5 to 12 weeks — If the pregnancy is 5 to 12 weeks, the doctor gently opens the cervical canal by inserting and removing tapered rods of increasing diameter. Once the cervix is opened appropriately, the doctor inserts a hollow tube (cannula) 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 about 5 to 10 minutes, but your entire appointment will take 2-3 hours.
If your pregnancy is less than 9 weeks (63 days) you may choose an aspiration abortion or a medical abortion. For a detailed comparison of medical and aspiration abortion read Comparison of Early Abortion Options.
13 to 15 weeks — If your pregnancy is 13 weeks to 15 weeks 3 days, you will first be given a medication before the procedure called Misoprostol. Misoprostol softens the cervix and makes dilation easier. Misoprostol takes 2-3 hours to work, so you will be given a recliner to rest in. The procedure will last about 5-15 minutes as described above. Expect to be in the clinic for 4-5 hours.