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What To Expect During An Early Surgical Abortion

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An unplanned pregnancy can be very difficult to come to terms with. When a woman determines that she is unable to raise a child, she may opt to have an abortion early in the first trimester of pregnancy. This can be a hard choice to make, and many women experience additional anxiety because they do not know what to expect during an early surgical abortion. Continue reading to learn more about how a surgical abortion is performed in the first trimester.


When you make an appointment at a clinic for an early surgical abortion, you may be offered a short counseling session with a doctor, nurse, or therapist. During this session, a caring person will help you review your options and determine if abortion is the right choice for your personal situation.


After deciding that abortion is the right choice for you, a few tests may be needed. Blood will usually be drawn, and an ultrasound may be performed to give your health care provider a clear idea of the age of the pregnancy. 

Pelvic Exam

Prior to early surgical abortion, the doctor will do a pelvic exam. This exam allows the doctor to understand the orientation of your uterus as well as its size. At the end of the pelvic exam, the doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina so the cervix can be examined. 

Pain Relief

Local anesthesia is typically injected into the cervix to numb the area and reduce discomfort. Some doctors may also prescribe sedatives and pain medication to take prior to your appointment, which can help with anxiety about the procedure and also manage pain or discomfort. Some clinics also offer intravenous conscious sedation, which differs from general anesthesia. With intravenous conscious sedation, you are not unconscious, but you are also not fully aware of what is going on; many people who undergo intravenous conscious sedation have very little recollection of the procedure.


Your cervix will need to be dilated before the surgical abortion can be performed. This is done gently and gradually through the use of narrow rods called dilators. As your cervix begins to dilate, slightly larger rods will be inserted until the cervix is dilated enough for the doctor to perform the surgical abortion. The doctor will then insert a small plastic tube attached to a suction machine into the uterus; the walls of the uterus will be gently suctioned to remove all pregnancy tissue. 

For more information on early surgical abortion clinics, contact your local womens' clinic today.