Anesthesia For Surgical Abortions
Both first and second trimester surgical abortions can be performed with various types of anesthesia – local anesthesia, IV sedation, and general anesthesia. At Atlanta Women’s Center, we offer local and IV sedation. These methods can help to control pain and discomfort during the procedure – each will have benefits and drawbacks. The doctor and medical staff will help you decide which method is best for you. While either local or IV sedation is appropriate for a 1st trimester procedure, our physicians feel that after 12 weeks in a pregnancy, IV sedation is most appropriate and do not offer local anesthesia past that point in pregnancy.
If your procedure is performed with local anesthesia you will be awake and conscious, and will be able to see, hear and feel during the procedure. Your physician will inject an anesthetic into your cervix. This medication will relax your cervix, but you will still experience cramping and discomfort during the procedure. Because everyone is different, some women will describe the procedure as uncomfortable while others will say that it is painful. Ibuprofen is offered after the surgery to ease cramping and discomfort.
Choosing local anesthesia allows you to come to the clinic on your own. You will be able to drive or take public transportation without an escort to ensure your safety. Local anesthetic will also help you avoid some of the side effects of IV sedation medicines, like nausea and drowsiness.
If your procedure is performed under IV sedation, you will not see, hear or feel any part of the surgery, and you will not remember anything about the surgery afterwards. This type of anesthesia is administered through an IV. While this is a great method for women who wish to decrease pain, it is not appropriate for all women. The Center’s medical staff will talk with you about your medical history to ensure that you are able to have IV sedation safely. IV sedation can sometimes cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and feeling cold, and it takes longer to leave your system than a local anesthetic. You might feel drowsy for several hours or even a whole day after your surgery.
If you choose IV sedation, you will be required to have a friend or family member escort you to and from the Center because you will not be able to drive or take public transportation on your own after your procedure.