Surgical abortion

A surgical abortion is a minor procedure where the contents of the uterus are removed using a small tube. Normally, you will be given general anaesthesia. However, it can also be done with the aid of a local anaesthetic to numb the vagina. The procedure itself takes about ten minutes and everything is done in hospital.

Before an abortion
Once you have had your first appointment with a pre-examination at the hospital, you will be given a new appointment for the abortion. If you have never given birth, you will be given pills to be inserted into the vagina on the day of the abortion before you arrive at the hospital. These will soften the cervix.

During the abortion
The procedure itself takes about ten minutes. A tube is inserted into the vagina and the contents of the uterus are aspirated and removed before the uterine lining is gently scraped away. This is also known as “curettage”. You will remain under observation in the department for a few hours before going home. Should you have any pain following the procedure, you will be offered pain relieving medication.

After an abortion
After a surgical abortion, you will be able to go home the same day. It is important to talk to someone at the hospital if you feel you need more assistance later. You will have some bleeding for about a week, and you should avoid sexual intercourse for two weeks after an abortion, or for as long as you are bleeding. You will be given an information sheet from the hospital that explains what you should be looking for afterwards and how to contact the hospital with any questions or concerns. There are normally few side effects of a surgical abortion, and most such procedures are without complications. The most common symptoms afterwards are nausea and vomiting, due to the anaesthesia. Some may experience heavy bleeding and abdominal pain. The risk of infection is low. It is extremely rare for the procedure to fail to terminate the pregnancy. If your menstrual period does not return after four to six weeks, you should take a pregnancy test or contact your doctor to find out if you are still pregnant.

There are rarely any physical complications after an abortion, whether medical or surgical. However, it is important to contact the hospital if:

  • you are bleeding through more than six overnight menstrual pads in two hours
  • you have a fever
  • you have had pain for more than 14 days
  • you have heavy bleeding with clots for more than 14 days
  • you have been bleeding for more than four weeks

Do you need someone to talk to?
At Amathea, you will meet healthcare professionals with extensive experience in counselling on abortion and miscarriage, regardless of the type or when it occurred. We are a neutral healthcare service, have a duty of confidentiality, and can help you in your situation and in making your decision. You may come alone or together with your partner or co-parent.

All of our services are free of charge. We offer sessions in Norwegian and English. We can also book interpreters for other languages. A session here lasts about an hour, and you can talk with us on video, by phone, or at one of our offices. You decide how many sessions you need, and we will schedule these together.