Our patients' most commonly asked questions follow:
I've given this decision a lot of thought and I'm sure abortion is the right choice for me with this pregnancy. So why do I feel so sad?
We recognize that your heart may be sad even though you know this is the best choice for you. You may even feel like crying...and thats ok. Some decisions women make are very difficult, and abortion can be one of them.
The decision to have an abortion was not difficult for me at all. This is not the right time for me to have a baby. But I'm wondering if that means I'm a bad person.
Women have all kinds of feelings about having an abortion. There are no "right or wrong" feelings. Most women tell us that they will feel relieved when it is over. It is important to recognize how you feel without judging yourself.
I'm very sure of my decision to have an abortion, but I wonder if I'll feel differently in a year or two.
No one can predict how you will feel next week, next month, next year. We do know that the more confident you are about your decision now, the less likely you will regret the decision in the future. In fact research has shown that the two most important factors for positive emotional health afterwards are that you yourself made the decision and are not feeling pressured by others to have an abortion. Also that you have support if you need it from your partner or family or friends.
I don't consider myself very religious, yet I'm feeling a lot of guilt. Do you think God will punish me? Do you think I'll be forgiven?
Whether your particular religion is pro-choice or not, if you feel that God is a part of this issue then it may be helpful to talk to God about it. Some women discuss it with a member of the clergy, some pray at home, and some talk to their own hearts. Do what makes you feel most resolved. We have many helpful brochures available to patients since this is a concern for many women and men.
Is my counselor at the clinic going to try to talk me out of my abortion?
No. We respect your decision and know that you have chosen what is best for you and your family at this time. Your counselor is there to give you the opportunity to talk about any feelings or concerns you might have. The time is yours.
Is abortion safe?
When performed by an experienced physician, abortion is a very safe medical procedure. At Allegheny Reproductive, the chance of complications is less than 1%, which makes abortion 8-10 times safer than carrying a pregnancy to term.
Is abortion painful?
Patients are generally surprised by how well they feel when they leave the clinic. If awake, most women experience hard cramping during part of the procedure, the cramps begin to lessen in the recovery room. When patients leave, they may feel light cramping. Cramping may occur occasionally through the following 2 weeks.
Does abortion cause problems with future pregnancy?
Current studies suggest that women who have had 4 or more abortions, or who attempt full-term delivery within a year after abortion, may be at a slightly higher miscarriage risk in a future pregnancy. Since the abortion procedure does not involve the ovulation process, there is no chance of bearing a deformed child due to a past abortion.
Who are the doctors?
All of our doctors are Board Certified, licensed gynecologists who are also on staff at Magee-Womans Hospital of UPMC. They are highly trained and experienced surgeons who care about their needs of woman and respect their decisions.
How long will I be at the clinic?
On the day of your procedure, you will have lab work done and meet with a counselor to review your medical history, and discuss any questions or concerns.
The procedure is explained to you and you have an opportunity to read and sign all consents. At times you may be simply waiting in various areas at the clinic. Following surgery, you will be in the recovery area for 30-60 minutes depending on your choice of pain control. Generally speaking, patients are in the clinic 4-6 hours. It is not unusual to be here 6-7 hours on a Saturday when we off IV sedation.
What does the abortion procedure involve?
Abortion procedures up to 14 weeks take approximately 5-10 minutes and consist of a local anesthetic, dilation of the cervix (opening to the uterus) and a mild aspiration of the uterine contents. This is a safe procedure and the risk of complications is less than 1%. Pregnancies from 15-19 weeks require an additional step and take a bit longer.>
How will I feel when I leave?
You may be surprised how well you feel when you leave. You may have some vaginal bleeding after the surgery. This bleeding should not be any heavier than a normal period. Some women feel tired, have cramps, or feel a bit nauseated or dizzy. This is normal. Many women feel quite hungry and a light lunch is advised, especially if you have a long drive home.
What restrictions will I have afterward?
In order to prevent an infection, during the first two weeks after an abortion:
- Do not have sexual intercourse
- Do Not insert anything into your vagina including tampons
- Do Not douche, go swimming, or go into a hot tub
Our recovery room staff will review complete discharge instructions and answer any questions you have before you leave the clinic.
You will be given written instructions including a phone number than answers 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency.
Can anyone be with me in the procedure room or in the recovery room?
Yes, you can have a support person with you during the procedure if you are awake and less than 14 weeks. It is however at the doctors discretion.
More information is available under our special options section.
Because of space and privacy limitations, guests are not able to visit the recovery room.
