Second Trimester Abortion
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Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
Most second trimester abortions (13 weeks to 22 weeks) are done by dilation and evacuation. Before this procedure, the doctor will prepare the cervix by stretching and softening it, and it might take more than one visit. This is done to avoid tearing of the cervix. Most women will experience some pain with this procedure and you may be given pain medicine beforehand. Your doctor will discuss your options, and any risks, for anesthesia.
At the beginning of the procedure, the doctor will remove the fluid surrounding the baby will be removed with a suction device placed into the uterus. The baby and placenta are removed from the uterus using surgical instruments. After 14 weeks, the baby may, placenta and other parts may be removed piece by piece. The procedure ends with a suction device being inserted into the uterus to remove any remaining fetal tissue.
Possible complications include:
- Death, in rare cases
- Cervical laceration
- Hemorrhaging (heavy bleeding) and possible blood transfusions or surgery to stop the bleeding
- Perforation of the uterus (a hole in the uterus).
- Failure to remove all parts of the baby and other tissue, including the placenta, may require a follow-up surgical procedure.
- Injury to the bowel or bladder, if there is a perforation of the uterus
- Abdominal incision and operation to correct injury
- Increased risk of infertility (the inability to have a baby) may result if complications occur with the procedure
- Increased risk of infertility
If you are experiencing a medical emergency please call 9-1-1.
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