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Palm Beach Women's Clinic
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Be Confident In Your Decision

While there are several abortion procedures available, before saying yes to any of them, you must understand the methods and risks involved. The Palm Beach Women’s Clinic staff will give you the guidance and support you need to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

The type of abortion method you have depends on how far you are in your pregnancy.

First Trimester Abortions:

The two main types of abortion are medical and surgical.

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion uses drugs to terminate a pregnancy. The abortion pill is a medical abortion that uses two powerful drugs over a 24 to 48-hour period. The FDA has approved this method if your pregnancy is 70 days or less (10 weeks) from the first day of your last menstrual period.

The first drug in the abortion pill method is mifepristone. Progesterone is needed to continue the pregnancy by maintaining the lining of the uterus; this is necessary for normal implantation and placental attachment and development. Mifepristone blocks the uterus from absorbing this hormone, thereby terminating the pregnancy.

The second drug is misoprostol. It causes very intense uterine contractions to expel the developing fetus and placenta.

Surgical Abortion

A first-trimester surgical abortion is called Vacuum Aspiration or Suction Aspiration. This procedure involves using a suction or vacuum aspirator to remove the developing fetus from the uterus. It terminates a pregnancy up to 14 weeks old.

Second Trimester Abortion

Once you’ve entered your second trimester, medical abortions are no longer approved by the FDA. You can have two different types of surgical abortions.

Dilation and curettage (D & C)

According to the Mayo Clinic, a D & C uses small instruments or a medication to open (dilate) the cervix (the lower, narrow part of your uterus). Your abortion provider uses a surgical instrument called a curette, a spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge or suction device, to remove uterine tissue.

Dilation and evacuation (D & E)

Dilation and evacuation is the most common surgical technique used in the second trimester. The abortion provider opens the cervix wider (than that required in a D&C or Suction Aspiration) to allow entry of forceps.

Third Trimester Abortion

Dilation and extraction (D & X)

Dilation and extraction is a surgical abortion procedure used to terminate a pregnancy after 15 weeks of gestation. It is also known as partial-birth abortion, which is currently banned in the United States.


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