I'd recommend surgical abortion under general anaesthetic at 6 weeks - it was over before I knew it

By anonymous on 29/04/2019
united kingdom surgical abortion abortion 6 weeks

It's been three days since I had a surgical (aspiration) abortion[1] on the NHS. My experience of the procedure was a positive one and I feel compelled to tell it to reassure women and girls who might find themselves in my position.

The worst part of the entire experience was the two weeks between booking the appointment and attending the clinic for the procedure. I tortured myself by reading horror stories. However, I have to say, none of my fears materialised.

[There are more links to stories organised by abortion type and stage of pregnancy on this page]

A surgical procedure under general anaesthesia

I am so glad I opted for the surgical procedure under general anaesthesia (I was 6 weeks so could have chosen either procedure) - it was relatively pain-free and over within a few hours.

The waiting room was full which I found comforting

I arrived at the clinic around 8:30 am and was quickly seen by a variety of nurses who were all extremely kind and non-judgemental. When I arrived the clinic waiting room was full of women and girls waiting to be seen and many more arrived throughout the day. I found this comforting in a way that there were many others in the same position as me.

Pre-abortion checks

After having my vaginal scan (no discomfort), having my weight and height taken, and speaking to a doctor, I was taken to the ward. I was asked to change into a gown and waited in a room with a TV before being called by a nurse to go down to theatre.

The procedure was over before I knew it

Both the doctor and anaesthetist were male but very calm and lovely. When I entered the operating room, I had no time to be nervous - everything moved so fast - I would say I was asleep within 2 minutes of being put onto the operating bed. It was over before I knew it.

The last thing I remember is the doctors administering the anaesthesia into my hand, then I was being woken up by a nurse in a bed around 20 minutes later. I do not even remember being put into stirrups (I had read from other women's experiences that this happens before the procedure).

Pre-abortion anxiety

I was very nervous about being put to sleep before arriving at the clinic, as it was my first time having any type of operation. So I was so relieved when the nurse woke me up and told me everything had gone well.

After the operation, I was taken to a recovery unit where I was given biscuits, a cup of tea, and some antibiotics to take to prevent infection. I sat here for around 15 minutes then was able to discharge myself - this was at about half past 1.

Only slight bleeding after the surgical abortion

I bled slightly on the day of the operation - something similar to a light day during a period. I also had some cramps whilst in the recovery ward but nothing too painful.

Since the day of the operation I have not had any pain or bleeding, however, I do know that this can be delayed for a few days post op. Pregnancy symptoms of fatigue and nausea seemed to disappear the day after the op.

I'd recommend surgical procedure under general anaesthesia

I would definitely recommend the surgical procedure under general anaesthesia - cannot thank the staff at the clinic enough! Of course, every woman will have a different experience but I just wanted to share mine in case it helps someone.

Terms mentioned in this story

Please note, sources will open in a new tab/window and take you away from the Pregnancy Choices Directory website.

  1. Surgical Abortion

    Surgical abortion is a medical procedure to remove the pregnancy from the womb.

    There are three ways in which a woman may undergo the procedure: 
    Local anaesthetic (awake but things are numbed)
    Conscious sedation (awake but relaxed due to having been given a sedative)
    General anaesthetic (completely asleep).

    There are also two methods of carrying out a surgical abortion depending on the stage of pregnancy:
    Vacuum or suction aspiration where a tube is inserted through the entrance to the womb (the cervix) and on into the womb. The pregnancy is then removed through the tube using suction.
    Dilation and evacuation (D&E) where special instruments called forceps are inserted through the cervix and into the womb to remove the pregnancy.


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