An abortion procedure, also known as “surgical abortion” or “in-clinic abortion”, is a safe, fast and effective abortion method performed right in our office.
Healthy Futures’ team of physicians offer procedural abortions into the second trimester, up to 22 weeks in pregnancy. The procedure is very fast and takes just a few minutes to perform. Comfort is our priority and IV conscious sedation is included in the cost of the procedure for all our patients receiving a surgical abortion.
Many women prefer an abortion procedure because it is fast, very effective and generally results in less bleeding at home.
What to Expect
First you will speak with our staff to review your medical history and make sure you are eligible to have a surgical abortion procedure in our office. We generally have appointments available within a few days. When you come to your appointment you will need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment because you will be receiving medications that impair your ability to drive for 24 hours.
At your appointment you will receive an ultrasound to determine how far along you are in your pregnancy. You will have your blood type checked if you are 12 weeks or more into your pregnancy.
Rhogam is given for an additional cost if you are Rh negative blood type. You will be given an antibiotic prior to the procedure to help prevent infection. Next you will have an IV placed and medications administered to help with relaxation and discomfort.
In the first trimester of pregnancy, we perform a procedure called dilation and aspiration to complete the abortion. Our trained physicians use a quiet handheld device to perform the abortion.
In the second trimester of pregnancy, we may also use instruments and a machine under ultrasound guidance to safely perform the abortion. Abortion procedures for pregnancies under 16 weeks are usually performed in one day.
Abortion procedures for pregnancies 16-22 weeks usually require a multiple day process to safely perform the procedure. After your procedure you will be monitored for a period of time to ensure safety and comfort.
How do I decide if a surgical abortion procedure is the right option for me?
It is up to you to decide which option works best for you. Many patients may prefer a surgical abortion procedure because it is 99% effective, they receive IV medications to help with discomfort, and the procedure is over in a few minutes.
Bleeding is also generally less following a procedural abortion. Other patients may prefer an abortion pill because they want to pass the pregnancy in the privacy and comfort of their own home near loved ones. The decision is a personal choice and they are both safe and effective options for having an abortion.
Call us today and we can walk you through the options in more detail and answer any questions you might have.
How long will I be at the clinic?
For a surgical abortion procedure, you should expect to be in the clinic between 3 to 5 hours. Procedures later in pregnancy will take closer to 5 hours.
The procedure is short but the paperwork, ultrasound, labs and recovery take additional time. Patients between 13 and 15 weeks in pregnancy are required to take medication to help soften the cervix the same day as their abortion and that process takes roughly 2 hours.
How do I know if my procedure will be more than 1 day?
Generally, for patients under 16 weeks in their pregnancy (from first day of last menstrual period) we can perform the surgical abortion the same day.
If patients are 13 to 15 weeks in their pregnancy, they will be required to take 3 pills in the office called misoprostol to help soften and open the cervix and will have to wait 2 hours after taking those prior to their procedure.
If patients are 16 weeks to 18 weeks in their pregnancy, they will need a combination of medications and/or laminaria overnight to help soften and open the cervix. You will return the next morning for the procedure.
For patients between 18 and 22 weeks they may require 2 consecutive days of placement of laminaria to dilate the cervix and then return on day 3 for the procedure. You will be counseled in detail following your ultrasound to discuss what the most ideal process is for you.
How safe is the surgical abortion procedure?
Abortion is a very safe procedure when performed by Healthy Futures’ highly skilled providers. Our physicians have performed thousands of procedures and our rate of complications rates are very low.
The abortion procedure is 99% successful at ending the pregnancy. An uncomplicated abortion carries no long-term risk of infertility, ectopic pregnancy, or birth defects. There is no association between abortion and breast cancer.
At Healthy Futures our complication rates are less than 1% for abortions in the first trimester and less than 2% for abortions in the second trimester. Most minor complications are managed in the office.
What conditions might make me not eligible for an abortion procedure at Healthy Futures?
