What To Expect During An In-Clinic Abortion

What To Expect During An In-Clinic Abortion

What To Expect During An In-Clinic Abortion

Making the choice to terminate a pregnancy is difficult and nerve-wracking. This is especially true if you aren’t familiar with the procedure you are about to undergoe. Here’s a helpful, honest overview of an in-clinic abortion. Click here to learn what you can expect during your appointment.

In-clinic abortion

Choosing to terminate a pregnancy can make any woman feel extremely emotional and nervous. This especially holds true if you do not know what to expect when you go in for the procedure.

We want to make sure you go in fully informed, to help make this process a little easier. Here’s an honest overview of what to expect for each step of an in-clinic abortion.

What Is an In-Clinic Abortion?

If you know that your ultimate goal is to terminate the pregnancy, but you do not know what happens during an abortion, then you are not alone. An in-clinic abortion means that you and your doctor opted for you to terminate the pregnancy surgically rather than medicinally.

The doctor will either perform a vacuum aspiration or a dilation and evacuation.

Vacuum Aspiration

This procedure uses a gentle suction to clean out your uterus and can be used until around the 18th-20th week of pregnancy. Most doctors choose this option for in-clinic abortions.

Dilation and Evacuation

This procedure evacuates the uterus with both medical tools and suction and is typically performed if it is too late to do a simple vacuum aspiration.

The Abortion Process

We understand that you want this completed quickly so you can keep moving forward, but you cannot simply walk into a clinic and have it immediately taken care of.

The Initial Visit

Once you decide to terminate your pregnancy, a health professional from the clinic will sit with you to discuss the permanence of your decision. Then, they will send you for routine lab work and an ultrasound to confirm all pregnancy details.

Sometimes they will insert something into the vagina to help soften and/or dilate the cervix, and they will provide you with all of your prep information.

What You Should Do

You should:

  • bring a checklist and all of your questions and concerns to this appointment
  • arrange your schedule so that you have time to rest after your procedure
  • carefully read all the information they give you about how to prepare for your procedure
  • arrange a ride to and from the procedure

Keeping everything organized will help you feel in control and less nervous.

Procedure Day

Many women like to bring a loved one with them for emotional support, but even if you decide to go alone, make sure you do not need to drive yourself home. When you first arrive, they will check your vitals, and give you something to control pain and possibly anxiety as well. The doctor might sedate you fully or partially.

The procedure entails:

  • an external uterine examination on your belly
  • inserting a speculum to open the vagina
  • numbing and stretching the cervix enough to insert a tube into your uterus
  • using a small suction device as explained in vacuum aspiration
  • the doctor may gently scrape to make sure nothing is left in your uterus

The procedure typically only takes about 5-10 minutes. Afterward, the doctor might give you the birth control shot, and they will monitor you for a bit before your ride takes you home to rest.

Does Getting an Abortion Hurt?

Abortion pain is different for everybody. Whether or not your abortion is painful depends on factors like how developed the pregnancy was and which medications the doctor used.

Most people describe feeling bad period-like cramping for a couple of days. Equip yourself with Tylenol, heating pads, and a comfy place to keep up your feet for the next day or two. Also, consider reaching out for after abortion support to help ease any emotional pain you may feel.


Now that you know what to expect during an in-clinic abortion, breathe. Know you’re not alone and reach for your support. Contact us with any questions and to book your appointment.

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