How Long Does a Surgical Abortion Take?

When considering abortion, it is common to have questions about the procedure. The amount of time a surgical abortion takes can change based on how far along the pregnancy is; as pregnancy progresses, more involved procedures that take longer are utilized for termination. 

Most surgical abortions take under an hour for the procedure. However, the visit can take a few hours to complete paperwork beforehand and stay in recovery for about an hour after.

What Is a Surgical Abortion?

A surgical abortion is a procedure performed in a medical setting. The provider uses rods to dilate and hold the cervix open. Suction is used to remove the pregnancy from the woman’s uterus. Depending on how far along the pregnancy is, usually pregnancies over 12 weeks, additional surgical tools may be used to scrape and scoop the embryo and tissues out of the uterus.

Does a Surgical Abortion Have Risks?

Just like other medical procedures, abortion carries risks. Risks of surgical abortions can include:

Perforation of the uterus


Abnormal bleeding

Damage/injury to the cervix

Before an Abortion

If you think you are pregnant, your first step is pregnancy testing and confirmation via ultrasound. Even if you plan to terminate your pregnancy, an ultrasound is recommended before the procedure to ensure your safety. An ultrasound offers crucial information about your pregnancy to determine the appropriate procedure for you:

  • Confirmation: The ultrasound will show if the pregnancy is viable (healthy and growing). Up to 20% of pregnancies end in natural miscarriage. If you are miscarrying, you can still have a positive pregnancy test for weeks after. This step can keep you from an unnecessary procedure since many miscarriages will pass on their own.
  • Date: The abortion procedure recommended relies greatly on how far along your pregnancy is. For example, the FDA has only approved the abortion pill for up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. 
  • Location: When an embryo implants outside the uterus, it results in what is called ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition. An ectopic pregnancy will require immediate medical intervention to resolve. Abortion is not an appropriate treatment for this condition, so it is essential to diagnose it before an abortion.

Gathering the facts about abortion can help you feel more confident about your decision. Contact Ivy Women’s Center to schedule a no-cost appointment. Get the facts you’re looking for in a caring, judgment-free environment. We offer pregnancy testing and ultrasounds free of charge, so you can have all the information you need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *