Opal Clinic provides two procedures at Whitehorse General Hospital
- Aspiration abortion from 6 weeks to 15 weeks plus 3 days of pregnancy
- Medication abortion from 6 to 9 weeks of pregnancy
It is important to know the duration of your pregnancy. This is measured by the number of weeks from the first day of your last normal menstrual period. The doctor will do an ultrasound at your appointment and, based on that, discuss your options with you.
If your pregnancy is over 15 weeks plus 3 days, (and up to 24 weeks) you will need to travel to Vancouver to the BC Women’s Hospital for a Dilatation and Evacuation procedure. This service and your travel are covered by the Yukon Health Care Insurance Plan or by Non-Insured Health Benefits. You will need to call or book online.
If you are having an aspiration abortion, it will be on a different day than your first appointment. We will give you an appointment time to return to the hospital for the procedure.
When you arrive for the procedure, register at the same desk as for your initial appointment. A nurse will take you to the Surgical Day Care area and then to the Operating Room, where you will receive sedation. After the procedure, you will return to the Surgical Day Care area where the nurse will give you instructions for aftercare, then you will be able to leave the hospital.
6 to 12 weeks — If your pregnancy is 6 to 12 weeks, the doctor gently opens the cervical canal by inserting and removing tapered rods of increasing diameter (dilation). Once the cervix is opened, the doctor inserts a hollow tube, which is attached to an aspirator. This machine provides a very gentle suction that will clean out the contents of the uterus including the fetus and placenta. The doctor then uses a spoon-shaped instrument (curette) to check the walls of the uterus for any tissue that may remain. The procedure will last between 5 and 15 minutes. You should expect to be in the hospital for 2 to 3 hours.
13 to 15 weeks — If your pregnancy is between 13 weeks and 15 weeks plus 3 days, you will be given a medication before the procedure called Misoprostol. Misoprostol softens the cervix and makes dilation easier. Misoprostol takes 90 minutes to work. The procedure will last between 5 and 15 minutes as described above. You should expect to be in the hospital for 3 to 4 hours.
In Canada, medication abortion is done using a combination of two medications, together called Mifegymiso. The two medications are taken over two days.
If your pregnancy is between 6 and 9 weeks (up to 63 days), counting from the first day of your last normal menstrual period, you may choose either a medication abortion or an aspiration abortion. Please read about both types of procedures before booking your appointment.
All tests, including ultrasound and any blood tests required (including blood type and pregnancy hormone) are done at Opal Clinic on the day of your appointment. This means you do not have to go anywhere other than Opal Clinic for the evaluation of your pregnancy.
Before you receive the medication, we will do an ultrasound to confirm you are no more than 9 weeks (63 days) pregnant. If you are eligible for a medication abortion, our nurse practitioner will meet with you to discuss the steps in detail.
Mifepristone: You will be given the first medication to take in the clinic or at home. Mifepristone will destabilize the lining of your uterus to end the pregnancy. Once you take this medication these effects are not reversible.
Misoprostol: You will be given the second medication to take home on the day of your appointment. You will insert the misoprostol tablets into the cheeks of your mouth 24 to 48 hours after you take the mifepristone. You may choose the time of day you take the misoprostol, but be aware that you will start to bleed heavily within 1 to 4 hours. As you can expect to have heavy bleeding and strong cramping, you should choose a time when you are safe to rest. The bleeding and cramping may continue for several hours. After that, bleeding may continue off and on for up to 6 weeks. There is a 2 to 5 percent failure rate with these medications. If it fails, you will need an aspiration procedure.
Most people will need pain medications such as extra strength ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help with the pain associated with medication abortion. Heavy bleeding (soaking 1 to 2 large pads every hour) may occur for several hours. Lighter bleeding may continue on and off for up to 6 weeks. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, headaches and fatigue are common side effects of the medications. Some people will find these side effects to be intense. If you are unsure that you can manage these symptoms at home, you should choose an aspiration abortion instead.
Medication Abortion vs. Aspiration Abortion
Please consider carefully which type of procedure best suits you. Although there is bleeding and cramping with both aspiration and medication abortions, bleeding and cramping will be more intense and last longer with a medication abortion. Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have before you make your decision.