What to Expect

First Appointment

When we call you to arrange your first appointment, we will give you a date and time, as well as instructions on where to go.

You will meet a doctor who will do an ultrasound to determine the stage of your pregnancy. Do not pee in the hour before your first appointment, as this may interfere with the ultrasound. While you are waiting to see the doctor, you may be asked to fill out a short questionnaire to help us understand how we can help you.

The doctor will discuss your options with you.  If you decide to proceed with an abortion, the doctor will talk about whether a medication abortion or surgical abortion is most appropriate for you, and answer any questions that you have. You will also be asked questions about your health, medications, and allergies.

Next, you will meet a nurse practitioner.  The nurse practitioner will provide counseling about your decision. If you choose to continue with the pregnancy, they will discuss arranging follow up prenatal care. If you are considering adoption, the nurse practitioner will connect you with the resources you need for this. If you choose abortion, they will discuss options for birth control after the abortion.

You will be given antibiotics before the surgical abortion.  You will also be given an appointment time for the following day and given instructions about when to stop eating.

Contact us to arrange an appointment.

Medical Abortion

Information on Medical Termination of Pregnancy (PDF)

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Instructions (PDF)

Medication abortion uses a drug instead of a surgical procedure.  It can be performed up to 11 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period. This may need to be confirmed by ultrasound during your initial appointment
It takes between 1 and 3 weeks to complete. There is a 95-98% success rate depending on how many weeks pregnant you are; the other 2-5% will have to complete the abortion with a surgical procedure.

Pregnant people who choose this option must be able to attend at least 1 doctor visit, and do at least one follow up bloodwork over a 1-2 week time frame. They must also be willing not to have sexual intercourse or consume alcohol for 7-14 days.
If you and your doctor determine that this is the right choice for you during your first appointment, you will be given a requisition to have blood work done.

You will be given a prescription for Mifegymiso and pain medication, which you may pick up at the pharmacy or may be given to you at your appointment.  Mifegymiso is a prescription that contains two medications: Mifepristone and Misoprostol.  Mifepristone is a medication that blocks progesterone which is the hormone that supports a pregnancy. Misoprostol is a medication that, when used after mifepristone, will cause the cervix (neck of the womb) to soften and open, and will cause the uterus to contract and push out the pregnancy.

You and your doctor will discuss the best time to take the mifepristone.

One to two days later, you will take the misoprostol either by inserting tablets in your vagina or in your cheek.

One week after the initial visit, you will touch base with the doctor again either in person or on the phone for blood work and possibly an ultrasound to see if the abortion has been successful. If the abortion is complete, you are done. If the pregnancy is still present, you may wait another week, repeat the misoprostol tablets, or have a surgical abortion. Further follow-up will be discussed at that time  

Surgical Abortion

If you choose to have a surgical abortion, you will return to the hospital to the day procedures area.

Your entire stay will usually be a few hours, though the procedure itself takes only 10 – 20 minutes. Pregnant people often enjoy bringing music and earphones with them to listen to their own relaxing music.

If this is your first pregnancy or you are more than 12 weeks from your last period, you may be given a medication called misoprostol to take before your abortion. Misoprostol is a medication that will cause the cervix (neck of the womb) to soften and open. This medication sits under your tongue and slowly dissolves. After you take this, the abortion cannot be reversed.
You may be given the option of a medication called Ativan to dissolve under your tongue. This will help to calm nerves. You will also be given an anti-inflammatory medication to decrease cramping. 

You will then go across the hall to the procedure room.  You will be with a nurse practitioner and the doctor. The nurse practitioner will put a small intravenous in a vein in your arm, and through that they will give you medications to help you relax and to decrease pain. You will not be put to sleep, as it is safer for you to be awake during the procedure. You will be able to tell the nurse beside you if you feel anxious or if you feel pain, and they can adjust your medication dose.

The doctor will determine the size and position of your uterus by inserting a gloved finger into your vagina and laying the other hand on your lower belly.  A tool called a speculum will be inserted into your vagina, exactly the same way as when you have a pap test done.  The cervix (neck of the womb) will then be frozen by small injections of local anesthetic (xylocaine). This may feel pinchy or crampy.

The doctor will then gently open (dilate) the cervix to gain access to the uterus.  This may result in slight pressure and cramping.

Once the cervix is open, the doctor will empty the pregnancy tissue with a tube connected to a suction.  A pregnant person can feel minimal to heavy cramping as the uterus contracts and gets smaller. You may hear a suction-like sound.

The doctor will then clean the walls of the uterus to ensure that all of the tissue is removed and a final suction is done. The entire procedure normally takes approximately 10 minutes.
You will then be led back to the recovery room, where you will be able to eat and drink. You are not allowed to drive for 24 hours after the procedure, so you must arrange to have someone pick you up.

The Night Before the Surgical Abortion

Before your surgical abortion appointment:

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight before your surgical abortion, except you can drink clear fluids (water, apple juice, ginger ale) until 4 hours before your abortion.
  • Do not drink alcohol the day before your abortion.
  • Bring comfortable loose clothes for after your abortion, including comfortable underwear. Thong underwear will not be comfortable, as you will be wearing a pad after the abortion.
  • Arrange to have someone pick you up after the abortion, as you will not be allowed to drive.
  • If you decide after your first appointment not to come for your abortion, please call the NOW Program number at 873-5710 (outside of Yellowknife, 1-888-873-5710).

Contact us to arrange an appointment.