Abortion Services

Abortion services at the Women's Health Centre (WHC) are accessed by self-referral. Please call 306-766-0586 or 1-800-563-9923 for an appointment. An intake will then be done over the phone. Please have your valid health card ready when you call.

An ultrasound appointment will first be made to confirm how far along in the pregnancy you are, followed by an appointment for a Nurse Counsel (pre-op visit) and sometimes an appointment with the Medical Social Worker. The nurse will talk to you about your medical history, your thoughts and feelings around the pregnancy, options for birth control (contraception) and explain what to expect depending whether you are having the medical or surgical abortion and will be sent to have blood work done. All information obtained is confidential and the staff at the WHC are here to support you.

Surgical Abortion

The surgical abortion is called a suction D&C (dilation and curettage). The procedure is usually done in one day, and is done using procedural sedation given through an IV, where you are awake, but sedated. On days that abortion services are offered, women can usually be seen into the 14th week of pregnancy and the procedure day is divided into two parts. Sometimes women can be seen in the 15th to 18th weeks of pregnancy, and the procedure is then divided into 2 days.  

Part One of Procedure Day

You will meet with a nurse at the start of your appointment. She will be the one providing medications during the procedure, so that you are as comfortable as possible. She will make sure you had not eaten anything since midnight, make sure you remain firm in your decision, and ask you a few other questions.

You will then meet with the physician who will discuss your decision and have you sign the consent form. The doctor will also discuss birth control options and help you get established on the birth control you choose.

Following this discussion, the doctor will take your medical history and may do a physical exam. A laminaria (a small stick of compressed seaweed) may be inserted into your cervix. Laminaria absorbs fluid from around it, which causes it to swell. This swelling softens the cervix and begins to open it. This makes the procedure easier to perform and reduces the risk of damage to the cervix. The doctor instead may choose to give you a medication called misoprostol, either by mouth or in the vagina, instead of laminaria. The laminaria or misoprostol may cause you to have some cramping or bleeding.

Part Two of Procedure Day

Once the Laminaria or misoprostol has taken effect, the pregnancy is removed by suction D&C (dilitation and curettage) which means removal of the uterine lining. It is done under local anesthetic (freezing in the cervix) and medications to make you feel relaxed and comfortable through an intravenous.

The physician freezes the cervix then dilates it to the diameter of the suction curette, which is only millimeter's wide. Once the suction curette will fit through the cervix the suction is turned on. The physician will gently rotate it removing the tissue from the wall. The suction curette is removed and a metal curette is then used to ensure all tissue has been removed from the uterine wall. The uterus is then suctioned one more time. This part of the process takes six - 10 minutes, however you will be in the procedure room for about 30 minutes.

You will need to stay in the recovery room for about one hour before you are discharged to go home.

Aftercare

You may experience period-like cramps and bleeding for three to 10 days after the surgical procedure. If you are soaking a pad in an hour, three hours in a row, you need to seek out emergency care. You may have bleeding that starts and stops for up to three weeks followig the medical abortion. 

It is important not to put anything in the vagina while you are bleeding, including tampons and having intercourse, to reduce your risk of infection. If you have signs of infection such as foul smelling vaginal discharge, fever over 38 C (100.4 F), severe pain or cramps that are not getting better should access medical care. 

Coping

There is no right way to feel after an abortion. Most women report feeling relieved that it is over and confident that the abortion was their best decision. Most women do not report regret or severe emotional distress, but may feel sadness that the pregnancy occurred at the wrong time. Some women may have feelings of guilt or anger too.

Our Medical Social Worker offers post-abortion counseling for patients experiencing emotional difficulties after the abortion. If you feel it would be beneficial for you to talk to our Social Worker, please call the WHC at 306-766-0586 to make an appointment.

An online resource that may also be helpful  can be found by clicking here.  

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion is an abortion, caused by taking a medication called methotrexate rather than by a surgical suction procedure. Methotrexate has been found to be over 90% successful in causing an abortion when it is used in combination with a second drug called misoprostol. The misoprostol is taken three to seven days after the Methotrexate, either by mouth or by inserting the pills high up into the vagina. Bleeding and cramping usually begins within a few hours of taking the misoprostol, and can be quite heavy and uncomfortable. Sometimes the abortion does not start to happen that day and you may need to insert more medication, as directed by the WHC staff, to try again the next day.

Who is suitable to have a medical abortion?

You must be no more than 49 days (7 weeks) along in your pregnancy, on the date you take the methotrexate. You must be firm with your decision to terminate the pregnancy, in good general health, be able to fully understand the informed consent and be able to tolerate possible heavy bleeding, cramping and seeing the products of conception. You must be willing and able to avoid sex until the abortion is complete and must be willing to have a surgical abortion if the medical abortion is unsuccessful. You must have a working telephone, have access to transportation in case of emergency, and be willing to have follow-up bloodwork done, when told, possibly two three times in order to determine if the abortion is complete.
 
Advantages and Disadvantages of medical abortion

Advantages

  1. There is a greater than 85% chance of avoiding a surgical abortion.
  2. The pregnancy can be terminated as soon as there is a positive pregnancy test. This is earlier than the usual surgical abortion.
  3. Aborting the pregnancy at home provides more privacy in some cases.
  4. Medical abortion does not use instruments inside the uterus so if it is successful, there is no chance of causing damage to the uterus. 
 
Disadvantages

  1. There is a 10-15% chance the abortion will not be effective or complete and a surgical procedure will be needed.
  2. The abortion will take at least 1 week and may (very rarely) take as long as five weeks to complete.
  3. Vaginal bleeding may be prolonged and heavy and cramping can be quite uncomfortable.
  4. Medication side effects (less than 10%) such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, sore mouth, dizziness or rash may occur.
  5. The need for several clinic visits, blood tests and possibly ultrasounds.
  6. Uncertainty about whether the abortion was a success.
  7. Medical abortion appointments cannot always be accommodated at the Women's Health Center.
Primary Health Care. Learn More.

Primary Health Care is the everyday support for individuals and communities to better manage their own health.

Primary Health Care