You might not be a candidate for abortion at Healthy Futures if any of the following conditions apply:
- Pregnancy more than 22 weeks
- Pregnancy outside of your uterus (ectopic pregnancy)
- Take medication to thin your blood
- Have a bleeding disorder
- Have uncontrolled asthma, hypertension, severe anemia or heart disease
- Placenta accreta (placenta is embedded in your c-section scar)
- Obesity with BMI >50
- Any other medical condition that your doctor feels would put you at risk
Can I have an abortion procedure if I’ve had a Cesarean Section (C-Section)?
Yes, however, if you are more than 13 weeks in your pregnancy and had a prior Cesarean Section delivery you may be required to have a formal ultrasound done outside of our clinic to evaluate the location of your placenta and make sure it is not embedded in the C-Section scar (also called placenta accreta).
Does the procedure hurt?
The procedure feels like strong cramping but the procedure is generally over in just a few minutes. We believe strongly in patient comfort and that is why we include IV medications with your procedure at no additional cost. Many patients report little to no cramping or discomfort with the medications we use.
Do you use a loud machine?
We use a machine to assist with surgical abortion procedures over 12 weeks in pregnancy. The machine makes a low hum and some intermittent air exchange noises but is very quiet.
Will I be awake?
At Healthy Futures we give IV medications to all patients who have surgical abortion procedures. You will be awake but these medications will make you feel relaxed and decrease discomfort. Our team closely monitors your vital signs during the process to ensure safety. We do not use deep sedation or put you to sleep completely.
Who will be performing my procedure?
Our team of high specialized physicians are board certified and licensed in the state of Colorado. You will have the option to see a female physician if that is your preference.
Do I need to have a driver?
Yes, you must have someone drive you home from the surgical abortion procedure. You cannot drive yourself for 24 hours after your procedure due to the medications you receive. Your driver will be required to check in and remain near the facility for the entire appointment.
How should I prepare for my visit?
- You should be hydrated and have a small light breakfast before you come.
- You should wear comfortable clothing and larger underwear to fit a pad. We will provide a pad the day of your procedure but you should plan to have extra pads at home.
- Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
- Please take any prescription medications you usually take as prescribed the day of your appointment unless advised otherwise.
- Check in with your driver at the front desk at your appointment time. You will need a valid ID with you when you check in.
- You will also need a valid form of payment (cash, credit card or apple pay).
- Bring a book or something to read during periods of the day you may be waiting.
What if I am Rh negative blood type?
We offer RhoGAM for patients who are Rh negative for an additional cost. It is required to receive RhoGAM injections if your blood type is Rh Negative and you are at or above 12 weeks in your pregnancy.
We do not do blood type testing if you are less than 12 weeks in your pregnancy and do not require RhoGAM injections for patients under 12 weeks in their pregnancy known to be Rh negative.
Patients under 12 weeks may still elect to receive RhoGAM if they choose. This is following the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on abortion care.
What happens to the pregnancy tissue?
We follow Colorado state laws regarding proper disposal of pregnancy tissue. You may not take pregnancy tissue home with you.
If you desire funeral or cremation services, contact a funeral home and they will pick up the pregnancy tissue from our office directly.
What medications will I go home with?
After a surgical abortion procedure, you may experience cramping and nausea. We provide prescription ibuprofen for cramping and ondansetron for nausea from our clinic for a small fee or a prescription can be sent to a local pharmacy. In certain circumstances patients may be given stronger medications for pain as needed.
When can I return to normal activities?
Most patients feel much better within 1-2 days after their abortion. Cramping can continue off and on for a couple weeks and bleeding can continue off and on for 3-5 weeks.
We recommend you return to your normal activities right away but avoid vigorous exercise or activities for the first week because it can increase cramping and bleeding. Listen to your body and if something bothers you don’t do it.
Resuming sexual activity is a personal choice and you should decide when the time if right for you. We recommend no sexual intercourse for at least the first week after a first trimester abortion procedure and two weeks after a second trimester abortion procedure.
How long will I be bleeding for?
