There are various abortion procedures available in Canada during different stages of pregnancy: medical and surgical. While using our point-of-care ultrasound service, we can generate more information about your pregnancy to help you make an informed choice regarding your options.
At Atwell, we understand making a decision about pregnancy options, including abortion, can be a difficult choice for many people across Canada. It’s important to us that you know that you’re not alone. While we don’t offer abortion services at our centre, we’re here to provide you with the necessary information and support in a safe, strictly confidential, and non-judgemental environment.
A medical abortion uses medication rather than a surgical procedure. This option is available to women up to 63 days (9 weeks) from the first day of their last menstrual period.
Medical abortion takes longer than surgical abortions and may require a few visits to a clinic. Medical abortion may also result in prolonged, heavy bleeding, pain, nausea, and vomiting. This procedure doesn’t require the use of surgical instruments or anaesthetics, making it less invasive. It can be a more accessible and manageable option.
Medical Abortion Methods
Most medical abortions involve a combination of drugs that initiate the abortion process over a few days. The most common drugs used in pregnancy termination include Mifepristone and Misoprostol.
Mifepristone is usually taken at the doctor’s office. This pill blocks the flow of progesterone, a hormone that is necessary for a pregnancy to continue. Misoprostol is a second drug that’s taken at home between 24-48 hours after Mifepristone. It will cause the uterus to contract to expel the embryo from the uterus.
There are possible side effects when choosing a medical abortion, and they can depend on the medication methods. Those side effects may include:
- Heavy bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Hot flashes
- Back pain
Medical abortions are covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), as well as the Interim Federal Health Program (IFH).
The average clinic visit may last up to four hours, but the procedure should take between 5 and 25 minutes. Aspiration abortions are the most common type of surgical abortion. During this procedure, the doctor will give the patient pain medication by injection. A sedative may also be given that allows the woman to relax.
The doctor will examine the uterus and insert a tube through the cervix into the uterus, which is attached to a suction device. After the tube is removed, the doctor will use a small, metal loop-shaped tool called a curette to remove any tissues that may remain in the uterus. Immediately after the surgical procedure is over, the doctor will ensure the uterus is empty.
Dilation and evacuation abortions (D&E) may be used after the fifteenth week of pregnancy. The procedure is similar to aspiration in that it includes a tube and suction device, but involves additional medical tools in the process. The overall procedure can take between 10 and 30 minutes. After the tube is removed, the doctor will use a small, metal loop-shaped tool called a curette to remove any tissues that may remain in the uterus.
Before the clinic appointment, a patient must ensure that there is someone to take them home after the appointment. They won’t be able to drive while on anaesthetics and pain medication.
While there are physical risks, such as a fever, severe cramping, hemorrhaging, infection, and incompetent cervix, there are also emotional risks that are involved, such as:
- Grief: Abortions can be uncomfortable and can form emotions that may be difficult to deal with. If ignored or suppressed, it can result in depression, anxiety, guilt, and regret.
- Relationships: Many relationships end when an abortion procedure takes place. Couples may find it difficult to preserve the relationship with those who felt pressure toward or have been part of the abortion process.
Our clinic offers a Post-Abortion Support Program (P.A.S.) to help women who have gone forward with an abortion procedure in the past. Some women may feel many emotions, but we want to assure you that you’re not alone. We understand that abortion often involves a grieving process, and we are here to support you through our recovery program.
Learn More About Abortion Options
At our Hamilton and Halton centres, we will discuss your pregnancy options at great length and provide you with resources. We can also provide information about contraception methods, and overall sexual health.
If you have any questions or concerns, come in and meet with a registered nurse to discuss your pregnancy options. No matter what option you choose, you must make sure it’s your decision. No one should force or pressure you into making a decision about your pregnancy. Take a healthy amount of time to determine if pregnancy termination or carrying to term is right for you.
Call us, we’re here for you.
While every situation is unique, we understand how difficult it can be. At our clinic, we have met many women and men that are in similar situations. You may have mixed emotions, fear and sadness, but we’re here to help you through your pregnancy options.