Suction Aspiration

by Sharon Hopkins

Suction aspiration or vacuum aspiration is an abortion procedure that can be safely conducted between the sixth and twelfth week of pregnancy. Before the sixth week, there are chances that such a procedure may not be successful and after the twelfth week, there is a significant increase in the risk and complications associated with the procedure. Suction aspiration abortion is usually performed in the case of a failed medical abortion, an induced therapeutic abortion, and the death of a fetus or an incomplete miscarriage. As with other first trimester surgical abortions, suction aspiration abortions are a safe and effective way to terminate a pregnancy.

There are two different methods of suction aspiration – the manual vacuum and the machine vacuum method. The manual vacuum method uses a specially designed syringe to terminate the pregnancy. Machine vacuum method uses a cannula or thin hollow tube attached to a pump that provides a gentle steady vacuum to remove the tissues from the uterus.

Abortion Procedure

Prior to the procedure a dilator may be placed in the cervix to dilate it along with medications to soften the cervix before the procedure. Antibiotics are also prescribed to prevent any infection from developing as well. A suction aspiration procedure can take between ten to fifteen minutes to complete and is usually performed under local anesthetic. It generally takes place in a doctor’s clinic and not in a hospital and you can have a friend or family member along with you during the entire procedure. A typical procedure involves:

  • Lying back on an examination table with your feet in stirrups
  • Inserting a speculum into the vagina and cleaning the cervix and vagina with an antiseptic
  • Injecting a local anesthetic in the cervix. Painkillers and medications to slow down uterine bleeding may be administered intravenously.
  • The cervix is then dilated to allow the cannula access into the uterus.
  • With a gentle vacuuming motion, the tissue in the uterus is removed. At this point of time, most women complain of a tugging or pulling feeling in the uterus as the muscles begin to contract. Once the tube is removed, these cramps will reduce. Some women may also feel nausea or faint and this is normal.
  • The tissue removed is examined to ensure that everything has been removed and the cannula is removed. The procedure is complete.
  • Recovery from a suction aspiration abortion is quick. However, it is important to follow your doctor’s advice and rest for the day. Avoid sexual intercourse for a week and take painkillers to treat pain and cramping. Normal birth control methods can be resumed within a week


As with any other abortion procedure, the risk of pregnancy immediately after the abortion increases significantly so take the necessary precautions to prevent another unwanted pregnancy. Other side effects and risks of a suction abortion include:

  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Pain for up to two to three days after the procedure
  • Nausea
  • Bleeding for two weeks after the procedure
  • Sweating
  • Feeling faint or weak
  • Emotional distress such as feelings of guilt, depressions and anger
  • Insomnia

More serious complications are rare and if you experience any of the following, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • High fever
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Blood clots
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Severe pain in the abdomen
These could indicate the presence of an infection, blood clots in the uterus, scarring of the uterus, an allergic reaction to the anesthesia used, or an incomplete abortion. In the case of an unsuccessful aspiration abortion, either another suction aspiration will be carried out or a dilation and curettage will be performed. 
Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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