Woman's Health Options

Abortion Services

What to Expect at the Clinic

Women are welcome to bring support people to the clinic and they can be present during the abortion procedure to provide added support and comfort. Most appointments will take about 3 to 4 hours although most procedures are no longer than ten minutes; therefore children are not encouraged to accompany women.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons requires that the patient have an escort home from our clinic after their abortion procedure due to the medications received. You may take the bus, a cab or be driven but you must have a person with you during the trip home.

Driving Miss Daisy is a personal driver service that you can arrange an escorted ride home with.

Driving Miss Daisy requires several days notice to arrange a ride. Please call them as soon as you book and know the date of your appointment, then call them again when you confirm with us and tell them the time of your appointment. Please call  1-877-613-2479 to book with them.

Click here to go to their website

Note: The medication abortion is NOT the abortion pill (RU-486/Mifeprex).  This method is not available in Canada.

All Medical Abortions need to scheduled by phone as there are criteria that to be met in order to qualify for this type of procedure.  Please call 780-484-1124 to book.

Medication abortions can be performed up to 7 weeks gestation. The process can be finished as soon as one week and can take up to three weeks to be completed. Medication abortions require at least two visits to the clinic. Women must stop taking folic acid and eating leafy greens, nuts and peanut butter once booking the appointment until the process is completed; folic acid promotes pregnancy growth.

A woman meets with a counselor on day 1 to discuss concerns and sign consent forms. A vaginal ultrasound is then performed to confirm the gestation of the pregnancy. A doctor will then complete a medical history to ensure that a woman is a good medical candidate for the procedure; women with liver conditions or other health concerns may not be able to have a medication abortion. After the medical history a woman takes a methotrexate pill, which stops the growth of the pregnancy. Most women feel nothing after taking the methotrexate but some may get nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills and fever.

Four days after the first appointment (day 5) a woman inserts misoprostol (cytotec) tablets into her vagina. This will cause the pregnancy to pass and is similar to a miscarriage. Some women can have painful cramps with lots of bleeding, where as, other women might have minimal cramps with less bleeding.

 

On day 6 a woman inserts a second dose of misoprostol to ensure all of the tissue passes. Some women may have no bleeding after inserting the second dose, where as, other women might have more bleeding with the second dose.

On day 8 (one week after the initial appointment) a woman will have her second appointment to have another vaginal ultrasound to ensure that all the tissue has passed. If the tissue has not completely passed you will review your options with the doctor; all women must consent to a surgical procedure if the medication does not work.

It is important to be aware that once as woman takes the Methotrexate she cannot change her mind as the medication will affect the fetus.

It is extremely important that all women show up at all follow up appointments; the medication used for the abortion can cause birth defects if the pregnancy continues to grow.

The medication abortion has limited availability and not all women requesting this specific procedure will be able to book an appointment; if so, a surgical abortion will be available.

If you are not sure if the medication procedure is right for you see the following link:

Abortion: Which Procedure is Right for me?

 

Surgical Abortion

It is expected that women DO NOT EAT OR DRINK six hours prior to the procedure; this includes gum and water. Women are not able to drive for 24 hours after the procedure, therefore women must make arrangements to have someone pick them up at the clinic.

When arriving at the clinic women will read information about the abortion procedure, risks associated with the procedure, and confidentiality and collection of information. Women then complete a medical history form. All women meet with a counselor prior to the procedure to ask questions, review concerns, and sign consent forms. All counselors are registered social workers and are trained specificlly to work in an abortion clinic.

After signing consent forms women will then meet with a nurse to have an ultrasound. The ultrasound is done to determine the size of the pregnancy tissue and position of the uterus. Once the ultrasound is completed women are offered an anti-anxiety medication to take orally while they wait to see the doctor.

Before the procedure an IV is inserted to provide medications that will ensure a comfortable procedure. Women are not put to sleep during the procedure but will feel very drowsy. Prior to the procedure the doctor will do a pelvic exam (the doctor places a glove on his or her hand and inserts one finger into the vagina) to determine the size and position of the uterus. Once the exam is complete a speculum (the instrument used for pap exams) is inserted into the vagina to allow the doctor to see the cervix (the opening of the uterus). The doctor will then freeze the cervix with a local anesthetic; this may cause a small amount of cramping or pinching.

5 to 12 weeks - The doctor will first gently dilate (open) the cervix to gain access to the uterus; this may result in slight pressure and cramping. Once the cervix is open the doctor will empty the pregnancy tissue with a tube connected to a suction pump; a woman can feel minimal to heavy cramping as the uterus contracts and gets smaller. The doctor will then clean the walls of the uterus to ensure all the tissue is removed and a final suction is done. The procedure should take no more than 10 minutes.

12 to 16 weeks - The surgical procedure is performed exactly as above. However, a woman will insert Misoprostol (cytotec) pills into her vagina to soften the cervix, which makes dilation easier. A woman will wait for one hour with the pills inserted prior to the procedure; the pills may cause some cramps as the cervix softens.

16 to 20 weeks - A woman that is 16 weeks pregnant, but not more than 20 weeks requires a two day procedure called a D & E (dilation and evacuation). If a woman lives more than an hour out of town she is required to stay in Edmonton overnight. The first day consists of counseling, ultrasound, and preparing the cervix for dilation. The doctor will do a pelvic exam first, freeze the cervix, and then insert tiny sticks, called laminaria, into the cervix. The laminaria sticks are left in overnight and they absorb moisture from the body to expand. Some women might have bleeding and cramping overnight, however, medication is provided to ensure comfort.

The next day women are given Misoprostol (cytotec) pills to insert into the vagina to soften the cervix to make dilation easier; women usually wait for one hour with the pills inserted. Before the procedure an IV is inserted to provide medications that will ensure a comfortable procedure. Women are not put to sleep during the procedure but will feel very drowsy. The doctor will then remove the pregnancy tissue and use the suction technique to ensure all the tissue is removed. This procedure can take up to 20 minutes.

For individuals or other organizations,  here is a link to our clinic brochure outlining our services. Please print off for your own use and distribution.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact a clinic counselor at counselor@whol.ca