Later AbortionLater abortion (pregnancies past 12 weeks to 24 weeks) is not as available as early abortion. Many providers only perform early abortion. The best way to have a later abortion is by Dilation and Evacuation (D&E). This technique has been perfected over the last decade and is by far the procedure of choice. Hopefully, older methods of later abortion (saline or prostaglandin infusion) are practically obsolete. Infusion methods require that a woman be injected with drugs to induce labor and expel the fetus. Not only is this more traumatic for the women, it carries much higher risk than D&E abortion.
D&E abortion (especially if you are over 15 weeks pregnant) should always be preceded by proper dilation of the cervix. The safest and least traumatic way to perform cervical dilation is to have laminaria (sterile seaweed sticks that expand overnight) inserted the day before the D&E procedure. You should also have a sonogram to make sure you physician knows exactly how far along you are. The sonogram and laminaria, followed by a D&E abortion will give you the safest, least traumatic way to end your pregnancy. At Women's Health Specialists, all of our later abortions are performed by the D&E method, using laminaria to dilate the cervix.
While later abortions are more technically difficult to perform, they are still a very safe procedure. There are some very skilled physicians that have performed many of these procedures. Many women have to travel to an urban area to find a provider.