Abortions in Saskatoon

In Saskatoon, abortions are available by referral until 12 weeks into the pregnancy from the first day of your last regular period. Referrals are available from Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon (either in person or by phone), from the Community Clinic, or from your family doctor (if they are pro-choice and you're comfortable asking). Referrals can only be made for the woman who is considering abortion to ensure she is firm and clear in her decision and is not being coerced.

Please note the following: If your pregnancy is more than 12 weeks along you will be referred to Regina, Edmonton, or Calgary. If you do not have a valid Saskatchewan health card you may be referred to your home province where you have a valid health card or you may have to pay for the procedure up front. Further details can be provided to you by phone or in-person at the centre.

Medical Terminations (done with medication)

Medical terminations are performed before 7 weeks from the first day of your last regular period and are basically a medically-induced miscarriage (induced with one medication that is injected and another which is inserted into the vagina - see below for more information). Using a number of different criteria the doctor will decide whether you are a good candidate for medical termination. You must attend ALL appointments. Failure to follow up with the physician can put you at risk for continuing pregnancy or developing an infection.

The process begins with an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy gestation. This can be done between 5 ˝ to 6 ˝ weeks gestation. Once you have your ultrasound results you can be referred for an appointment with a pro-choice physician. This physician will give you a physical exam, confirm your pregnancy, and speak with you briefly to ensure you're certain about your choice. From there, you'll receive a prescription for the necessary medications. There is a cost for this medication - the amount varies depending on body mass and the amount of medication needed. The maximum cost is $75.

You'll bring the medication right back to the physician (same day) and receive an injection - this stops fetal development. A few days later, either on your own (with instructions from the physician) or at a second appointment, several tablets will be placed onto your cervix. These tablets cause your period to start. It is normal to experience quite a bit of cramping and bleeding as well as to pass blood clots. Over the next week or two you will need to get a number of blood tests to ensure the medication worked to end the pregnancy and you will then return to see the physician for a final follow-up appointment.

Things to be Aware Of:

  • There is the possibility that the medication will not end the pregnancy. If this happens you MUST follow-up with surgical termination. The medication used for this procedure is teratogenic, meaning the medication will interfere with normal fetal development and resulting in birth defects.
  • This is a much more complicated process then a surgical termination. Women may choose this option because it is done earlier in the pregnancy then a surgical termination but it is NOT a simpler method.
  • Medical terminations can result in heavy cramping and bleeding. This process can take a few days for some women and a couple of weeks for others.

Surgical Terminations

A surgical termination begins with an ultrasound to determine the pregnancy length. Next, an appointment with a pro-choice physician will be scheduled where the following will take place: a physical exam, a confirmation of pregnancy, and a discussion to ensure you are certain of your decision.

From there, the physician will arrange a second date, which is the date of the actual termination, to be done at a hospital in the city. Surgical terminations are done at the Women’s Health Centre and they are performed under local anesthetic and conscious sedation. (Conscious sedation is a type of sedation in which the sedated individual can respond to verbal directions, but she feels little to no pain, and has an altered level of consciousness. This level of sedation is used for minor procedures which do not merit the use of general anesthesia. This is a MUCH safer process then being put completely under). There can be a lot of waiting with surgery, and terminations are no exception - so it's a good idea to bring a book, or some music, or even better, someone for support and company with you. Expect to be at the hospital anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. In rare cases, you will have to stay overnight at the hospital – this is for your safety. The hospital staff will inform you if this is the case for your particular situation. The procedure itself is only about 15 minutes. However, you may be groggy or nauseous afterwards from the anesthetic, so you will need to arrange for someone else to drive you home. You cannot take a cab, transit, or drive yourself home.

Abortion is a safe medical procedure, and is less invasive than having your tonsils removed (a procedure that is done all of the time). However, like every surgical procedure, there are possible complications that can occur. Complications might include bleeding, infection or injury to the cervix, uterus or nearby organs. These problems are rare, and usually are not serious. Most are easy to treat when symptoms are reported right away.

Things to be Aware Of:

  • Infection: if you have a fever, aches, nausea, etc., these could be signs of infection and you should seek medical attention quickly at a local hospital
  • Hemorrhaging: most women bleed after an abortion anywhere from 3-10 days (it is also normal to not bleed at all). However, if you are soaking more than a heavy pad in an hour you could be hemorrhaging and you need to seek medical attention quickly at a local hospital.
  • Use pads not tampons until all bleeding has stopped. When your period has returned to normal (usually within a month) you may resume using tampons.
  • Any pain medication is fine to take for managing cramping, EXCEPT Aspirin which can thin your blood.
  • You may return to work/school etc., whenever you feel like it but avoid strenuous activity for 2-3 days.
  • Avoid taking baths for a couple of weeks in order to reduce the risk of infection
  • Avoid sexual intercourse for three weeks. It is possible to become pregnant again and there is a higher risk of infection
  • Check with your physician to see when you should begin taking the birth control pill again
  • Be sure to have a check-up with a physician after 2-3 weeks.

For more information, please call Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon at 306-244-7989.

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