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ABORTION INFORMATION

For abortion appointments call:
254-759-5772
1-800-951-7258
License #008245

A Woman's Right to Know Information
Before Your Abortion
Facts About Early Surgical Abortion 
The Abortion Pill
Mid-Trimester Abortion
Ultrasound Information
Pre-Operative Medications
Caring for Yourself Afterward

Before Your Abortion

To help make your appointment go more smoothly, it is important that you read and understand these instructions. Please don't hesitate to ask questions. Call if you're unclear about anything.

Making An Appointment
In Texas, it is required that you wait at least 24 hours between the time you make your appointment and the time you can come into the clinic. At the time you make the appointment, you must listen to a pre-recorded message from our Medical Director, and then view some required information. The information that you must view is available through this website. It is listed above as Required Information You can click on the above link to view this document. The second item is one that we must offer you, but you have the right to decline. It is “A Woman’s Right to Know” and it is also available by the link above. When you call to make your appointment, you can expect it to take about 10 minutes.
 
Payment
Our fee for an abortion under 13 weeks 6 days is $450. Our fee for an abortion between 14 weeks and 15.6 weeks is $595 - there is no extra charge for IV sedation, antibiotics, pain medications or the first month of birth control pills. We accept cash, VISA / MasterCard, Discover, Money Orders or Traveler's Checks. Personal checks are not accepted. Please be prepared to pay the entire amount or the balance on the day of the abortion or the day of the insertion of the dilators.

We have limited financial assistance available to those who qualify. Ask when you make your appointment if you qualify for help.

Time Frame
Surgical procedures are done on Thursday mornings. Plan to be at the clinic for about 3-4 hours. The abortion itself takes only about 10 minutes.  The rest of the time is spent on lab work, consultation with staff, and a 30-40 minute recovery period. We ask that you bring a friend or family member to drive you home. A taxi can be called if needed.
 
Child Care Arrangements
We have a limited amount of space in our lobby. For this reason and for the comfort of our other patients, we do not allow children in the clinic on Thursdays.
 
Medications
Be sure to let us know what medications you are taking. No alcohol, aspirin, Ibuprofen or street drugs should be used 24 hours before the abortion.

Other Important Instructions

  1. If you have a blood type card or a card showing your Rh status (positive or negative) please bring that to the clinic. You may be able to avoid an additional blood test.  
  2. If you are having a surgical abortion, it is important that you not eat or drink anything the day of your abortion. Eat a normal dinner the night before you are scheduled, but nothing after midnight. You should drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids the day before your appointment and avoid alcohol beverages. If you are having a medication abortion there are no restrictions on food.
  3. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. The clinic is usually very cold, so you should dress in layers or bring a sweater. In the exam room you will be asked to undress from the waist down. You may keep your socks on. Wear comfortable underwear because you will be sent home wearing a sanitary pad.
  4. Purchase or borrow an oral thermometer so you have one at home after the abortion. Bring it with you if you have any trouble reading it. You may also want to have a heating pad or hot water bottle at home.
  5. You may bathe or shower before your appointment. You may brush your teeth but do not swallow any water. 
  6. Be prepared to use sanitary pads for 3 weeks.

Facts About Early Surgical Abortion

The cost is $450 and includes:

  • Pregnancy test
  • All options available 
  • Ultrasound
  • Rhogam if indicated
  • Rh Type and Hemoglobin testing
  • Prescriptions for Plan B(Emergency Contraception) and birth control for a year
  • Other tests as needed
  • Pre-operative medication for relaxation and pain
  • 1 pack of birth control pills
  • Post-operative antibiotic
  • Follow Up Visit
 
Before the Abortion
Once you check in, you will be asked to complete a medical history form and other paperwork. You will spend time with a staff member who will explain the procedure and answer any questions and get your written consent. A number of tests will be done, including a pregnancy test (if you haven’t already had one) and a blood test to check your Rh type and to make sure that you are not anemic. Various medications for pain relief will be discussed and offered to make you more comfortable during your procedure. 

