• Choices Women’s Medical Center:
  • 147-32 Jamaica Avenue
  • Queens, NY 11435

Surgical Abortion FAQs

Surgical Abortion Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at Choices Women’s Medical Center are included on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions are answered about Choices in General, Abortion in General, Medical Abortion or Abortion Pill, Gynecology, and Pregnancy/Prenatal Care on separate pages.

Surgical Abortion

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Abortion Services at Choices Women’s Medical Center

An abortion is a legal and very safe procedure to end a pregnancy. Choices was one of the first medical clinics to offer abortion services when New York State legalized abortion in 1971, two years before it became legal nationally in 1973. Since that time, millions of women in the U.S. have chosen to have abortions. One in four women in this country has an abortion before the age of 45.

Is abortion safe?

Yes. Abortion is one of the safest out-patient medical procedures there is. It has been shown to be safer than a dental procedure and statistically to be nine times safer than childbirth.

What is the age of consent to get an abortion in New York?

There are no age restrictions for getting an abortion in New York State, and you do not need permission from anyone to get an abortion. Choices offers medical abortion (the “abortion pill”) to 10 weeks and surgical in-clinic abortion to 24 weeks of pregnancy. All of your medical care at Choices is entirely confidential. We do encourage teenagers to come with a trusted adult, but the decision to have an abortion or not is yours to make.

How early in pregnancy can you get an abortion?

If you think you are pregnant, you can make an appointment at Choices or walk in for a Confirmation of Pregnancy visit. Abortion is available after the 5th week of pregnancy. If the pregnancy is too early to be confirmed during your visit, you will be evaluated and given a follow- up appointment.

What happens during a surgical abortion?

Up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, abortion is a simple in-clinic procedure performed by gentle suction (vacuum aspiration) to remove the pregnancy from your uterus. The procedure itself takes about 5 to 10 minutes, with additional time at Choices for preparation and recovery.

From 12 to 24 weeks of pregnancy, the procedure is called “D&E” (dilation and evacuation). This is a two-day procedure. On day one, your doctor will begin the procedure by inserting laminaria, a sterile product made specifically to dilate (open) the cervix. You can talk about this with a Counselor, and, if you choose, you can be put to sleep for the few minutes it takes for laminaria to be inserted. After this is completed, you can then go home. This procedure takes only a few minutes, but you will be at Choices for approximately 2 hours, including lab work and a private session with a Counselor where you will have a chance to talk about the procedure and raise any questions or concerns you may have. On day two the doctor will safely empty your uterus using gentle suction and medical tools. If you choose to, and if there are no medical contraindications, you will have deep sedation for a surgical abortion which will put you completely asleep during the procedure so you will not feel any pain. The procedure takes only 5-20 minutes, depending on how far along in pregnancy you are, but you should plan on being at Choices for several hours to include pre-operative preparation and recovery.

What is a D&C?

Dilation and Curettage (D&C) is a brief, safe surgical procedure to open the cervix and empty the contents of the uterus, usually using suction (vacuum aspiration). It is the most common method for treating early miscarriage as well as the preferred method of abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Does a doctor perform the procedure?

Yes. All our doctors are licensed by the State of New York and specialize in pregnancy termination.

Does getting an abortion hurt?

Your comfort and wellbeing are very important. If you choose to, and if there are no medical contraindications, you will have deep sedation for a surgical abortion which will put you completely asleep during the procedure so you will not feel any pain. After the procedure you may experience cramping, which can range from mild to moderate. In most cases Extra Strength Tylenol, Aleve or Motrin will relieve the cramping. If the cramping is not relieved with these remedies, you should call us immediately.

If for personal or medical reasons you need local anesthesia (a lidocaine injection), you will experience moderate to severe cramping during the procedure, but recovery time afterwards will be shorter.

How long will I be in deep sedation?

You will be asleep for 5-20 minutes, depending on whether the procedure is performed in the first or second trimester.

How will I feel after my surgical abortion?

Most patients experience some cramping that can be relieved by over-the-counter medications such as Extra Strength Tylenol or Advil. If that does not help, we ask the patient to call our 24-hour emergency number. You may take a shower after surgery. Do not take tub baths, douche, use tampons or have intercourse for two weeks. This is to prevent any risk of infection or a new pregnancy. Avoid any products that contain aspirin as aspirin promotes bleeding. Please see What To Expect After Your Procedure

How effective is surgical abortion?

In almost all cases, surgical abortion is completely effective. A small percentage of cases will require reaspiration if unusual bleeding occurs or if there is retained tissue.

