Hesperian Health Guides
What to Expect during a Safe Abortion
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Safe abortions, especially abortions by suction (MVA), are done in both health centers and hospitals. Surgical abortion (D and E) is usually done in a hospital. An abortion by medicine can be done at home before 10 weeks, or at a health center or hospital that also has equipment to do MVAs and D and Es, and health workers trained to do them. For more information about how these abortions are done, see "Safe Methods of Abortion."
Drink plenty of liquids the day before you have an abortion. This will help you recover more quickly.
When you go to a health center or hospital for an abortion, you should be welcomed and treated with respect. A counselor should talk with you about your decision and explain how the abortion will be done and what the risks are.
The information below tells what to expect from a safe abortion. An abortion that is very different from this could be dangerous.
- You should be asked about the time of your last monthly bleeding and whether you might have an STI.
- A health worker should do a medical exam. This includes feeling carefully in your vagina and on your belly for the size of your womb.
- During both abortion by suction and by surgery you will feel strong pains in the lower belly. But soon after the abortion is over, the pains will become less strong.
- After the abortion, your genitals should be cleaned, and then you should be taken to rest. A health worker should be there to check you for about an hour.
- Someone should tell you what to do after the abortion,
the danger signs to watch for, and who to contact if you have a complication.
In addition, someone should discuss family planning methods with you. You can start using a method the day of the abortion. You should be given an appointment to come back for a check-up in 1 or 2 weeks.