Next, a nurse will go over your medical history. After a routine pelvic exam to check the size of your uterus, a vaginal ultrasound will be done. The final decision for the abortion will depend on your medical history, your physical examination, the results of your laboratory tests, ultrasound, and your wishes.
 
Abortion Procedure
More detailed information is available on the national Planned Parenthood website www.ppfa.org
 
Insertion of Osmotic Cervical Dilators
In some cases, osmotic dilators are used to slowly stretch the opening of the cervix. They look like small sticks, and swell when they absorb water from the cervical fluids. The dilators remain in the cervix for several hours (sometimes overnight), kept in place by gauze inserted into the vagina. You will be given antibiotics to prevent infection and Ibuprofen for mild cramps and written instructions for your care while the dilators are in place. You will have a phone number to call the nurse if you need to. 
 
The Abortion Procedure
The safest method for an early surgical abortion is a procedure called vacuum aspiration. This ends an early pregnancy by gently suctioning the lining of the uterus and removing all of the tissues of the pregnancy. This method is used for pregnancies up to 14 weeks, counting from the first day of the last menstrual period. 

To begin the abortion, we will give you a local anesthetic (numbing medicine) in your cervix and other medication by mouth or intravenously to make the procedure more comfortable. Next, the opening of the cervix is gradually stretched with a series of narrow instruments called dilators, each a little larger than the one before. When the cervix is open wide enough, a small plastic tube is inserted into the uterus and is connected to a suction machine or a syringe. The tube is moved along the inside of the uterus for 2-3 minutes in order to remove all of the pregnancy tissue with gentle suction. During and after the procedure, you may feel cramping as the uterus shrinks down to its normal size.
 
After the Abortion
After the abortion, you will be taken to the recovery area for rest and observation for 30 to 40 minutes. You will be given written follow-up instructions that a counselor will review with you. Because you may feel a little weak, it is best to arrange for someone to drive you home. If you have Valium or IV medications it will be necessary for someone to drive you. Staff members are available to answer any questions or concerns that you may have before, during, and after your visit.
Possible Problems
Early abortion by vacuum aspiration is a very safe procedure. Less than 1 woman in 100 will have a serious complication following an early abortion. However, as with any surgery, there are certain problems that can arise during or after an abortion:
  • There is a 1 in 100 chance that an infection of the uterus will develop after the abortion. While this problem routinely is treated with antibiotics, there is a small chance that a repeat aspiration, a D&C, hospitalization, or even surgery may be necessary.
  • In 1 in 100 cases, tissue is left inside of the uterus, leading to an "incomplete" abortion. This problem may lead to excessive bleeding, infection, or both. If this complication occurs, you could require a repeat aspiration or a D&C in a clinic or hospital, or other tests or treatment.
  • There is about a 1 in 500 chance that the uterus will be perforated (an instrument may go through the wall of the uterus and could damage internal organs such as intestines, bladder, or blood vessels). Treatment may consist of observation, laparoscopy, or abdominal surgery. The likelihood of hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) in this setting is 1 per 10,000 abortions.

