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Women's Options Center

The UCI Health Women's Options Center (WOC) provides specialized care for women seeking contraception, pregnancy termination and management of miscarriage or perinatal loss.

Our team is lead by board-certified, fellowship-trained obstetrician-gynecologists. With specialty training in family planning, they have expertise in high-risk pregnancy termination, contraception and perinatal loss.

Our team includes care coordinators, surgery schedulers and physicians, all of whom provide the highest level of supportive and skilled care.

We also provide seamless coordination with high-risk obstetricians, anesthesiologists, geneticists and other medical specialists to manage even the most challenging medical conditions. Our years of experience ensure that you will be in the best, most capable hands.

Our mission

The mission of our family planning team is to promote and protect women’s options for reproductive health. We provide compassionate, evidenced-based care that prioritizes our patients' autonomy and privacy. As faculty members of the UCI School of Medicine, we also are committed to medical training that ensures women and families have advocates for decades to come.

To make an appointment, please call 714-456-7188.

We look forward to discussing your birth control options in a confidential consultation so we can help find the method that is best for you.

Reversible contraception options

  • Intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Contraceptive implant
  • Contraceptive injection
  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Contraceptive vaginal ring
  • Contraceptive patch
  • Condoms
  • Barrier methods

Sterilization

Sterilization is an option for women who are sure they are done having children. It is a minor surgical procedure that can be performed on both men and women: 

  • Female sterilization: Also known as tubal ligation, this is a procedure done in the hospital under general anesthesia. Small incisions are made in the abdomen and the patient's fallopian tubes are removed. This procedure is usually quick. The patient may go home the same day with pain medicine and a driver.
  • Male sterilization: Also known as a vasectomy, this is an outpatient procedure done on men in a clinic with pain medicine as needed. Vasectomies are safer, faster and less expensive than tubal ligation. Although we do not provide this service at the Women's Options Center, we can help find a highly qualified provider for your partner.

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or inconsistent use of regular birth control. It may be used within 120 hours (five days) of unprotected sex.

At the Women's Option Center, we offer all three methods of emergency contraception:

  • Placement of an intrauterine copper IUD
  • Ella™, an oral tablet containing ulipristal acetate
  • Plan B One-Step®, one of several brands of the oral emergency contraceptive hormone Levonorgestrel

Resources

More information about choosing a birth-control method may be found at plannedparenthod.org and on the UCI Health Live Well blog.

Frequently asked questions

Q: What is an IUD and is it safe?

A: An IUD stands for intrauterine device. It is one of the safest, most effective birth control options. There are a variety of IUDs, including hormonal (Liletta, Mirena, Kyleena and Skyla) and non-hormonal (Paragard) devices.

They are placed inside your uterus in an outpatient procedure by your provider. Although they last for many years, if you don’t like your IUD, it can be removed at any time.

Q: What is an implant?

A: Nexplanon is another very safe, effective and simple method of birth control. The implant is a small, matchstick-size device containing a very low dose of progestin that blocks ovulation.

Your doctor will give you numbing medicine then place the device under the skin of your inner arm. The device may last up to four years, but it can be removed at any time.

Q: Is it safe for me to take the pill, patch or ring?

A: These methods are safe for most women.

However, they may not be safe for women who have high blood pressure, migraine headaches, liver disease, blood clots (in their legs or lungs), or other medical problems. A conversation with your doctor is a good place to start.

IUDs and implants are safer and more effective birth controls than the pill, patch or ring.

Q: Can my partner get a vasectomy at the Women’s Options Center?

A: No, but if you call our office we can give you a referral to a highly qualified urologist. Please call 714-456-7188.

Q: How long is the pre-operative visit?

A: One to three hours

Q: How long will I be in the hospital for my surgery?

A: For most surgical procedures, you will usually be in the hospital for 4 to 6 hours.

Miscarriage of an embryo or fetus is extremely common, although few people talk about it. Up to one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Signs that you may be having a miscarriage include bleeding, cramping or pain in the first trimester. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to contact a healthcare provider.

Having a miscarriage can be a very difficult experience. At the Women’s Options Center, we care for the whole patient, including your physical and emotional health. 

