What is an Abortion Like? So, you are pregnant. If your experience is like mine, you were probably pretty sure it couldn’t happen to you. It doesn’t seem possible, but here you are, thinking about an abortion. But what is an abortion like? What do you need to know? Having experienced an abortion, I’ll try to answer that for you. (Feel free to reach out with any abortion explanation questions you have!)


To begin with, you will need to arrive really early the day of your abortion. Although the doctor doesn’t arrive for a few hours, the clinic will want to have all the patients for the day arrive super early. You can bring someone with you, and you probably should, both because you will be encouraged not to drive afterwards, and because it will be great to have someone to support you.


You may get the opportunity to chat with a nurse or counselor briefly before your abortion – some women do, and some don’t.


You may be given some medication to take an hour or so before your procedure. That can make you sleepy, dull the pain, or even put you completely to sleep, depending on your request. You can have that conversation with the clinic beforehand so you know what to expect.


A nurse or other medical provider will check your blood pressure, possibly do some blood tests, and conduct an ultrasound to determine how far along. (Hopefully, you will consider coming to YCR to receive a free ultrasound so you will know that before you arrive.)


In North Carolina, the abortion will be performed by a doctor. That is required in many, but not all states.


During the procedure, the doctor will examine your abdomen. If you have opted to be asleep during the abortion, you’ll get that medication through an IV in your arm or the back of your hand.


Next, a speculum is inserted into the vagina to open it slightly so the doctor can reach your cervix. He will inject a numbing medicine into your cervix. He’ll then use a hand-held suction device, or suction machine, to suction out the inner lining of the uterus as well as the embryo.


During this procedure, some women experience minimal cramping, but some experience a lot more pain. Again, that varies dramatically from woman to woman. Some experience pinching, or pressure during the abortion.

Here are some common results to expect after your abortion:

  • Drowsiness, depending on the medication you took
  • Light bleeding that begins right away and can last for several weeks
  • Slight cramping for less than a week


You will need to seek medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Pain that gets worse over time
  • Bad smelling vaginal discharge
  • Fever lasting over 24 hours


Abortion is a serious medical procedure and needs to be considered carefully. Have any abortion explanation questions? Need someone to talk it over with? We can help you sort through it all – you can talk to someone who has been right where you are. Call or text us at 336.629.9988 to talk or schedule an appointment.


Written by Caralynn Vaughn, Executive Director of Your Choices Randolph