Other Risks Include

  • Allergic reaction, which can be due to an allergy to the local anesthetic or any other medications used. All medicines and drugs, including street drugs, may cause serious reactions during anesthesia. It is important that you use only medically necessary drugs and avoid alcohol or other non-prescription drugs on the day of the abortion and that you tell the clinicians about all drugs or medications you have taken.
  • Hemorrhage (excessive bleeding), which may require treatment by medications, repeat aspiration, D&C, or rarely surgery (including possibly hysterectomy). Hemorrhage severe enough to require transfusion occurs in less than 1 per 1000 cases.
  • Blood clots in the uterus, which may cause severe cramping and abdominal pain. The risk is about 1 in 100 cases. Treatment is a repeat aspiration.
  • Cervical tear, in less than 1 in 100 cases, which may be treated with medicines, or rarely, stitches in the cervix.
  • Failure to end the pregnancy, which occurs 1 in 500 cases and may be due to a divided uterus, very early pregnancy, or other causes. Another aspiration procedure is recommended when this happens. A tubal (ectopic) pregnancy is not ended by abortion and usually requires an abdominal operation to remove.
  • Emotional problems after abortion are uncommon, and when they happen, usually go away quickly. Most women report a sense of relief, although some experience depression or guilt. Serious psychiatric disturbances (such as psychosis or serious depression) after abortion appear to be less frequent than after childbirth.
  • Impact on future pregnancies, which is very unlikely with an uncomplicated early abortion.
  • Death, which occurs in less than 1 per 100,000 abortions. This may be compared with the risk of death from a full-term pregnancy and childbirth, which is seven times greater than that from an early abortion.
When you leave  the clinic, you will have a phone number to reach the clinic or a nurse should these or any other problems occur. If emergency medical care is needed in a hospital or from a provider other than Planned Parenthood of Waco, you will be responsible for paying for that care.

Medication Abortion - "The Abortion Pill"

The cost is $450 and includes:

  • Pregnancy test
  • Counseling
  • Ultrasound
  • Rhogam if indicated
  • Rh Type and Hemoglobin testing
  • Prescriptions for Plan B(Emergency Contraception) and birth control for a year
  • Other tests as needed
  • Follow Up Visit
  • 1 pack of birth control pills
  • Antibiotic and pain medications

 


The Medication Abortion uses Mifeprex
Mifiprex has been approved by the FDA for ending early pregnancy since 2000. Mifeprex followed a day or two later by another drug, Misoprostol, is a safe and effective non-surgical method for ending early pregnancy. Early pregnancy is  9 weeks or less since the first day of your last menstrual period. One advantage of the medication abortion is that Mifeprex is a non-invasive method for ending pregnancy. 
Since it is taken orally, you avoid anesthesia or surgery in most cases. Some women feel it is a more private option. As with all methods provided at Planned Parenthood of Waco, you will receive counseling and support throughout the process.
 
How Mifiprex Works
Mifeprex works by blocking a hormone needed to maintain pregnancy. When used together with another medicine called Misoprostol, Mifeprex ends your pregnancy. Its effectiveness rate is approximately 99%, with less than ½ of 1% of women having to complete the abortion with the surgical procedure. At Planned Parenthood of Waco, if a surgical procedure is necessary, the cost is included in the Mifeprex fee ($450.00).
 
Who Should Not Take Mifiprex?
Some women should not take Mifeprex. Do not take it if:
  • It has been more than 9 weeks since the first day of your last menstrual period began
  • you are unwilling to have a surgical abortion if indicated
  • you have a medical condition preventing a surgical abortion
  • you have significant cardiac (heart) disease (AHA Class 3 or worse when not pregnancy), renal failure, or severe liver disease
  • you do not have easy access to a telephone in the rare event of a medical emergency (emergency treatment after incomplete abortion, blood transfusions or emergency resuscitation and transportation)
  • you use concurrent or long term systemic corticosteroid use (asthma inhalers)
  • An IUD  is in place and you will not have it removed
  • you have a known or suspected ectopic pregnancy (based on signs, symptoms, serial beta HCG's and transvaginal ultrasound) or adnexal mass suspicious for an ectopic pregnancy
  • you are allergic to Mifeprex or Misoprostol or other prostaglandin
  • you have chronic adrenal failure
  • you are taking anticoagulants or have hemorrhagic disorder or inherited porphyries
  • you cannot return to the clinic for follow-up visits or if medically indicated
  • there is a strong suspicion for molar pregnancy
What are the possible side effects of mifiprex?
Bleeding and cramping are a normal part of the process. You may experience bleeding similar to or greater than a heavy period and can expect bleeding or spotting for an average of 9-16 days. In some cases, women may have severe bleeding and need to contact the clinic or their doctor right away. Side effects of the combined regimen (Mifeprex, Misoprostol) that may occur include nausea, headache, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue and back pain. We will provide you with a pain reliever to help alleviate discomfort.
 
