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First Trimester Abortion
A first trimester surgical abortion, which is considered up to about 11 weeks and 6 days from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP), is completed by a procedure known as dilatation and evacuation (D&E).The procedure alone will take about 5 minutes, although the visit to the Center will take several hours.
The procedure can be performed with either local anesthesia or IV sedation. If the procedure is done under sedation, your pain will be minimized or eliminated and you will likely not remember the procedure. If the procedure is done under local anesthesia, you will be conscious and will receive an anesthetic. The local anesthetic will relax your cervix, lessening your pain, but you will still experience cramping and discomfort during the procedure.
Second Trimester Abortion
A second trimester abortion takes place from about 12 weeks LMP through 24 weeks and 6 days LMP. A second trimester surgical abortion is performed in a similar manner as a first trimester abortion; however, your cervix must be dilated, or opened, several hours or days before your surgery. Since the dilation process is different for every woman, a second trimester abortion surgery may be performed on the same day as the dilation or up to 1 or 2 days afterwards.
Laws vary from state to state and not every Center is able to provide second trimester care to the same point in pregnancy.
Medical abortion is commonly called “abortion by pill” or non-surgical abortion. It is a non-invasive procedure for terminating a pregnancy. The name of the abortion pill is Mifeprex, and it has also been called Mifepristone and RU-486.
Mifeprex has been available as an early abortion method in the United States since September 2000, although in several other countries around the world, mifepristone and RU-486 have been legal, early abortion methods for more than 10 years. While studies have shown that various regimens for administering the medications can work safely and effectively, the FDA has approved only one regimen for administration in the U.S. While some doctor’s offices and clinics may use the FDA approved method, others may use an alternative or “off label” method which should have similar success and safety rates.
The medical abortion is known as an early abortion method because the FDA has approved Mifeprex for use up to 7 weeks from the last menstrual period (LMP). Depending on each Centers protocols, the pill may be offered to patients up to 10 weeks LMP.