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Someone asked us: I have an appointment for a surgical abortion tomorrow. Is there anything I need to do to prepare? 

It’s normal to have questions before having an abortion. Our step-by-step checklist can help you feel prepared, whether you’re getting an in-clinic abortion or taking abortion pills. Here are the basics:

Your nurse or doctor will give you instructions to help you prepare for your abortion. If you’re having sedation (medicine that makes you relaxed or sleepy), you may need to avoid eating and drinking anything other than water for a certain amount of time before your appointment. 

Even though the abortion procedure itself only takes 5-10 minutes, you’ll probably be at the health center for a few hours because you’ll need to have an exam, read and sign forms, and stay in the recovery room for an hour or so after the abortion is finished. So plan to take the day off from work or school if you can.

If you’re having sedation, you’ll need someone to pick you up from your appointment and help you get home safely. If you don’t have anyone who can help you, talk with the staff at the health center — they may know of volunteer organizations who can help. 

If you can, take it easy and relax for the rest of the day. Some bleeding and cramping is common after an abortion, so plan ahead to make your recovery time more comfortable. Have maxi pads ready, and a heating pad for cramps in case you need it. Make sure you have some pain medication (like ibuprofen or acetaminophen), but don’t take aspirin because it can make you bleed more.

You can go back to work, school, driving, exercise, and most other normal activities the next day if you feel up to it.

Tags: Abortion, in-clinic abortion