How Should I Take Mifiprex?
As with most medical procedures, the process is divided into several steps:
  1. It is important for you to understand the benefits and risks of using Mifeprex and to have all of your questions answered once you have decided Mifeprex is right for you. The Informed Consent process includes an educational session where the Mifeprex process is explained, your questions addressed and several different consent forms are signed, including:
    o Mifeprex Medication Guide and the Patient Agreement
    o Planned Parenthood of Waco Request for Surgery or Other Special Services
    o Planned Parenthood of Waco Supplement to Mifeprex (mifepristone) Patient Agreement
    o Planned Parenthood of Waco Client Information for Informed Consent: Vacuum
    Aspiration Abortion (As the patient, you must agree to have a surgical abortion in the rare event that the Mifeprex/Misoprostol process fails to end the pregnancy.)
  2. The examination / review of contraindications includes an ultrasound to confirm that you're not beyond the limits of the procedure 9 weeks since the first day of your last menstrual period). The nurse will review your medical history to make sure you don't have any medical contraindications. If all is well, then the clinician will provide you with the appropriate medications and review in detail how and when to take the Mifeprex and Misoprostol.
  3. The selection of the appropriate regimen and the administration of the medication.
Taking the Medicine
First Day:
After the counseling, informed consent, exam/ultrasound, you will be given with one 200 mg tablet of Mifeprex to be taken in the clinic. You will also receive instructions for the next few days and the how to take the following medications: 4 tablets of Misoprostol (800 mcg), pain medication (Usually Tylenol #3 and Ibuprofen) an antibiotic and phenergan for nausea.

Second and Third Days: You will take the 4 Misoprostol orally at home and will have instructions on what to expect. If, after 48 hours of the first dose of Misoprostol no bleeding has occurred, you will need to call the nurse.  She may recommend you take a second dose but not until she hears from you.  If you don't start bleeding after a second dose of Misoprostol, then a surgical procedure is recommended.

DAY 7-16: An office visit is required at this time to perform an ultrasound to confirm that the abortion is complete. In the rare event that an abortion has not occurred but the pregnancy is not viable, you have the option of waiting until day 42 of the process for the abortion to occur. Misoprostol may be repeated as outlined above. If the pregnancy is still viable, the chance of a repeated medication abortion being successful is remote and a surgical abortion should be done at this point.

Mid-Trimester D&E Abortion

The cost ranges from $450 (up to 13 weeks 6 days) to $595 (14 weeks to 15 weeks 6 days) and includes:

  • Pregnancy test
  • Counseling
  • Ultrasound
  • Rhogam if indicated
  • Rh Type and Hemoglobin testing
  • Follow Up Visit
  • IV Fluids as indicated
  • Prescriptions for Plan B(Emergency Contraception) and birth control for a year
  • Other tests as needed
  • Pre-operative medication for relaxation and pain
  • Rhogam if indicated
  • Osmotic Dilators and or Misoprostol
  • Post-operative antibiotic and pain medication
 
Before the Abortion
Once you check in, you will be asked to complete a medical history form and other paperwork. You will spend time with a staff member who will explain the procedure and answer any questions and get your written consent. A blood test will be done to check your Rh type and make sure that you are not anemic. Various medications for pain relief will be discussed and offered to make you more comfortable during your procedure. 

Next, a nurse will go over your medical history. After a routine pelvic exam to check the size of your uterus, an  ultrasound will be done. This is done using a scanner that is passed over the abdomen or into the vagina. This will determine the age of the pregnancy. The final decision for the abortion will depend on your medical history, your physical examination, the results of your laboratory tests, ultrasound, and your wishes.
 
Insertion of Dilators
Osmotic dilators will be used to slowly stretch and soften the opening of the cervix. You will be given written instructions for your care. The instructions include a telephone number so that you can get in touch with the clinic staff should any problems arise. The insertion of an osmotic dilator is the beginning of the abortion procedure, and for that reason, you must return to the clinic at the agreed-upon time for the completion of the abortion. Serious problems could develop if you do not return.
 
