Surgical Abortion – Second Trimester Abortion
Our Process to Prepare You
When you arrive at Cherry Hill Women’s Center, you will be treated with compassion and respect while receiving the highest quality, individualized medical care. Our services include a series of pre-operative assessments with medical and counseling staff.
You will receive the following care as we prepare you for your procedure:
- Ultrasound – to determine the gestational age of the pregnancy
- Lab testing – to determine Rh blood type and hemoglobin level
- Counseling – to address your questions and concerns about the procedure
- History and Physical – to review your medical history, current physical state and birth control options
After your pre-operative assessment has been completed, you will be prepared for your surgery and escorted to the operating room. During the surgery there will be approximately 3-5 medical staff in the operating room with you (depending on your individual needs).
Second Trimester Abortion
At Cherry Hill Women’s Center, a second trimester abortion takes place from about 12 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) through 24 weeks and 6 days (LMP). During a second trimester abortion your cervix must be dilated (opened) more than for a first trimester abortion. Depending on where you are in the pregnancy and your medical history, this dilation may take anywhere from an hour up to overnight before your surgical procedure. A second visit to the clinic may be required to complete your procedure. In general, pregnancies between 12 weeks LMP and 18 weeks LMP will require a one day procedure and pregnancies greater than 18 weeks will require a two day procedure.
A second trimester abortion begins by dilating (opening) your cervix. This is accomplished through the administration of one or more of the following medications:
- misoprostol (cytotec)
Misoprostol is taken by mouth and is given to relax your cervix so that the physician can dilate it easily and without damaging the muscle. Pitocin, administered via IV, may also be used to help with this process.
Laminaria may be necessary to complete the dilation. Laminaria are made of sterilized seaweed and act like a sponge. They are inserted into your cervix by the physician, and over the course of several hours they slowly absorb the moisture in your body and expand, dilating your cervix.
If you are 20 weeks pregnant or more by ultrasound, the physician will also administer a medication called digoxin on the first day of your abortion procedure. Digoxin is used to stop a fetal heart beat.
When the dilation of your cervix is complete you will be taken to the operating room, and an anesthesiologist will provide managed anesthesia care. The surgery will begin when the physician inserts a speculum into your vagina in order to view your cervix. If necessary, the physician will then dilate (open) your cervix more by inserting thin, metal rods, one by one, into the opening of the cervix. These rods, called dilators, gradually increase in width. The physician will then use surgical instruments and vacuum aspiration (suction) to remove your pregnancy. The surgery usually takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes. After your surgery, you will be monitored in our recovery room until you are medically cleared to go home, usually 45 minutes.
Because 2nd trimester abortions procedures require intravenous sedation, you must make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from Cherry Hill Women’s Center.