What They Are Saying About Us
"The woman who took my call was very kind and understanding. It wasn't an easy call to make...Her attitude helped me through it." D.R., Erie, PA (age 24)
"The kind and helpful attitude of the entire staff helped me through something I really had never thought I would have to go through in my life. It was very refreshing to see people with a real dedication to their work." D.F., Pittsburgh, PA (age 21)
"The staff was genuine, kind and did not make me feel pressured in any way. I came in and left without feeling judged." S.M., Altoona, PA (age 38)
"I was most surprised at the recovery. I thought that, physically, I would have some discomfort, heavy bleeding or something. But, aside from the cramps that lasted about 15 minutes, I felt fine when I left." T.K., Indiana, PA (age 18)
"My counselor was so kind. She listened to me. This was a difficult decision so it helped to have the chance to talk about my concerns and fears." B.S., Pittsburgh, PA (age 24)
"The care in the recovery room was very good with a lot of attention given to each patient." M.Y., Weirton, WV (age 22)
"The doctor was very kind and understanding. Although this was the first exam I ever had I didn't feel uncomfortable at all. Also, the procedure was exactly as it had been explained." L.B., Youngstown, OH (age 17)
"Women are lucky to have facilities like yours." K.O., Johnstown, PA (age 25)
"You made me feel comfortable about my decision. Your clinic is definitely the best choice I could have made. Keep up the good work." H.B., Dubois, PA (age 33)
"I was a little embarrassed at first because I thought I was too old for this. But everyone treated me with respect and dignity." C.J., New Kensington, PA (age 42)
Letters from Patients
"I brought my daughter in for an abortion. I was scared, not knowing what to expect. Everyone took time to reassure us, to talk with us and answer questions. At a time when you're feeling the lowest with no light at the end of the tunnel, the kindness from all of you was almost overwhelming. I just wasn't expecting so much caring and understanding. You certainly have the right staff, doing and saying the right stuff. I believe in angels on earth. Thank God there are people like you all, serving those in need. These words can't express my sincere thanks."
"Your thoughtfulness will always be remembered. I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone at your center for making my difficult decision that much easier. You made everyone feel cared about and relaxed! Abortion is a difficult choice. In some cases it may be the right choice and in others, it may be the wrong one, but you allowed it to be just that...a choice. From the minute I entered your clinic, I felt safe. Everyone was kind and helpful, from the receptionist to the doctor. So, from the bottom of my heart, I send out my sincere thanks to the nurses, counselors, and doctors for making my visit a little bit easier. I wish everyone a wonderful and safe holiday season."
"On October 4, 1997, I faced a situation which could have been very difficult for me. I want you to know that I appreciate everything that you do to make the experience easier. When I arrived, a Pro-Choice escort was outside. She met me at the car and walked to the door with me. She made me feel more comfortable just by talking to me about other things. The security guard was very pleasant. Her presence helped me relax also. When I entered the office, I was still nervous, but everyone was very patient and explained things to me very well. This experience could have been very traumatic for me and everyone helped me understand that there was very little chance of anything going wrong. That really helped me through. The woman who took my blood that morning was great. I usually come very close to passing out when I have blood drawn, but I didn't have any problems. I think that I owe that to the lab technician's attitude. She was wonderful. I also appreciate the time that was taken to talk to me about what I was feeling and why I had made my decision. It really helped to have someone remind me that I had good reasons for making the decision that I did, especially since I only have two people at home to talk to. Unfortunately, neither of them has been through this experience. I want Rose and Dr. Turner to know that I am really glad that I got to meet them. They made the procedure seem so easy and helped me relax. I am so grateful to them for making my experience much better than it could have been. I started to get very tense in the procedure room, but Rose talked to me and helped me relax. I am very grateful to her for that. I am also grateful to the people in the recovery room. They were very helpful and concerned. They explained what I should expect after I got home and how to deal with problems. Fortunately, I have not had any problems and I feel wonderful. Thank you so much for everything you did to make my visit so easy. Unlike some others, I will remember the experience fondly because everyone helped me feel better about it. If I ever find out that anyone I know has decided to terminate a pregnancy, I will definitely recommend that she contact you. Thank you for everything."
"I just wanted to write a short note thanking you all for the care you provided during my surgery at your facility. it was a scary time for me, but you were able to ease my fears. During these times of women's rights and free choice campaigns, I think it is important for women to know that there is somewhere to turn. For women, such as myself, to be able to make an informed decision and still have the best available care when making this choice. She needs to know that she can choose alternatives to suit herself without regretting them later. When I first visited your facility on Saturday, March 19, I saw women from many different backgrounds with the same goal in mind - making the best informed decision for 'me'. Your counselors were there when needed, as well as other staff to provide information, listen, or just hold a terrified hand. I hope I will never have to make the decision I made again. But I will be sure to let other women in this similar situation know that there is somewhere they can go that will care for them. God Bless you all and thank you."
"I would like to say thank you very much. I was nervous about being there but everyone was extremely nice. Every question I asked, and there were many, was answered in complete detail. I was treated with the respect I deserve both as a patient and a human being. In such a time of anxiety for me everyone was so comforting. I just had to write to give you my personal thanks for the work you do. Without people like you it really wouldn't matter if there was a freedom of choice. Although I did not need them, I'm glad to know that escorts were available. They should also get full credit for all their time put in to help the women get into the clinic. If you would like to post this letter, you have my permission. Maybe it will help other patients with their fears and concerns. Again, with heartfelt thanks to everyone associated with ARHC your work is very much needed and appreciated."