A Patient’s Guide to Second Trimester Abortions
For women seeking an abortion between 12 and 26 weeks of pregnancy, medications are not an option. Second trimester abortions usually involve a surgical procedure and may require two or more visits to the clinic to complete. There are a few different methods that can be used for second trimester abortions. Your doctor will discuss the procedures with you and explain which is the best choice for your needs. Here is a look at what you can expect.
No matter which method of abortion your doctor chooses, it is necessary to dilate your cervix. To accomplish this, laminaria sticks are inserted gently into the cervix. The sticks are completely sterile and only used once. Because the laminaria sticks take time to work, you may be sent home and asked to return to the clinic the next morning. Some women experience cramping and nausea with the laminaria sticks. If you have intense pain, talk to your doctor.
For second trimester abortions, doctors almost always choose dilation and curettage (D&C) or dilation and evacuation (D&E) . D&Cs can generally be performed up to 16 weeks and use a curettage tool to complete the abortion. D&E is more commonly used during the second trimester and uses suction and grasping instruments. You will be given an option to have general anesthesia, conscious sedation, or local anesthesia.
After the Procedure
After the abortion, you may experience spotting for a few weeks. You may need medications for pain and to contract your uterus. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to become sexually active again. Your doctor will also discuss warning signs of complications or infections that you should report right away if you experience them.
At Washington Surgi-Clinic, we’re committed to providing access to safe abortions and care before and after the procedure to women in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Let us help you understand your options for your reproductive health, including answering your questions about birth control and abortion. Schedule an appointment at our women’s clinic today by calling (202) 683-7336.
Diagnosing HPV Infections
When you visit your gynecologist for your annual exam, the results of the Pap smear may be abnormal. This does not always indicate the presence of cancer, however. Sometimes, it may indicate a human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. An HPV infection can sometimes cause precancerous changes. If the Pap smear is abnormal, the physician may conduct further tests on the sample to confirm the presence of HPV.
Another way in which an HPV infection might be detected is through the presence of genital warts. If genital warts are not visible, the gynecologist may apply a vinegar solution, which will “highlight” any warts and lesions infected by HPV. Then, a biopsy from the genital warts may be sent to the lab for analysis. Another method of diagnosing HPV infections is with a DNA test, which is recommended for women 30 years and older. The DNA test is performed on cervical cells. However, it is not intended to be a replacement for your usual Pap smear. Your gynecologist may recommend that you have both tests.
Washington Surgi-Clinic, a full-service gynecology office in Washington, D.C., offers comprehensive sexual health diagnostics and treatments. Those in Maryland and Virginia can schedule an exam by calling (202) 683-7336.
Why Pap Smears Are So Important
All women who are sexually active and those who are 21 years of age and older should visit a gynecologist once per year for a checkup, including a breast exam and Pap smear. These exams are critical steps in safeguarding your health. While the breast exam checks for abnormalities that could indicate breast cancer, a Pap smear is a lab test of your cervical cells to check for gynecological cancer. By having these tests annually, you can facilitate the early detection of cancer, which could save your life.
You can watch this video to hear more about the importance of the annual visit to the gynecologist’s office. You’ll hear a doctor explain what you can expect during your visit and why an abnormal Pap smear is not necessarily cause for alarm.
At Washington Surgi-Clinic, you’ll find a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere with caring gynecologists who are committed to helping you safeguard your health . Women throughout Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. can call our women’s clinic at (202) 683-7336.
Advice for Talking to Your Partner About STDs
Many women follow preventive healthcare guidelines by visiting a gynecologist each year for an exam and Pap smear. Unfortunately, even when women are generally proactive about their health, it’s all too easy to avoid discussing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with a partner. Often, the question isn’t raised until after a partner begins to notice symptoms and schedules testing at a women’s clinic . If you’ve met a special someone and are anticipating intimacy, it’s best to discuss STDs sooner, rather than later.
Visit Your Gynecologist
If you’ve already been intimate with your partner or you’ve previously had sexual relations with someone else, it’s a good idea to visit your gynecologist. Ask to be tested for STDs. STD testing is easy, affordable, and confidential. After you’ve been tested, you can either share your clean bill of health with your partner or discuss how to keep your partner safe.
Ask a Direct Question
When it’s time to have the conversation with your partner, be open and direct about the issue. Instead of trying to hint that you’re curious about your partner’s sexual health, simply ask if he or she has ever been diagnosed with an STD. If your partner has had prior sexual relations and has never been tested for an STD, you can suggest that he or she get tested. Explain that you’ve been tested to ensure his or her sexual health and that you’d appreciate reciprocity.
Explain Your Health Issues
If your gynecologist did discover that you have an STD, be honest when explaining this to your partner. Explain that you’re undergoing treatment for the infection. Some STDs are curable, while others must be managed with medications.
Agree on Preventive Measures
Even if you’re on another form of birth control, gynecologists strongly recommend the use of condoms. Hormonal birth control such as the pill cannot prevent STD transmission, while condoms can. Explain to your partner that it’s important to you that condoms are used to protect the health of each partner .
Women throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia can find comprehensive gynecology and family planning services at Washington Surgi-Clinic. Our gynecologists offer affordable testing for STDs, including herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. If you wish to schedule an appointment at our women’s clinic, please call (202) 683-7336.
Understanding the Types of Abortion
Not all abortions require an invasive procedure. Sometimes, a pregnancy termination can be accomplished with medications, which is known as a medical abortion. The type of abortion you can have will depend on how far along in your pregnancy you are. A gynecologist at a women’s clinic can explain the type of abortion that may be right for you.
Medical abortions are sometimes called chemical abortions because they involve the use of pharmaceuticals, or medications. This type of abortion may be used during the first trimester, provided the pregnancy is less than six weeks along. The gynecologist will provide medications that prevent the pregnancy from growing further and will expel it during an event that is comparable to a miscarriage. Medical abortions have a high rate of success. They can be accomplished with a series of pills or with a single dose. If you choose a medical abortion, you can expect to pass tissue and to bleed in a manner that is similar to heavy menstruation. After this occurs, you’ll visit the gynecologist again to confirm the success of the abortion.
Suction Dilatation and Curettage (D&C)
If you are too far along in your pregnancy for a medical abortion or if you prefer a surgical abortion, your gynecologist can recommend a D&C if you are no further along than 12 weeks. The gynecologist will dilate the cervix and gently suction out the contents of your uterus.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
D&E is considered to be the safest method of abortion for women in their second trimesters, or between 12 and 26 weeks of pregnancy. A D&E may require more than one office visit. First, the gynecologist will gently insert disposable laminaria sticks to dilate the cervix. They may be left in place overnight. The next morning, the gynecologist completes the evacuation of the uterine contents.
Washington Surgi-Clinic is proud to serve women throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with safe, legal abortions, including chemical abortions and surgical abortions. Our gynecology and family planning services are very affordable and strictly confidential. If you have any questions about the services available at our women’s health clinic, call (202) 683-7336.
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