Medical and Surgical Abortion/Termination of Pregnancy Info
We offer a focused family planning program at University Women’s Health Specialists. Our physicians are faculty members in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the University of Hawaii John A Burns School of Medicine and are leading specialists and researchers in the field of family planning. We provide all patients with comprehensive counseling regarding pregnancy options and contraception. We provide 24-hour patient phone contact for emergencies.
Abortion services available: Based on medical factors and the length of your pregnancy (gestational age), several options are available for a pregnancy termination. We will explain to you the types of abortion you are most likely eligible for when you call to make your appointment. We are also able to offer visits through telemedicine where we can discuss your pregnancy options and provide counseling for medical abortion. At your appointment your physician will confirm which options are available to you.
Medical Abortion is a termination of pregnancy using a combination of medications. Generally, this is available to appropriate patients up to 77 days gestation (11 weeks). You may be eligible to use telemedicine to speak with a doctor prior to starting a medical abortion instead of having an in-person clinic visit.
- What to expect: Most people will have bleeding that starts within 1-4 hours of taking the medication. It is normal for you to have pain (cramping) and bleeding while the pregnancy passes. You may take pain medication as prescribed by your doctor to help with the pain.
- What to plan for: Because you will have bleeding and cramping (and sometimes stomach upset), you should arrange for time off work (at least 1 day), childcare, and to have a support person available to you after you take the medication.
- What to have at home: Heating pad or hot water bottles to help with cramping, light foods (ginger ale, broth, crackers, Jell-o), and menstrual pads.
- Recovery: Most people prefer to take it easy for a few days after an abortion. You should avoid strenuous exercise for the first week as this may cause additional bleeding. Let your body be your guide.
- Follow-Up Appointment: 1-2 weeks after taking your medications, we will follow up with you either in person or with telemedicine (phone or videoconference). Your doctor will discuss the reasons to contact the office if needed earlier than this. Four weeks after taking your medications, you should check a urine pregnancy test to make sure it is negative. Do not take a pregnancy test earlier because your body may still have hormones from the pregnancy that will make the test appear positive (a false positive). You do not routinely need a follow up ultrasound. We are always available if you have any questions or concerns.
Surgical Abortion is either a same-day procedure in our office or an outpatient surgery in the operating room, depending on the length of the pregnancy (gestational age).
- What to expect:
- If you have a procedure in our office, you will have local anesthesia (numbing) but will not be asleep. The procedure usually takes 5-10 minutes, and most patients do not have much discomfort. You may want to bring an iPod and headphones to listen to music during the procedure. You can drive yourself home after an in-office procedure.
- For procedures in the operating room, you will be asleep. You will need someone to drive you home and may feel groggy for a few hours after the procedure. Some patients feel nauseous from the anesthesia medication.
- What to have at home: Heating pad or hot water bottles to help with cramping, light foods (ginger ale, broth, crackers, jell-o), and sanitary pads.
- Recovery: You may have cramping or light bleeding after your abortion. This will lessen after time. Most women take it easy for a few days after an abortion. You should avoid strenuous exercise for the first week as this may cause additional bleeding. Let your body be your guide.
- Follow-Up Appointment: If you feel well after your surgical abortion, you may not need a follow-up visit. If you would like to see a doctor, a follow-up appointment can be scheduled about 2 weeks after your abortion (or as directed by your doctor). If you do not live on Oahu, you should make this appointment with your referring doctor.
Emotional support resources: If you would like to talk with someone about your pregnancy and your options, there are resources available.
Pregnancy Options Counseling and Resources
- You may make an appointment to speak with our physicians about your pregnancy options. Our office offers the full range of pregnancy options, from termination of pregnancy to prenatal care. During your visit you will be able to:
- Discuss how you feel about being pregnant
- Have all of your questions answered
- Receive medically accurate and factual information about prenatal care, adoption, and abortion.
- If you want to talk further about your feelings about your pregnancy, there are online and telephone support options.