Dilation and evacuation abortion

Dilation and evacuation abortion

There are different types of surgical abortion methods; the one that is best for you depends on your stage of pregnancy. One of the methods, depending on your stage of pregnancy, is called a dilation and evacuation (surgical) abortion.

  • If you’re 14 weeks +, then a surgical abortion will need to be performed.
  • Remember, in South Africa, if you’re over 20 weeks’ pregnant, it’s illegal to have an abortion. You’ll need to continue the pregnancy until full term and consider the options available to you, such as giving up your child for adoption. Speak to a professional counsellor or social worker to explain the possibilities in more detail.
  • If you’re over nine weeks but less than 14 weeks’ pregnant, an aspiration abortion is performed.

Dilation and evacuation abortion (14 to 20 weeks’ gestation)

You will be given a booking to be at the centre by 8h30 to 9h00. This is because the Doctor will have to do an assessment to check if you are eligible for process and to check the pregnancy stage. After this, a medication to help dilate the opening of the womb is administered. After 3 to 4 hours, an assessment is done to check if the medication has worked.

Once you are ready, the Doctor will administer an injection on the mouth of the womb for pain. The procedure is done by inserting specialized surgical instruments to remove the pregnancy inside the womb. This procedure is done through the vagina, there is NO cutting of the womb. The procedure may take up to 20 minutes, depending on your pregnancy stage.

After the procedure, you will be monitored at the centre for 2 hours until you are fit to be discharged.

Potential side effects and risks of dilation and evacuation abortion

Having an abortion at this stage of your pregnancy does carry certain risks and have potential side effects, but if you have the procedure performed at an accredited medical facility, the risks will be lessened significantly.

Common side effects

  • Bleeding
  • Cramping

Rare side effects

Be sure to seek medical attention immediately if you experience the following symptoms

  • Heavy or prolonged bleeding or blood clots
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina

What to expected of me after the procedure?

  1. Once the procedure is completed, if done undersedation, you may feel a bit groggy from the anaesthesia and experience a brief period of nausea and/or vomiting.
  1. Resuming daily activities should not be delayed, however, heavy exercise and sexual intercourse must be delayed until the bleeding has stopped
  1. Fertility returns immediately, but expect your normal period between 4 to 6 weeks
  1. Delay inserting anything vaginally (intercourse and tampons) until the bleeding stops to lessen risk of infection
  1. Follow up care is not necessary, however, should you need to consult your provider for any reason, please do so.

Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)



You can expect intermittent mild to severe cramps whether you choose the medical process (often called the abortion pill) or procedure (a minor same-day procedure). However, the pain can be managed by medication.

The cost of our services varies according to:

  • the location of the Marie Stopes centre you choose
  • the stage of your pregnancy
  • the method you choose (medical process or procedure)

Please contact us for more information.

Yes. Neither abortion method will prevent you from getting pregnant in the future.

  • The abortion pill is 98 – 99 percent effective.
  • The procedure is 99 percent effective.

Medical abortion (a method for pregnancies less than 9 weeks) is accomplished by using a combination of two medications that work together to terminate a pregnancy. The first pill stops your ovaries from producing the hormone, progesterone – which is needed for sustaining the pregnancy. The second pill (taken 24 to 48 hours after the first pill) causes cramping and bleeding, which results in your uterus being emptied.

The Abortion Procedure (a minor same-day surgical procedure) at a Marie Stopes clinic.   Surgical abortion is commonly performed in the first trimester, (up to 12 weeks’ gestation period) – it has a low risk when performed during this timeframe. The procedure can also be performed when you’re in your second trimester (up to 20 weeks). However, the surgery is more complicated if undergone at this point.

The most common after-abortion side effects include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sore breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Light vaginal bleeding

Emergency complications can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Excessive heavy bleeding
  • Strong-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Severe abdominal pain

My Story

If you are still unsure about abortion,  abortion side effects  and the options you have in this regard
please contact us on info@pregnancybychoice.co.za
and we will help guide and support you.

CONFIDENTIALITY. We guarantee your rights to confidentiality during your pregnancy.
All personal information submitted remains private and confidential.

Ask a question 

Your email address will remain confidential. Required fields are marked.

    [anr_nocaptcha g-recaptcha-response]

    By |2021-10-28T12:09:38+02:00July 11th, 2019|Safe Abortion, Surgical procedure|Comments Off on Dilation and evacuation abortion