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Empowering Women’s Health: Navigating Surgical Termination with Expertise
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October 31, 2023
Dr Hina

If you are pregnant and are considering an abortion, you’re not the only one. In fact, 1 in 3 UK women have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old. 

Navigating the abortion process can feel daunting. Whether you’ve made up your mind to end your pregnancy or you’re looking for support, it can be hard to find the help you need. Abortion is still a tricky topic and it can be difficult to open up to friends and family members. This can leave you feeling isolated and unsure what to do next.

In this article, we provide all the information you need about surgical pregnancy terminations so that you can feel empowered and supported to make the right choice for you.

What is a Surgical Pregnancy Termination?

The surgical termination of a pregnancy involves a minor operation where gentle suction is used to empty the womb of a pregnancy. It is suitable for most women. 

Surgical pregnancy terminations can be carried out while you are awake (under local anaesthetic) or asleep (under general anaesthetic). Whether you undergo the surgery while awake or asleep will depend on how far along you are in your pregnancy. 

What are the Risks Associated with Surgical Termination?

Surgical pregnancy terminations are typically very safe and when carried out in controlled, medical environments, they are generally successful. 

However, it is worth noting that every surgical procedure carries some risk. Although very small, the risks associated with surgical pregnancy terminations include:

The Faculty of Sexual Reproductive Healthcare states: “Currently, 45% of pregnancies and one third of births in England are unplanned or associated with feelings of ambivalence. Whilst teenagers remain the group at highest risk of unplanned pregnancy, increasing abortion rates for women over 30 and over 35 show that this is an issue for all ages.”

Whatever your age, navigating a pregnancy termination can be extremely difficult. Which is why it’s so important to seek expert support. 

Here at Gynae Doctors, we provide a warm and welcoming environment where you can share your feelings, discuss your options, and seek professional advice free from judgement. 

Our friendly staff understand the emotional and physical toll and abortion can take and they are here to provide the support you need as you navigate this challenging time.

Types of Surgical Termination in Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and considering an abortion, a surgical termination might be the best option for you (depending on how far along in your pregnancy you are). Let’s take a look at the differences between surgical termination methods.

Suction Aspiration (up to 12 weeks gestation)

The most common type of surgical pregnancy termination is called “suction aspiration” or “suction curettage”. This procedure is only available to women who are in their first 3 months or 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The Suction Aspiration Process

A suction aspiration abortion involves gradually widening your cervix using rods of increasing size. Once your cervix has been widened to the desired size, a slim tube is inserted into your uterus and the womb is emptied using gentle suction. 

Once the procedure is complete (this typically takes about 15 minutes), an instrument called a curette will be used to check your uterus is empty and to ensure the procedure has been effective. 

During this procedure, many women opt to have an intrauterine device (IUD) or contraceptive implant inserted to help prevent future pregnancies.

The Risks of the Suction Aspiration Process

As with any type of surgery, there are always risks. According to the NHS, the risks of the suction aspiration process include: 

Dilatation and Evacuation (from 13 to 24 weeks gestation)

For women further on in their pregnancies, the surgical termination procedure available is called “dilatation and evacuation”. This procedure is only available to women who are between 13 and 24 weeks of gestation.

Dilatation and evacuation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic or sedation. The procedure normally takes 10-20 minutes and most women are permitted to go home the same day.

The Dilatation and Evacuation Process

The dilatation and evacuation process is similar to the suction aspiration procedure, except that women may require a few extra steps to help soften their cervix, such as:

The Risks of the Dilatation and Evacuation Process

According to the NHS, the dilatation and evacuation process carries the following risks:

How Do I Choose the Right Termination Procedure for me?

It can be difficult to decide which termination option is right for you – especially if you don’t have anyone to talk to discuss your options with.

We are passionate about supporting women during this difficult time. Our qualified doctors will get to know you and your pregnancy before advising on the next steps. We assess how far along you are in your pregnancy, discuss your medical history, and provide expert guidance.

Whatever procedure you choose, you can change your mind at any point up to the start of the abortion. Whatever you decide, our team will be with you throughout the process.

What Happens After a Surgical Abortion?

You shouldn’t need to have any other tests or appointments after a surgical pregnancy termination. Some women may experience side effects from the medications or anaesthesia used during the abortion procedure. As these wear off, some women experience feelings of sickness or diarrhoea.

Whatever kind of abortion you have, it is common to experience stomach cramps and vaginal bleeding for a few days afterwards. These symptoms should be easily managed by taking ibuprofen or paracetamol to help alleviate any pain or discomfort.

Abortion After-care

After a surgical abortion, it is important to follow our experts’ advice on how to take care of yourself. By taking care of yourself properly you will reduce your risk of infection and promote faster healing. 

After a surgical pregnancy termination, we suggest doing the following for up to 2 weeks after your procedure:

As with most other surgeries, it is important for your recovery to take things slowly. This might mean taking some time off work and putting your feet up. While that may be frustrating, it’s important not to rush your recovery so that your body has the time it needs to heal.

When to Seek Medical Advice

After a surgical abortion there are things that can cause complications. Although rare, it is important to know when something’s not right so that you can seek medical advice. 

Get in touch with your GP or A&E if you experience any of the following:

Any of the above could be signs of infection and need to be dealt with immediately.

How Will I Feel After My Surgical Pregnancy Termination?

Women often ask us how they will feel after their abortion procedure. And the truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Everyone feels differently after a pregnancy termination. For some women, it can feel like a relief while for others it can be a very emotional time. 

According to Sheffield Teaching Hospital, “As individuals we cope with things in different ways and the same is true following an abortion. It is common for people to experience a wide range of emotions and everyone’s experience is unique. There is no right or wrong way to feel.” 

How you process your abortion journey is unique to you. Some women find they like to keep busy, while others need time to pause and reflect. However you process, take the time you need to do what’s right for you. Our experts will be with you every step of the way.


The decision to have an abortion can be an extremely difficult one, as can deciding on the best procedure for you. Here at Gynae Doctors, we aim to empower women in their health decisions. We hope this article will help you navigate your options with confidence.

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