Bleeding after a surgical abortion procedure is variable. Some women have only light intermittent bleeding following the procedure while other women have bleeding heavier than a period and may pass some blood clots.
If you are ever filling a large pad every 30 minutes for multiple pads in a row or passing clots larger than the size of a lemon you will have the provider’s direct cell phone number to call. You should start with pads but you may wear tampons after 1-2 days following a first trimester abortion and we recommend waiting 2 weeks to use tampons for a second trimester abortion.
You may continue to have light intermittent bleeding for 3-5 weeks after your abortion pill. Your period will come usually 3 to 5 weeks after your abortion but might look different.
Your first 3 menstrual cycles may be irregular and appear different in color, flow or number of days than you are used to.
How will I know the procedure worked?
The abortion procedure is over 99% effective at ending a pregnancy. You should leave the clinic assured you are not pregnant.
If there is any doubt you will be notified prior to leaving the clinic and may require follow up lab work or visits. We recommend that all patients perform an at home pregnancy test at 5 weeks after their abortion to make sure it is negative. It can take up to 6 weeks for the BHCG (pregnancy hormone) to drop low enough for the urine pregnancy test to be negative.
Do you have protestors?
We are a discreet locally based clinic and it is rare for us to have protestors outside of our building.
Can I have someone in the room with me during the procedure?
Unfortunately, due to the safety and privacy of our patients we do not allow patients to have support people with them for their procedures.
Your driver will check in at the beginning of your appointment and then be asked to wait outside or nearby for the duration of the appointment and return when you are ready to be picked up.
When can I start birth control again?
You can get pregnant as soon as 2 weeks after your abortion, before your first period, so it is important to consider birth control options.
You can start birth control pills, vaginal ring, or patches the day after your abortion and our providers can send in a prescription to your pharmacy.
If you would like Depo-Provera injection, IUD or Nexplanon the same day as your procedure, inquire with our clinic to verify your insurance covers this cost or what the self-pay cost is. Our providers can put in IUDs, Nexplanon or administer Depo the same day as your procedure. If you opt to get Depo, an IUD or a Nexplanon outside of Healthy Futures, it is common that they may require a negative pregnancy test before offering these options.
What if I am under 18 years of age?
If you are under 18 years of age on the day of your abortion you can still get an abortion. While your parent does not need to give consent for the abortion there are laws in Colorado regarding notification that we need to follow. There are four options for getting an abortion in Colorado under age 18.
- You can bring a parent or legal guardian to your appointment and bring proper documentation to show they are a parent or legal guardian.
- We can follow the “Colorado Parental Notification Act”, passed in 2003, that requires the healthcare provider to notify the parent or legal guardian of a minor’s scheduled abortion. The notification letter must be sent via certified mail to the parent or guardian at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled abortion.
- Present documentation of legal emancipation.
- Judicial bypass program. This is a process in which a judge reviews the case and determines if a minor can proceed with an abortion without parental notification. We have access to lawyers that provide counsel for this service at little or no cost to you.
Please call the office if you are interested in the judicial bypass option.
What do the fees I pay cover?
The fee you pay for the surgical abortion procedure covers unlimited ultrasounds, blood type testing, hematocrit testing, urine pregnancy testing if indicated, IV medications, the surgical abortion procedure and any required follow up visits or procedures.
If you require blood tests to check your pregnancy hormone (BHCG) levels, there will be a charge.
If you are seen for the initial part of the appointment and then decide not to proceed with an abortion you will be charged $150 for the initial work up, ultrasound and evaluation.
If you change your mind and return, that amount will go towards the cost of your abortion procedure.
Who do I call if I need assistance?
You can call the clinic at 303-991-7700 for questions or to reach a provider. You will also be given the direct cell phone number of a Healthy Futures’ physician to contact in case of emergency.
We are here to support you with any issues that come up. Our entire staff is dedicated to your health.
Seeking Primary Care?
If you’re looking for a Primary Care Physician for your annual reproductive and/or Gyn needs you can learn more about the services we offer by visiting our Healthy Futures Primary Care website.