Family Reproductive Health
Charlotte, North Carolina
704-551-0808 / 800-952-9034

Most Commonly Asked
Questions About Abortion

1. How long does it take?

An early abortion takes from 3 to 5 minutes for the actualprocedure, however you will be with us for several hours for yourtotal visit.

2. How long do I have to be there?

You'll be at our clinic for approximately 4 hours. Because we payattention to your head & heart along with your body, yourabortion visit will include numerous steps. Here's how a typicalpatient appointment would look:

Youwill check in at the desk and get paperwork, including a completemedical history to complete. All information about you and your visitis completely confidential.

Nextwill be an ultrasound to accurately date the length of yourpregnancy. An ultrasound doesn't hurt and is the most accurate way tofind out how many weeks pregnant you are.

Severalsimple laboratory tests will be performed: your blood type, anemiascreening, and a confirming pregnancy test. If your blood type is Rhnegative, you will need a special medication after your abortion toprevent future pregnancy problems involving blood types. Only 12% ofwomen are Rh negative, so most do not need this medication.

Youwill be seen privately in the business office to review your medicalhistory and to pay your fee. Fees are payable with cash, or any majorcredit card. We do not accept personal checks.

Then,you will review the abortion procedure, its possible risks andcomplications, and your abortion decision with a counselor. This isan opportunity to have all your questions answered and to discuss anyconcerns, fears and/or doubts you may be having. Please understandthat we are not here to make decisions for you or to talk you into orout of anything. Our purpose is to provide you with truthfulinformation, help you clarify confusion, and support whateverdecision you make for yourself about your pregnancy.

Aftercounseling, you will receive your pre-operative medications. Eachpatient receives oral Valium and a pain medication prior to herabortion. Valium helps to relax and ease anxiety and the painmedication is to help reduce cramping and discomfort during and afterthe abortion.

Then,you are escorted to the exam room by a staff member. She will helpyou get changed for your procedure. You will have a few minutes alonein the exam room while the physician finishes his/her time with theprevious patient.

Yourprocedure will last about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the length ofyour pregnancy. A medical staff member will be there to assist bothyou and the doctor. In fact, our medical staff are the besthand-holders around and will take very good care of you. After yourabortion is complete, the medical staff person will help you dressand walk to the recovery room.

Inthe recovery room, our Registered Nurse will monitor your bloodpressure, cramping and vaginal bleeding. You will be with us for afull hour in recovery, plenty of time to be feeling better for yourtrip home. If you are starting birth control pills, you will receivea sample package along with instructions while in the recovery room.This is your last opportunity to ask questions and get informationbefore you leave the clinic. You will also receive yourpost-operative medications and instructions from the nurse. Most ofour patients leave the recovery room ready to eat a meal and be acouch potato for the rest of the day. A few feel just like normal anda few are uncomfortable enough to go home to bed. No one gets toleave the clinic until it is medically safe.

3. How is the abortion done?

The abortion is performed using a suction/aspiration method.Simply put, the cervical muscle that is the opening to the uterus, isgently dilated to the diameter of a ball point pen and suction isused to remove the pregnancy. For later pregnancies, dilation andevacuation is the method of choice. The cervical muscle is dilated toabout the diameter of your thumb and the pregnancy is removed with acombination of suction and sterile instruments.

4. Is it going to hurt?

We all have differing pain responses and tolerances. Because weall experience pain differently, women have a variety of abortionexperiences. Our goal is to offer the best pain management optionsfor all of our patients without jeopardizing safety. Patientsexperience a range of pain responses from mild cramping to severeuterine (menstrual type) cramping. But remember, the procedure onlylasts for a few minutes and you will have a support person with youthroughout.

5. Do you put people to sleep?

Our approach to pain management is varied, and for safety reasons,does not include general anesthesia. Because we all experience paindifferently, we offer several medication options to our patients.Each woman receives a local anesthetic medication that numbs thecervical muscle to reduce discomfort during dilation. Patients thenhave the option of oral medications to reduce both anxiety and painor injection sedation. Women with high anxiety and low pain toleranceare well served by injection sedation. This option involves a fastacting narcotic that is injected into a vein or muscle. Themedication acts quickly to alter consciousness without putting thepatient to sleep. Injection sedation is preferable to generalanesthesia because of the reduced risk of serious complications.General anesthesia has a higher risk of complication than the actualabortion procedure.

6. How does the Abortion Pill work?

On the day of your appointment, you will take the "Abortion Pill"(Mifeprex) while you are in our office. You will be instructed by thedoctor to insert 4 tablets vaginally (Misoprostol) 24-72 hours later.Most women will expel the embryo or "miscarry" within 4 hours afterinserting the vaginal tablets. Cramping can range from mild tointense for approximately 4 hours. A follow-up visit is necessary in2-3 weeks.

7. Can the person who brought me be with me?

There are several opportunities for your support person to be withyou during your appointment. We will always create opportunities foryou to meet in private with staff, even if you want your supportperson to join you. Because patient privacy is one of our mainconcerns, your support person will not be permitted in the medicalportions of your visit unless you have scheduled a private individualappointment. Ask About Private Appointments.

8. Will I be OK afterward?

"Abortion is 11 times safer than carrying a pregnancy to term, andnearly twice as safe as a penicillin injection...The risk ofcomplications with an abortion is minimal--less than 1% of allabortion patients experience a major complication associated with theprocedure." From The Alan Guttmacher Institute, an independent,Nonprofit Corporation for Research, Policy Analysis & PublicEducation. Abortion and Women's Health, New York, NY:1990.

9. Will I still be able to have children?

Studies have shown that 1-2 early, uncomplicated abortions have noeffect on a woman's current fertility. With all out-patient surgery,part of the long term effects are in your hands. Completingmedications, following instructions, and returning for your follow-upexamination will reduce your chance of long term side effects. Womenhaving later abortions or more than two abortions may have increasedrisk of future fertility and child bearing problems.

10. Will I feel guilty afterwards?

We know that women experience a range of emotions following anabortion. Studies show that most women experience relief andhappiness following an abortion. One study showed 94% of womenreporting an improvement or no change to their mental healthfollowing an abortion. The key is in the decision making. If you makeyour own decision, based on your own beliefs, wants and needs, youare likely to experience relief, not guilt. If you allow yourself tobe guided or pushed to a decision that is wrong for you, you arelikely to experience regret and anger. Even if you are making a gooddecision, your own decision, you may feel sadness after yourabortion. It is sad to lose opportunities, to say no to importantlife changes. We want you to know that sadness is normal and is apart of the healing process. If may last for a few days or longer.You will pass through it. If you find you need help getting to theother side of sadness, please ask us.

Pregnancy Tests & FamilyPlanning
Abortion Services 4-15Weeks
Most Commonly Asked QuestionsAbout Abortion
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