Later surgical abortion is an option after about 14 weeks of pregnancy (depends on the provider). Later abortion procedures happen in a hospital or specialist clinic.
The following information is a guide only. The procedure can vary between clinics.
To have a later surgical abortion you'll have a minor surgical procedure to end the pregnancy. The procedure for a later surgical abortion is similar to an early surgical abortion except that:
- the cervix might need to be dilatated (widened) more
- as well as using suction, forceps are usually used to remove the pregnancy.
A later surgical abortion is often a two-stage procedure.
- You might be given a medicine a day before the actual abortion. This medication gets your cervix ready to be dilated (widened). It can cause some cramping or bleeding, but it makes the abortion procedure quicker and more comfortable.
- If you change your mind this initial medicine could still cause you to miscarry, so be sure it's what you want to do before you take the medicine.
- Later surgical abortion is also called 'surgical dilation and evacuation (D&E)' or 'second trimester surgical abortion'.
What happens during a later surgical abortion
- The abortion itself usually takes 10 to 20 minutes.
- You'll be given a general anaesthetic.
- Your cervix is gently stretched so that forceps and a suction tube can go up your vagina and into your uterus.
- The pregnancy is then removed by suction and forceps.
- The doctor may scan you to check that the procedure worked.
- You'll then you rest up for an hour or so at the clinic. You may need to stay overnight.
- If you're having a surgical abortion and want long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), talk to your abortion provider. This can be done at the same time as your procedure.
- You can't drive until 24 hours after your abortion.
- If you want to take the pregnancy remains (the foetal tissue or ’products of conception’) home, tell your doctor or nurse at your first appointment of before you start the procedure.
- You might choose to bury the pregnancy remains, returning the tissue and wairua to the whenua.