Before 12 Weeks
Abortions can be performed as early as an intra-uterine pregnancy can be identified by ultrasound, which is usually about 4-5 weeks after your Last Menstrual Period (LMP). Use our Pregnancy Calculator to find the number of weeks and days you are.
In the first trimester, two options are available: Aspiration is done by a physician in the clinic or the Abortion Pill which you take at home.
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 includes: the 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, 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.
After the abortion, depending on the optional sedation you selected, you recover within the clinic for about 20 minutes and then will be discharged with aftercare instructions, medications to be take 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. You may return to work or school the next day. We recommend a follow up appointment within 2 to 4 weeks from your aspiration procedure.
The Abortion Pill
Also known as Medical Abortion, the abortion pill is an option from up to 10 weeks LMP. It is a combination of two medications, Misoprostol and Mifepristone, which, together, induce a miscarriage. Women who choose this option must be willing to provide a mailing address, have a support network outside of the clinic, stay within 2 hours of a hospital, and return for a required follow-up appointment to ensure the abortion is complete. Occasionally, more than one follow-up appointment may be necessary.
A Medical Abortion appointment includes: the ultrasound (sonogram) to assess stage of pregnancy, bloodwork, a review of your health history, giving informed consent, decision-making about birth control, and learning what to expect during and after the abortion. All of your questions will be answered; all of your options will be explained. The appointment may last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.
During your appointment, you will receive the first medication, Mifepristone, in pill form, and take it orally. You will be discharged with a bottle of 4 Misoprostol pills, medications for nausea and pain, and a scheduled follow-up appointment time. Then, 24 to 72 hours after swallowing the first pill, you insert the Misoprostol between your cheek and gums allowing it to dissolve in your mouth. Generally, within 2 to 6 hours of inserting the Misoprostol, the miscarriage process begins causing your uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy. Heavy bleeding and cramping is normal during this time, and usually will lighten up to period-like bleeding or spotting which may last anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks after using this method of abortion. We will provide you with written instructions along with a 24 hour number where you can reach us if you have any questions or concerns.
For more details and a side-by-side grid of the two options, click Comparison of Medical and Surgical Abortion.
For information about what to expect during your appointment, check out our Abortion Appointments video.