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Abortion - Choices: Surgical Abortion

A surgical abortion ends a pregnancy by surgically removing the contents of the uterus. Different procedures are used for surgical abortion, depending on how many weeks of pregnancy have passed.

Care before and after a surgical abortion includes a physical exam and lab tests, education about what to expect, self-care instructions, symptoms that mean you should call your doctor, and birth control planning.

Surgical methods in the first trimester (5 to 12 weeks)

Surgical method in the second trimester

A D&E is most commonly used during the second trimester because it has a lower complication risk than induction abortion.

Nonsurgical method in the second trimester

  • Induction abortion ends a second-trimester pregnancy by using medicines to start (induce) contractions, which expel (push) the fetus from the uterus. If the fetus has severe medical problems, a woman may choose to have an induction abortion.

See the What to Think About section of this topic for a comparison between medical abortion and surgical abortion.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 31, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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