The operation involves a safe and simple procedure during
which the doctor gently opens the cervix (dilation) and
empties the uterus by aspiration. The entire procedure only
takes between 5 and 10 minutes. To ensure maximum comfort
conscious sedation is offered involving I.V. anaesthesia and
other pain and anxiety-relieving agents. All the equipment
used at the Morgentaler clinics is completely sterile and
hygienic, using guidelines and protocols instituted by the
College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick, the Canadian
Medical Association and all other applicable governing
All abortions are performed by physicians who have been specially trained in these techniques and are assisted by registered nurses. You will have a bedside nurse to help you throughout the entire procedure. The bedside nurse is your advocate and guardian, and has your best interest at heart. She will help to prepare you and get you ready for the doctor who will perform your abortion.
The doctor will perform a routine gynaecological exam (pelvic exam) by placing 2 fingers into your vagina while placing the other hand on your abdomen. This exam gives the doctor a rough idea of the position and size of your uterus. After the pelvic examination has been completed, the doctor will place a speculum into your vagina, which you may be familiar with if you have ever had a pap test.
At this time the doctor will cleanse your cervix (the opening to your uterus) with an antiseptic soap. This is then followed by local freezing which may cause you to feel a small amount of cramping or pinching. The doctor will than dilate (widen) your cervix, generally taking a minute or two, by carefully inserting a small rod into the cervix which will than be removed and gradually followed by more rods of increasing size until your cervix is opened. You may experience slight pressure or mild cramping during this part of the procedure.
Once the dilation of your cervix is completed the doctor will than place a small tube into your cervix which is attached to a vacuum pump that is turned on for a few minutes and facilitates the emptying of your uterus. You may experience some period like cramping at this stage of the procedure as your uterus contracts and gets smaller.
In the final stage of the procedure the doctor will do a curettage (there is no cutting involved) of the inside of the uterus to check for any remaining tissue before doing the final suction. The doctor will than check to be sure that the abortion is complete before removing all the instruments. If the doctor feels that the uterus is not empty, she may repeat the curettage and suction process. The doctor and the medical staff will examine the suctioned tissue to be sure that your abortion procedure is completed.
In the recovery area the nurse will check your blood pressure and heart rate and go over the abortion aftercare instructions. Medications are available for women who experience uncomfortable cramping following the procedure. Recovery is rapid and most patients feel ready to leave in approximately 30 minutes.
When you are ready to leave the recovery room, the nurse will explain how to take care of yourself after the abortion. She will provide you with some post-operative information to take home. This important information includes after-care advice and our 24 hour help number so you can contact us should you have questions or need medical assistance. The recovery nurse will also review the birth control method that is best suited to your needs based on your discussion with the counsellor.
If you would like to speak with your counsellor after your abortion procedure, please just let the recovery nurse know and she will arrange for the counsellor to see you. The counsellor is always available to speak with you or to assist you with a referral to someone in your community for aftercare if necessary.