your options. Other common questions are: What to do if the abortion pill didn’t work? And which method is more suitable for me? If you find yourself asking those questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will guide you and advise you at every step of the process.