Surgical Abortion

Surgical Abortion (from 5-23 weeks)

At the Allentown Women’s Center, we offer outpatient surgical abortion care from 5-23 weeks of pregnancy. We offer a range of pain management options and single-visit appointments

The surgical method is a simple medical procedure that usually takes 3–20 minutes (depending on how far you are into your pregnancy). Our physicians use a vacuum aspiration technique to remove the contents of the uterus.

Pain Management Options

Patients can choose to be:

  • Awake with local anesthetic
  • Awake with local anesthetic & medication to help you feel more relaxed prior to your procedure
  • Asleep with IV sedation

If you choose to be asleep, you will meet with our Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) prior to the start of the procedure. The CRNA will start an IV and administer medication through it and closely monitor you throughout the procedure

Before your surgical abortion procedure

Ultrasound and medical history review – to determine gestational age of the pregnancy and review any medication you’re taking or surgeries you’ve had. Lab testing – to determine Rh blood type and hemoglobin levels. Discussion with patient advocate – to address concerns, questions, and aftercare.

Surgical abortion procedure

5-13 weeks:
A local anesthetic will be injected into the cervix. The injection may cause a pinching and burning sensation which lasts about 3-5 seconds.

The cervix will then be gently dilated. Once the cervix is dilated, a small sterile tube is inserted into the uterus and a light suction is used to remove the contents of the uterus.

14-18 weeks:
Some additional care is necessary for people who are over 14 weeks into their pregnancy. Prior to the start of the procedure, small dilating rods called laminaria will be inserted into the cervix in order to dilate the cervix slowly. Some people may experience mild to moderate menstrual type cramps during the insertion.

19-22+6 weeks:
For abortions over 19 weeks, the dilators must remain in place overnight. People who are between 19 and 22+6 weeks will come to AWC for laminaria insertion and return to the clinic the next morning for their surgeries. These laminaria are removed prior to the start of the abortion procedure.

After your surgical abortion procedure

After your surgical abortion procedure, you will rest in the recovery room for 20-45 minutes. During that time we will monitor your vital signs (blood pressure and pulse), and review your Aftercare Instructions [PDF]. If your blood type is Rh negative, a nurse will administer an injection of Rhogam [PDF].

Call us first if you have a problem: 877-342-5292

  • Call any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for post abortion problems
  • Our abortion Aftercare Instructions [PDF]can help you evaluate if what you are experiencing is normal.
  • Call during office hours for birth control information, scheduling appointments, emergency contraception and other questions.

Pregnancy Calculator

To estimate the length of your pregnancy, enter the first day of your last period and then press 'calculate'.

First Day of Last Menstrual Period: Select Date
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