Termination of Pregnancy: Surgical Abortion - before 12 weeks

Information about surgical abortion before 12 weeks.

According to Danish law surgical abortion can be performed if less than 12 weeks have passed since the first day of your last period. Here you can read about the procedure.

Billedet viser en sygeplejerske tale med en patient.

How is a surgical abortion performed?

The procedure is performed in general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep throughout the procedure. The pregnancy is removed from the womb through vacuum aspiration. The procedure itself lasts 5-10 minutes, and you should expect to be admitted to the hospital for a total of approximately 4 hours.

At the preliminary examination we will give you 2 tablets of Cytotec that you have to take before the procedure. You can take the tablets the night before or at least 3 hours before the procedure, and the purpose is to soften your cervix.

Blood type (only in case of abortion after 8 weeks)

If your blood type is Rhesus negative, you will need an injection to prevent the formation of Rhesus antibodies. Rhesus antibodies can cause complications in a following pregnancy.

If we know your blood type, and you are Rhesus negative, we will give you the injection during the surgical procedure.

If we do not know your blood type at the time of your appointment, we will call you if you are Rhesus negative. In that case you will have to come to the Gynecological Outpatient clinic and get the injection. You have to get the injection within 72 hours after the abortion.

Fast and Guidelines before the procedure

Because of the anesthetics you have to follow the following guidelines before surgical abortion:

  • You may not eat after midnight the day before the procedure
  • You may drink water, coffee or tea (without milk) until two hours before the appointment
  • You may not drink juice, milk or soft drinks
  • You may not chew gum or eat pastilles
  • You may not wear make up, nail pulish, jewelery or contact linses during the procedure – you may, however, wear glasses
  • If you do not follow the guidelines above the procedure will be cancelled.

After a surgical abortion:

After the abortion it is normal to bleed and feel pain like during a normal period. Some have spotting a few days or up to a week after the procedure.

Normal menstrual bleeding will return 6-8 weeks after an abortion.

If you plan to commence taking p-pills, you should take the first pill the same day as the abortion. If you take the first pill later than that, you will not be protected during the first month.

If you experience pain, you can treat it with over the counter pain medication. If the pain is too intense you should see a doctor.

We recommend that you:

  • Do not bathe in a tub, swim in the sea or a swimming pool as long as you are bleeding
  • Avoid intercourse without a condom, as long as you are bleeding
  • Use sanitary towels instead of tampons
  • See a doctor in case of heavy bleeding, foul smelling discharge or fever

A surgical abortion does not affect your chances of becoming pregnant again.

Possible complications

The overall risk of complications after the procedure is 3-5%. The risks are bleeding and/or infection. If the symptoms are caused by bacteria antibiotic treatment may be necessary.

Useful information:

  • The procedure will take place in The Day Surgery Unit 141, center 1
  • Take a shower in the morning before the procedure - clean skin minimizes the risk of infection.
  • When you arrive at The Day Surgery Unit go to the counter. There you will get a locker where you can leave your belongings.
  • In the operation theater a nurse from the department of anesthetics will meet you. The nurse will place a drip in your arm, and will stay with you throughout the procedure. The doctor who is performing the procedure will also be there to identify you before you go to sleep.
  • After the procedure you will be taken to The Recovery Room, where you will stay until you are fully awake. After that you can go home. Someone has to stay with you for the first 24 hours after the procedure, and you cannot drive a vehicle for the same amount of time.

If you are prevented from showing up please call The Day Surgery Unit 38 62 10 39 as soon as possible. If complications arise, or if you have any questions that cannot wait until the day of the procedure you can call the Gynecological Department 38 62 31 91.