Below are frequently asked questions we hear from our patients.
Answers may vary for each Summit location, so we recommend you contact your local clinic for specific and personal concerns. Our counselors and staff are here to help, so don’t hesitate to call us anytime.
Q: Which type of abortion is better, medical or surgical?
A: Women under 9 weeks pregnant may elect to have either a medical or surgical abortion; women over 9 weeks pregnant are eligible for surgical abortions only. If you are under 9 weeks, what is “better” for you may differ from someone else. It is important to make this choice based on what is best for you, according to your personal needs and medical history. For now, visit our pages on surgical and medical abortions under the “Abortion Services” tab for additional information. We welcome you to call or walk-in to speak with a counselor, free of charge, at anytime about this very important decision.
Q: Will the surgical abortion hurt?
A: Most women are able to get through their abortion (which lasts around 5-8 minutes), with minimal discomfort. Summit Centers offers pain medication, twilight sedation, or general anesthesia to help women through surgical abortions (contact your local office to see what is offered). While surgical abortions without any pain medication can cause cramping similar to or more severe than a menstrual period, every effort will be made to make you as comfortable as possible. Visit our page on surgical abortions under the “Abortion Services” tab for additional information.
Q: Will the medical abortion hurt?
A: As with surgical abortions, every woman’s experience with medical abortions will differ. Because medical abortions are completed at home, we offer patients pain medications and suggest various techniques to help make their experience as comfortable as possible. Medical abortions occur similarly to miscarriages, which can result in heavy bleeding and cramping. Most women report cramping that is similar to or more severe than a menstrual period. Visit our page medical abortions under the “Abortion Services” tab for additional information.
Q: Can my partner/mother/friend be with me during my abortion?
A: In most cases, we only allow patients and medical staff into the operating room for safety and confidentiality reasons. However, you will have a nurse, counselor, and/or medical assistant with you during the procedure. Your loved ones will be kept informed of your progress throughout your visit, and extra care will be taken to visit with partners, family, or friends who are nervous or anxious about you.
Q: How long will my appointment last?
A: Whether you are a surgical or medical abortion patient, you should plan to be at Summit for a total of 3-5 hours. Upon arrival, you will fill out paperwork, then review your medical history with a nurse or medical assistant. You’ll undergo lab work and an ultrasound, receive a counseling session, review surgical (or medical) consent forms, and in some instances, receive pre- or post-abortion medications. Whether you opt for the surgical or medical abortion, you’ll meet with the doctor for your procedure: medical abortion patients will take one series of pills in the office and receive additional medication to take home; surgical abortion patients can expect the actual procedure to last about 5-8 minutes. Surgical patients will be taken to the recovery room following their procedure for up to an hour.
Q: How do I pay, and will insurance cover my abortion? Are payment plans or financial assistance available?
A: Every insurance plan and state has different policies about abortion coverage. Lower income women may be eligible for state assistance. It is best to contact the Summit Center nearest you with questions regarding cost, payment policies, and financial assistance. For women paying out of pocket, cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) are accepted.
Q: How long do I have to wait after an abortion before going back to work?
A: Women who have surgical abortions often return to work within a day or two after their abortion. Women who have medical abortions often require two full days off of work. Though we recommend taking it easy for the first week or so after your abortion procedure (no heavy lifting or intense physical labor/workouts), most women feel physically capable of daily activities very soon after their abortion. Doctor’s notes for missed work are available (Doctor’s notes never disclose details about your visit).
Q: I had an abortion last week and I’m testing positive on a home pregnancy test. Am I still pregnant?
A: It is very unlikely that you are still pregnant; pregnancy hormone levels can be detected by pregnancy test for up to 3-4 weeks after a surgical or medical abortion. We recommend not doing a home pregnancy test after your abortion, and suggest you wait for your follow up visit so that the physician and medical staff can confirm that you are no longer pregnant.
Q: Will my regular OB/GYN be able to tell I had an abortion?
A: It is unlikely a doctor will be able to tell you’ve had an abortion as long as your cervix has fully healed, which takes about 3 weeks. However, it’s important to recognize that pregnancy and abortion are important parts of your medical history, and we encourage you to be honest with your doctor. We understand hesitation about disclosing your experience, but most OB/GYN’s are supportive of all reproduction choices, including abortion. If your doctor is anti-choice or makes you feel guilty or judged for your reproductive or sexual choices, it is important to know that you have the right to quality healthcare where your needs and choices are fully respected. If you are considering looking for a new OB/GYN, we are happy to provide referrals for supportive, quality care physicians.
Q: Will I be able to get pregnant after my abortion?
A: There is no evidence of fertility or childbearing problems after an abortion. Having an abortion does not interfere with your ability to have children in the future.
Q: How soon after my abortion will I be able to have sex or use tampons?
A: Because your risk of infection increases until the cervix is fully healed, we recommend that nothing go inside of in the vagina for at least 2-3 weeks, or until your follow-up visit. This includes, but is not limited to: no sexual intercourse, sex toys or penetration of any kind, no tampons (use only sanitary pads or liners). We also recommend avoiding swimming, hot tubs or bathtubs.