The Abortion Procedure
Before the procedure is started, a needle will be inserted in your vein. It will stay there during the time you are in the clinic. All the medications that you need will be given through this needle. These medications may include drugs to reduce discomfort and help you relax.
 
The gauze and dilators will be removed. The doctor will give you a local anesthetic (numbing medicine) in your cervix, which will make the procedure more comfortable. The cervix may need to be stretched more, which will be done gradually with a series of narrow instruments also called dilators, each a little larger than the one before. When the cervix is open wide enough, a plastic tube is inserted into the uterus and is connected to a suction machine. The contents of the uterus are then removed by suction, usually taking 5-15 minutes. During and after the procedure, you may feel cramping. 
After the Abortion
 After the abortion, you will be taken to the recovery area for a rest and observation period. You will be given follow-up instructions. A staff member will discuss your care at home and give you phone numbers to call to reach our clinic 24 hours a day. When you feel comfortable, usually after 30 to 40 minutes, you may leave. Because you may feel a little weak, you should arrange beforehand for someone to drive you home. If you have Valium or IV Medications it will be necessary for someone to drive you.
 
Possible Problems
Mid-trimester abortion is more complex than abortions performed earlier in pregnancy. With the dilation and extraction method, there is a slightly greater risk of perforating the uterus or injury to the cervix than with early abortion. However, compared with the other methods available after the 16th week of pregnancy (injection of saline or prostaglandins inside the uterus), there is less risk of bleeding, infection, and incomplete abortion.

Complications may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • a 1 in 100 chance that an infection of the uterus will develop after the abortion. While this problem is routinely treated with antibiotics, there is a small chance that a repeat aspiration (suction), a D&C, a hospitalization, or even surgery may be necessary.
  • in 1 in 100 cases, tissue is left inside of the uterus, leading to an "incomplete" abortion. This problem may lead to excessive bleeding, infection, or both. If this complication occurs, you could require a repeat aspiration or a D&C in the clinic or hospital, or other tests or treatment.
  • about a 3 in 1000 chance that the uterus will be perforated (an instrument may go through the wall of the uterus and could damage internal organs such as intestines, bladder, or blood vessels). Hospitalization is required, and an abdominal operation usually is performed to repair the damage. The likelihood of hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) in this setting is less than 1 per 1000 D&E abortions.
  • Other risks include:
    • allergic reaction - which can be due to an allergy to the local anesthetic or to any other medications used. All medicines and drugs, including street drugs, may cause serious reactions alone or during anesthesia. It is important that you use only medically necessary drugs and avoid alcohol or other non-prescription drugs on the day of the abortion and that you tell the clinicians about all drugs you have taken;
    • hemorrhage (excessive bleeding) - which may require treatment by medications, repeat aspiration, D&C, or rarely, surgery, including possible hysterectomy. Hemorrhage severe enough to require transfusion occurs in fewer than 1 per 1000 cases;
    • blood clots in the uterus - which may cause severe cramping and abdominal pain. The risk is about 1 in 100 cases and the treatment is to perform re-aspiration;
    • cervical tear - in fewer than 1 in 100 cases, which may be treated with medicines, or rarely, stitches in the cervix;
    • an emotional reaction after the abortion - Emotional problems after abortion are uncommon, and when they happen they usually go away quickly. Most women report a sense of relief, although some experience depression or guilt. Serious psychiatric disturbances (such as psychoses or serious depression) after abortion appear to be less frequent than after childbirth;
    • an impact on future pregnancies - with an uncomplicated mid-trimester abortion, this risk is unlikely;
    • death - The risk of death from D&E is about equal to that of death from full-term pregnancy and childbirth.
When you leave our clinic, you will be given a number to reach us if these or any other problems occur. You also should plan on returning to the clinic for your follow-up exam.  If emergency medical care is needed in a hospital or from a provider other than Planned Parenthood, you will be responsible for paying for that care.
 
