Aspiration Abortion Procedure

What to Expect

Find more information about abortion preparation, abortion procedure and aftercare.

Contact Everywoman’s Health to book an appointment, to discuss your decision with a counsellor or to book a follow up appointment. Counselling sessions are free of charge and can be in person or over the telephone.

Before Abortion



Here are the instructions you need before your aspiration (surgical) abortion appointment


For 2 hour before, do not drink

For 6 hours before, do not eat

For 12 hours before, do not use marijuana

For 24 hours before, do not: drink alcohol, use cocaine, or take Aspirin or any other drug containing ASA

For 3 days before, do not take Amphetamines and other street drugs

If you are a regular heroin user please limit your intake to a minimum maintenance dose only

On the day of your appointment do not take suboxone


Have a bath or shower before coming to your appointment

Bring 2 pads with you. You should have a supply of pads at home for later.

Wear or bring a short-sleeved top like a t-shirt and warm socks or slippers

Do not wear perfume or cologne and ask your companion not to wear them either

Do not wear fingernail polish on at least one index finger so we can monitor your blood oxygen levels during the procedure. If you have acrylic nails and it is not possible to remove one, please use only very lightly colored polish.

Don’t forget

Bring your Care Card and photo ID. You and anyone with you must show photo ID to get in the clinic. If you have extended medical coverage, bring your card with you.

Be on time.

Once inside the clinic waiting room, you can’t use cell phones or other electronic devices to make phone calls. Texting and playing games are fine. No photography or recording is allowed in the clinic.

It is OK to come by yourself for your appointment, but please try to have someone pick you up when you’re finished. You cannot drive a car for 24 hours after your procedure. If you receive intravenous (IV) medication you will not be able to take public transit by yourself or walk home alone.

Review birth control information

Fertility returns very quickly after an abortion. If you do not want to be pregnant again right away and are at risk of pregnancy, it is recommended to begin a birth control method the day of or soon after your appointment (for example to have an IUD inserted during your appointment or start the birth control pill, patch, or ring right away).

Your counselor and/or nurse will speak with you about birth control options during your appointment. Please review our website for information about birth control methods before you come to the clinic and bring any questions you might have for your appointment.

When to call us

If you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, please call to reschedule your appointment.

If you think you have miscarried, call us.

Please call to confirm your appointment. (If you made the booking within a week of your appointment you don’t need to call to confirm.) Call 604-322-6692 and follow the prompts. Please speak slowly and clearly. Give us your full name and the date and time of your appointment. If you are only calling to confirm, we will not return your call.

Abortion Procedure

Here is a brief outline of what you can expect while you are in our clinic for an aspiration abortion

Counselling and medications

You will probably be at the clinic for two to three hours. First, you will see a counsellor, who will explain about the abortion, answer questions, and talk about birth control if you want. Before the abortion, a nurse will give you some medications, and start an intravenous (IV). You can have sedation if you want it. A nurse will stay with you during the abortion.

Ultrasound and abortion procedure

The doctor will examine you, do an ultrasound and then she will start the abortion. The doctor numbs the cervix (the opening to the uterus) with a local anesthetic, like freezing at the dentist, and then dilates (slightly opens) the cervix a little bit to put in a small tube. She then removes the pregnancy with gentle suction. It usually takes seven or eight minutes.

Immediately after

Most women get some cramps, often a stronger version of those with a period. These cramps usually go away quickly, in less than half an hour. You will rest in the clinic for at least half an hour after the abortion. We will give you an information sheet about how to take care of yourself afterward. See our after the abortion page for more information.

After Abortion

After the aspiration procedure


You may bleed heavily, moderately, lightly or not at all, for one to three weeks after the abortion. Some women do not start to bleed until several days after the abortion, some stop bleeding and then start again, some pass clots with strong cramps for several days. Don’t be surprised if four to five days after the abortion you experience increased cramping or bleeding.


Menstrual-like cramping pain is normal for the first week or two. Use Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Actiprofen) if needed. Aspirin (A.S.A., Entrophen) may increase bleeding.

Other symptoms

Morning sickness should disappear within two days and breast changes usually settle by the end of the first week but both may persist if you are on the birth control pill.

It is very unlikely, but you may notice a milky discharge from your breasts after the abortion. Do not express the fluid. This will go away within two weeks.

Emotional well-being

Mood swings or emotional upset often accompanies the drop in pregnancy hormones and may last for a few days or even weeks.

Your next period

Your next normal period should begin three to six weeks after the abortion unless you are on birth control pills, Depo Provera (the shot) or have a Mirena.


  • IF you were given antibiotics – take them.
  • Smoking cigarettes after the abortion can make you faint so we recommend you do not smoke for three hours after the procedure.
  • You are not to drive, operate hazardous equipment, or make major decisions like signing legal papers until 24 hours after the procedure.
  • Avoid alcohol and street drugs for two days.
  • Do not do a pregnancy test afterward as the pregnancy hormones leave the body slowly. A test can still be positive weeks after an abortion has removed the pregnancy.

You can conceive immediately after abortion

Please be aware it IS possible to get pregnant right after an abortion; you can conceive very soon afterward if you are not using any birth control method.

Emotional support

Free post-abortion counselling is available at the clinic for those who feel it would be helpful. If you experience prolonged sadness or emotional turmoil you may benefit from this. To make an appointment, please call 604-322-6692 during normal clinic hours.

We have also written about some of the different circumstances that can impact a decision to have an abortion or the experience of having one. You can find that here.

When to contact us

Two weeks after the abortion you should feel back to normal; if not, contact us for a follow-up appointment.

You must contact the clinic if you have any unexpected hospitalizations within 30 days of the procedure.

If you would like an IUD inserted or if you need a post-IUD insertion checkup.

Tell us how you are doing

Two weeks after your appointment, please use the following form to tell us how you are doing:







    210 – 2525 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC   V5N 4C1
    Phone hours: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
    Monday to Friday

    Appointments: 604-322-6692
    business inquiries only: 604-322-6576
    Fax: 604-322-6632

    Everywoman’s sits on the traditional, ancestral, and un-ceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples– xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam),  Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish).