Surgical Abortion FAQ’s
Frequently asked questions about surgical abortion (click to reveal answer):
A surgical abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy. A health care provider inserts instruments into the vagina and through the cervix to remove the contents of the uterus.
In Manitoba, surgical abortion might be an option for you if your pregnancy is up to 19 weeks and 6 days. WHC provides abortions up to 16 weeks and Health Sciences Centre provides abortions up to 19 weeks and 6 days. Depending on your dates, we can help you to find late-date abortion providers outside of Manitoba.
Due to the length of your appointment and the size of our waiting room, we ask that if someone brings you to your appointment, that they drop you off and return to pick you up once you are done. Additional people will not be allowed to accompany you through your appointment.
A surgical abortion appointment will be completed within one day at WHC. The procedure itself usually takes less than 10 minutes but your appointment may last up to 5 hours.
No, you will not be asleep for the procedure. You will be offered medication to reduce discomfort and anxiety, but you will be awake for the procedure.
Discomfort during and after a surgical abortion differs from person to person but for most, it feels like strong period cramps. Medication for pain is offered to reduce discomfort.
You can use a hot water bottle or heating pad, or take ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®) to manage discomfort. Do not take ASA (Aspirin®) for pain – it may increase bleeding.
This risk of complications is very rare. Click here for a full list of all possible complications. If you have a fever: 38.0C or 100.4F or higher, chills or shaking, unusual or bad-smelling vaginal discharge, call the Emergency On-Call number you were given at your appointment or proceed to the nearest emergency room.
If you still feel pregnant 2 weeks after your abortion, please call WHC at 204 947 2422 ext. 200.
If you soak more than 4 large pads in 2 hours, this might be too much bleeding. Call the Emergency On-Call were given at your appointment or proceed to the nearest emergency room.
If you are between 14-16 weeks pregnant, we will give you medication (called misoprostol) 2-3 hours before the procedure to soften the cervix for easier dilation. Once you take this medication, you must continue with the abortion procedure.
For pregnancies earlier than 14 weeks, you can decide to stop the procedure up until the time the procedure is beginning.
If you are uncertain of your decision and would like to discuss your pregnancy options, please call Women’s Health Clinic to speak with a Birth Control and Pregnancy (BCP) counsellor at 204-947-1517. You will also meet with a counsellor on the day of your appointment to ensure that you feel confident that this decision is the right choice for you.
The risk of complications from an abortion is very low. There is no known link between having an abortion and ability to become pregnant in the future.