Ultrasound Information

Ultrasound is a procedure that helps the clinician to see the pregnancy in order to tell the age of the embryo or fetus and to look at your uterus. This is done with an instrument that sends sound waves through the tissues. This ultrasound is being done only to determine the age of the embryo or fetus and its location and not to detect abnormalities of the pregnancy, fetus, or reproductive tract. If more studies are needed, you will be referred to an appropriate provider. There are limitations to all imaging techniques, and none is 100% accurate or reliable.

Pre-Operative Medications

In addition to an antibiotic to reduce the small chance of post-abortion infection and the local anesthetic, the following medication is available to help reduce anxiety and discomfort:
  1. Doxycycline 100 mg (given to all patients) one capsule twice a day for seven days. Doxycycline is an antibiotic to prevent infection. Take with food as this will decrease stomach upset. Doxycycline can increase your skin sensitivity to sunlight, so wear a sunscreen when you are in the sun, and around tanning lights.
  2. Diazepam - Valium Many women who have an abortion find that this drug helps reduce anxiety. It is a mild muscle relaxant. It will not cause you to be less aware of what is happening, although it can make you drowsy, slightly
    dizzy or feel like you have a dry mouth. You will not be given this medication if you do not have someone to drive you home.
  3. Ibuprofen - Motrin Many women who have an abortion find this drug helps reduce cramping or discomfort. It works by blocking the release of prostaglandins which cause painful uterine cramps. You should not take this drug if you are sensitive to aspirin, have ulcers, ongoing stomach problems or nasal polyps.
    OR
    3b. Acetaminophen - Tylenol

    This drug can be taken to help reduce cramping or discomfort. ost women do very well with the above medications. However, you may wish to consider the following medication as well:
  4. Fentanyl (injection by a needle into a vein in the arm) - Sublimaze
    This is a strong narcotic that helps relieve pain, reduces anxiety, and aids in relaxation. It does not put you to sleep. It begins acting immediately after injection and wears off in 30-60 minutes, although some people will feel slightly drowsy for several hours. The most common side effect is dizziness.
    Occasionally, there will be nausea and vomiting afterwards. A rare, but potentially serious side effect is respiratory depression (slower, more shallow or difficult breathing). Medications are available to counteract this problem when necessary. Remember, it is extremely important for you to share with us any recent drug (legal or illegal) and/or alcohol use. You will not be given this medication if you do not have someone to drive you home.
  5. Midazolam - Versed
    This is a strong narcotic that reduces anxiety and aids in relaxation. It does not put you to sleep. It begins acting immediately after injection and wears off in 30-60 minutes, although some people will feel slightly drowsy for several hours. The most common side effect is dizziness. Occasionally there will be nausea and vomiting afterwards. A rare, but potentially serious side effect is respiratory depression (slower, more shallow or difficult breathing). Medications are available to counteract this problem when necessary. Remember, it is extremely important for you to share with us any recent drug (legal or illegal) and/or alcohol use. You will not be given this medication if you do not have someone to drive you home.

Caring for Yourself Afterward

Now that your abortion is over, you^ll want to know what to expect in the next week or so. This information describes what usually occurs after an abortion to help you decide whether your experiences are normal or if you need additional medical attention. Keep this information until your next period and refer to it if you have questions. This chart will help you decide if the symptoms you are having are normal or if a problem is developing. If you are unsure, please call the clinic where you had your abortion.

WHAT IS NORMAL?

