First Trimester Surgical Abortion

Also referred to as suction-aspiration, or vacuum-aspiration abortions

Gestational Age: 6 to 12 weeks

Typical Cost of First Trimester Surgical Abortion in Illinois: $450-$750

Procedure for a Surgical Abortion

  • The patient lies on her back with her feet in stirrups and a speculum is inserted in her vagina.
  • A local anesthetic (pain medication is used). Some sedation may be used if desired by the patient.
  • Tapered rods (candle-stick shaped) are used to gradually open the cervix rods. Local anesthetic may be administered.
  • A cannula (a thin, hollow tube connected to a suction device) is inserted through the cervix into the uterus to suction out the baby and placenta.
  • The procedure usually lasts 15-20 minutes, but in-clinic recovery may take a few hours.1

The surgical abortion procedure usually requires only one office visit. Vacuum- or suction-aspiration is approximately 99% effective.


A surgical abortion is generally a very safe procedure. However, signs of complications from a surgical abortion include:

  • Soaking more than two large pads in an hour for 2 hours in a row
  • Heavy bleeding lasting more than 12 hours
  • Passing any clots larger than a golf ball
  • Development of a fever greater than 100.40 F

Side Effects

Common side effects from a surgical abortion include:

  • Irregular bleeding or spotting
  • Heavy uterine cramping
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Feeling faint

Less common but more serious complications may include:

  • Damage to the cervix
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Infection due to retained products of conception or infection caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or bacteria being introduced to the uterus can cause fever, pain, abdominal tenderness and possibly scarring.
  • Death

Fetal Development by 12 Weeks

The following describes some of the developmental steps of the fetus during the time frame when a woman is eligible for a first trimester surgical abortion. 2

  • Week 8 Facial features are becoming more distinct: eyes, ears, nose, lips. The body is losing the C-shape and becoming straighter.
  • Week 10 Finger and toes clearly defined. Eyes are open. The brain continues to develop with neural connections forming.
  • Week 12 Kidneys are starting to produce urine. Teeth and fingernails are forming.

Are you considering having a surgical abortion? Schedule an appointment for a free Pre-Termination Evaluation at White Oak Women’s Center to find out what abortion procedure you qualify for.

More Information about Abortion



  1. National Abortion Federation. (n.d.). Abortion Facts. Retrieved from
  2. Pregnancy Timeline: Fetal Development Tool with Weekly Pictures of Your Growing Belly and Baby by WebMD. (n.d.). Retrieved from