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There are several reasons why women terminate pregnancies in the second trimester. Many patients are referred to our office because there is something wrong with the fetus and terminating the pregnancy is in the best interest of the patient. Doctors refer their patients to us because they are confident that these patients will get supportive care in a nonjudgmental environment.
PBGS specializes in second trimester termination of pregnancy. In general, this procedure requires a two-day visit to our office. A second trimester surgical abortion is performed in a similar manner as a first trimester abortion. The patient’s cervix must be dilated, or opened, several hours or days prior to surgery. Since the dilation process is different for every woman, a second trimester abortion surgery may be performed on the same day as the dilation progress or up to one or two days after.
Our general protocol is that pregnancies between 14 weeks LMP and 20 weeks LMP will require a “Two-Day” second trimester procedure. Depending on your medical and pregnancy history, the physician may determine that for your safety a pregnancy earlier than 15 weeks will require a “Two-Day” procedure. Prior to starting any second trimester procedure, you will go through the procedural assessment as all other abortion patients.
Prior to second trimester abortion the cervix is dilated through the insertion of laminaria/lamicel insertion. Laminaria are made of sterilized seaweed and look like tiny tampons. Lamicel are similar, but made of synthetic material. If Laminaria or lamicel is necessary to complete dilation, they must be inserted into the patient’s cervix by the physician prior to the abortion procedure. The Laminaria/Lamicel acts like sponges by absorbing the moisture in the patient’s vagina and expanding to gently open the cervix. This method of dilation prevents damage to the cervix by mimicking the gradual manner in which the cervix opens naturally.
The physician will perform the surgical abortion after dilation of the cervix is complete, this may take several hours up to overnight. You will be escorted to the operating room, and the procedure will begin after the anesthesiologist administer anesthesia to completely sedate you.
Once you are asleep, the physician will perform the surgical abortion. In addition, an ultrasound will be used during the entire surgery to ensure both completion and safety of the procedure. The surgical procedure takes about 10-15 minutes. After surgery, you will be taken into the recovery room, where our staff will monitor you. All patients are encouraged to return to the office in two weeks for a follow-up visit and discussion of contraceptives.