  • Normal Bleeding:
    • light or heavy bleeding, or no bleeding
    • scant, spotty, dark brown or red discharge
    • heavier than a period
    • lasts 1-14 days
    • often there will be no bleeding for a few days after the abortion, and then bleeding (as heavy as a period) may begin around the 3rd to 5th day after the abortion. This bleeding is caused by hormonal changes and medicines, and you may have more cramps.
    • you may not bleed at all
  • Normal Clotting:
    • small clots as large as a quarter are normal
  • Normal Discharge:
    • brown tinged or dark brown to black
    • mucus
  • Normal Cramps:
    • cramping is due to the uterus returning to its smaller non-pregnant size
    • menstrual-like cramps for the first few days
    • may increase as bleeding increases - particularly on the 3rd to 5th day as mentioned above
    • 2 Ibuprofen tablets every 4 hours usually helps cramps
    • use of a heating pad may also help
  • Normal Temperature:
    • may fluctuate up to 101 degrees
  • Normal Nausea:
    • nausea usually goes away within 48 hours
  • Normal Breast Soreness, Swelling and Nipple Discharge:
    should go away in a few days to two weeks. Wear a supportive bra and avoid breast stimulation.
     
    If you have an emergency, Planned Parenthood staff will be available 24 hours of every day. During regular clinic hours, you can call the clinic number and explain that you were seen for an abortion at PPCT and your call will be forwarded to the on-call nurse. You will also be given an after hours/weekend number to call. The staff will assess the problem and provide you with care at our clinic, if appropriate (at no charge), or help you get medical care elsewhere (at your expense). If you were told that tissue was sent to the lab, call us in 6-8 working days if we have not called you.

CALL US IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCURS:

  • Bleeding
    Heavy bleeding; soaking 2 full-sized pads in a hour
  • Clotting
    Clots larger than a quarter
  • Discharge
    Itchy and painful
    Foul (bad smelling) odor
    Pus-like
  • Cramps
    severe cramps that keep you from normal activity
    cramps not relieved by Tylenol or Ibuprofen
    constant cramping or pain
  • Temperature
    • fever greater than 101
    • chills or shaking
  • Nausea and Breast Soreness
    • if nausea continues for more than 3 days and if breast soreness or swelling continues for more than 14 days

And be ready to tell us...

  • your temperature within the past hour
  • the number of sanitary napkins you have soaked in the past 2 hours
  • the medications you’ve taken and when in the last 6 hours

POST ABORTION MEDICATION
Methergine: Some patients will receive a 3-day supply of Methergine. Do not take Methergine if you have high blood pressure (tell the doctor or the nurse). Take a pill three times a day - morning, noon and bedtime. Methergine helps your uterus return to a normal size and controls bleeding. It does this by making the muscle of the uterus cramp. It is normal to have menstrual-like cramps and you may have back or leg pain from the Methergine. A mild headache, nausea, vomiting and dizziness are also normal side effects. Call the clinic if you have a severe headache, severe cramps, ringing in the ears, rapid heartbeat, unusual sweating, chest pain or trouble breathing. Expect your bleeding to be heavier in the morning when you first get up and for a few days after you finish Methergine. Take 2 (500 mg) Tylenol every 4 hours to help cramps or a headache. Avoid taking aspirin.

PREVENTING INFECTION
Infection in the uterus and fallopian tubes is the most common complication following an abortion. You need to be aware of the signs of an infection -- fever above 101, abnormal pain, foul smelling discharge. Call us if these occur.
To prevent infection:

  1. Take your temperature twice daily for the first week -- once in the morning, and once before dinner. Call us if it is above 101.
  2. To prevent germs from moving from your vagina to the uterus, for the next two weeks after your abortion: DO NOT put anything in your vagina – this includes NO SEX, NO TAMPONS, NO DOUCHING
  3. Only take showers, no sit-down baths. Do not go swimming or sit in a hot-tub.

EXERCISE AND REST
Most women prefer to take it easy for the day following an abortion, and then are able to return to normal activity. Some women feel fine immediately, while others require more time -- let your body be your guide. No matter how well you are feeling you should not exercise strenuously for the first week. Heavy exercise will cause bleeding to be heavier and may cause more cramping.

FEELINGS
Women experience a variety of emotions when they are pregnant and when they have an abortion. Feelings of relief, elation, sadness, depression and a sense of loss are common. Some of these feelings do not last very long. It may be helpful to talk with someone close to you, or you may want to return to the clinic and talk further with a Planned Parenthood staff member. In addition, your partner or someone else close to you may have feelings or concerns they would like to discuss. Counselors are available during clinic hours for them as well.