How much does a surgical abortion cost?

If you choose to pay out of pocket, the cost will vary from $550 to $3000, depending on how far along you are in pregnancy. If you need help paying for your abortion, Choices can help you in several ways. You may qualify for Emergency Medicaid which covers pregnancy-related services, including both medical (“the pill”) and surgical abortions. We can help secure funds for you from a funding agency or organization that will cover the cost. We also can help you work out a reasonable self-pay plan. Please call 718-349-9100, Ext 520 to speak with a Choices financial counselor who can assist you in abortion funding related questions. For more information on financial help click here.

Can I have an abortion if I’ve had a C-Section for childbirth?

If you have had a C-Section, there are certain limitations for surgical abortions at Choices. If you are in your first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy, you cannot have an abortion at Choices if you have had more than 3 C-sections. If you are 13-17 weeks pregnant, you cannot have an abortion at Choices if you have had more than 2 C-sections. If you are 18-20 weeks, you cannot have an abortion at Choices if you have had more than 1 C-Section. If you are more than 20 weeks pregnant, you cannot have an abortion at Choices if you have had a C-Section.

I am afraid I won’t wake up after deep sedation. Can that happen?

The deep sedation anesthesia that we offer is safe, effective and short acting. You will be asleep from 5-20 minutes depending on the procedure. There is always some degree of risk with any anesthesia, but serious complications with deep sedation are very rare at Choices. Most complications occur when a patient has had food or liquid within 8 hours of surgery. Tell your Counselor and doctor if you have had prior complications with anesthesia, if you have any allergies to medicine, or if you have had anything to eat or drink within 8 hours prior to your surgery.

How long does it take to recover from an abortion? Can I return to work after my abortion?

The majority of our patients return to work or school the following day. Your Choices Social Worker and medical staff will explain the DO’s and DON’Ts after surgery, and the discharge nurse will provide you with after-care instructions that can be found here.

Can I bring someone with me? Can I take the subway or bus home?

We ask that your partner or another trusted adult over the age of 18 accompany you to Choices and take you home afterwards. Because of special health measures we have adopted to protect our patients from the Coronavirus, this person will not be able to come inside Choices with you. You will need to arrange to call them when you are ready to go home and have them pick you up. A special contact number will be provided to your escort the day of your appointment to check on your progress. What transportation is best for you and your escort to use to go home will depend on how you are feeling.

Will I have any psychological effects after my abortion?

Patients have many different feelings after having an abortion. This is very dependent your own psychology, reasons for the choice and support from family partners and friends While you are at Choices, all our staff strives to be as compassionate, empathetic and supportive as possible. Most women after their abortions state that they feel a sense of relief. Research studies have shown that there are no long term negative psychological effects from having an abortion. You will have a chance to talk through thoroughly any concerns or questions you may have with a Counselor before the procedure to help you decide if this is the right choice for you and your life.

How long do you bleed after surgical abortion?

In most cases the bleeding lasts for 2 to 3 weeks after the abortion. However, some patients do not experience any bleeding, and other patients have spotting or bleeding off and on. For more information see Choices After-Care instructions.

When will I have my next period?

Normally, your regular menstrual cycle will resume 4 to 8 weeks after the surgery.

How soon after an abortion can I get pregnant?

You will be able to get pregnant as soon as you ovulate again, about 12 to 16 days before you get your period. This means you will be able to get pregnant again within a few days of your abortion.

What if I do not get my period soon after the abortion?

It is important that you return for your 2-week post-operative check-up to make sure your recovery is going well. If you do not have a period in 8 weeks, please call us.

Can I use tampons after my abortion?

You should not use tampons for two weeks after your abortion. Sanitary napkins should be used to decrease the possibility of infection and to monitor the amount you are bleeding.

Can I do aerobic exercise after the abortion?

You should avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting (over 15 pounds) for two weeks after the procedure.

When can I have sex again after the abortion?

You should not have vaginal sex for two weeks after your procedure. When you return for your 2-week checkup, your doctor will advise if you can resume sexual intercourse. We recommend that you abstain from sexual activity for two weeks because after your procedure you are more susceptible to infection and becoming pregnant again.

Why can’t I eat before the abortion?

When deep sedation is administered, gag reflexes are temporarily suppressed. If food or liquid remain in the stomach, vomiting can occur and can cause suffocation.

What happens to the pregnancy that was removed from me during the abortion?

The tissue is sent to a licensed and accredited Laboratory for analysis and is disposed of in accordance with the mandates of State law.

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