MENSTRUAL CYCLE AND PREGNANCY
Immediately after your abortion, your body will begin to prepare for your next menstrual period. Your first period will usually come 4-8 weeks after the abortion. YOU CAN BECOME PREGNANT AGAIN AT ANY TIME, EVEN BEFORE YOUR NEXT PERIOD.

Some women find their first period after an abortion is heavier or lighter than usual, and periods may be slightly irregular for the first two or three months. Most women find that their cycles return to normal right away, and are the same as they were before the abortion.

BIRTH CONTROL
If you have intercourse and don^t want to become pregnant, you need to use some method of birth control. If you know about the different methods and have made a choice, we can provide you with that method at the time of your abortion or at your follow-up appointment. If you need more information about birth control, we will provide this at your appointment. Anytime you have questions or concerns about birth control or pregnancy, you are encouraged to call the clinic. A counselor is always available to talk with you.
If you were given birth control pills, you should start them the first Sunday following the abortion. Spotting and breakthrough bleeding are very common during the first package of birth control pills used after pregnancy. It should go away by the second cycle, as the lining of the uterus repairs itself.

DISABLED PATIENTS 
All medical services are accessible to disabled persons at the clinic

SUCCESSFUL COPING AFTER AN ABORTION
The decision whether or not to have an abortion is a very personal matter. Any woman considering having an abortion needs to feel that an abortion is the best choice for her at the time, even if the decision is a very difficult one.

There is no "right" way to feel after an abortion. There may be a number of feelings, both positive and troublesome, and it is important to know that your feelings are valid, no matter what they are. Planned Parenthood encourages discussion of these feelings before and after the abortion.

There is a false belief that women sink into depression, guilt and grief after an abortion. According to research, the majority of women who have abortions have no regrets and would make the same choice again in similar circumstances. 91% report a sense of relief after the abortion. It can present an opportunity to reconsider attitudes and relationships. Many are happy to have a fresh start in life and be back to normal.

For some women, there is a mixture of both positive and negative feelings. Relief, mixed with sadness, guilt or anger is not unusual. Sometimes hormonal changes after an abortion can result in a period of "the blues". Most women cope well and move on in a short period of time.

Occasionally, some women do have very negative feelings after an abortion. If you should be one of these women, do not think there is something wrong with you. Your feelings are valid and need to be expressed. Sharing feelings with your partner, a close friend or a counselor can help.

Serious emotional problems (such as severe depression or psychosis) after an abortion appear to occur less frequently than after childbirth. For less than 5% of women abortion will bring serious sadness, guilt, anger or regret. These feelings are troublesome because many people do not know how to cope in positive ways when experiencing these feelings.

Before you have an abortion, you need to look at your feelings. Pretending they are not there or that they will go away on their own can be a mistake.

There are some situations that indicate emotional problems after an abortion:

  • Women who have had a psychiatric illness in the past have a higher chance of serious emotional problems after the abortion, especially if they quit taking their medications for their illness during the pregnancy. It is important for anyone with a psychiatric illness to see their psychiatrist or therapist before and after an abortion.
  • Extreme difficulty making up one's mind about choosing abortion may mean problems afterward. Ambivalence is a normal part of the process, but when it becomes so painful that a clear choice cannot be made, it may indicate later problems.
  • Women who are persuaded by partners, parents or others to have an abortion against their own wishes experience greater feelings of guilt and regret. If you have an abortion to please someone else, it is the wrong reason. You may blame them later and regret the decision. It must be your own choice.

Counseling is available to help you successfully cope with feelings after an abortion. We can help you find a therapist or a member of the clergy who can help you with ongoing concerns or problems.

     

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Planned Parenthood of Central Texas, Inc. is a private,not-for-profit corporation affiliated on a national level with Planned Parenthood Federation of America. We are supported by patient fees, federal and state grants, foundations and private donations.

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