As experts in early pregnancy complications, we can confirm your diagnosis and explain your options.

It can be difficult to determine exactly why a miscarriage happens, but it is almost never caused by something the person did. Normal activities such as exercise, working, lifting, and taking most medicines do not cause miscarriages. Common causes of miscarriage include an abnormal number of fetal chromosomes, severe diabetes, severe infection or major injury.

Depending on your situation, we offer:

  • Expectant management: Waiting to see if your body will pass the pregnancy on its own, with close follow-up.
  • Medical management: Giving you medication to help your body pass the pregnancy at home, with close follow-up.
  • Suction aspiration (D&C procedure): This is a procedure to remove the pregnancy in the office or operating room.

Medical management

Medical management is available for pregnancies measuring up to 12 weeks. (The pregnancy may be farther along, but as long as the uterus is measuring 12 weeks or less that is okay).

Two medicines are given. One is taken in the office and another taken at home one to three days later. The pills cause bleeding and cramping, which leads the pregnancy to be passed from your body at home, usually one to three days after your office visit. A follow-up visit for an ultrasound check is required.

Outpatient surgical management

Surgical management in the office is an option for women who measure 10 weeks or less (a pregnancy may be further along in weeks) and who want to be awake for the procedure. Pain medicines are given at the cervix and by mouth. The entire process takes one visit and no driver is needed to take you home.

Surgical procedure in the operating room

This is an option for patients who want to be asleep (given general anesthesia) for their procedure, who are more than 10 to 12 weeks pregnant or are at high risk for complications. 

Most people need some dilation of their cervix prior to the surgery if they are more than 12 weeks pregnant in order to ensure the procedure is as safe as possible. A few patients will be given a pill to take the morning of the surgery.

The first day you will meet the doctor in the office to learn about your options and the procedure. If you choose to have a surgical procedure, the dilators will be placed with numbing medicine on the day before surgery, but you will not need a driver to take you home. Patients often feel better when they are able to rest at home afterward rather than returning to work. 

On the second day, you will meet the anesthesiology team at the hospital. They will provide sedation or general anesthesia. You will be asleep for the short procedure and when you are done, you will be required to have a driver to take you home.

Complications

Complications are rare in the case of miscarriage treatment. However, if you have an unexpected situation, you may reach out to our specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Resources

The UCI Health Women’s Options Center is committed to helping every woman, regardless of her choice and circumstance. We offer abortion services for women in their first and second trimesters.

The treatments and procedures available to you depend on the length of your pregnancy, your medical history and your personal needs. We provide compassionate, confidential services to all.

Medical abortion

Medical abortion is applicable for pregnancies up to 10 weeks (70 days after your last normal period). 

Two medicines are needed for a medical abortion, one taken in the office and another taken at home one to three days later. The pills cause bleeding and cramping, which leads the pregnancy to be passed from your body, usually one to three days after your clinic visit. A follow-up office visit for an ultrasound is required.

Outpatient surgical abortion

Surgical abortion as an outpatient procedure is an option for women who are 10 weeks pregnant or less and who want to be awake for a procedure in the office. Pain medicines are given at the cervix and by mouth. The entire process takes one visit and you do not need a driver to take you home.

Surgical procedure in the operating room

This is an option for patients who want to be asleep (given general anesthesia) for their procedure or who are more than 10 to 12 weeks pregnant.

Most people need some dilation of their cervix prior to the surgery if they are more than 12 weeks pregnant to ensure the procedure is as safe as possible. A few patients will be given a pill to take the morning of surgery, but most will need to have dilators placed in their cervix. The dilators will be placed the day before the surgery.

One the first day, you will meet the doctor in the office to learn about your options and the procedure. If you choose to have a surgical abortion, the dilators will be placed with numbing medicine, but you will not need a driver to take you home. Patients often feel better when they are able to rest afterward rather than returning to work on day one.

On the second day, you will meet the anesthesiology team in the hospital. They will provide your sedation or general anesthesia. You will be asleep for the short procedure and when you are done, you will be required to have a driver to take you home.

In California, surgical abortions are an option from five to 23 completed weeks of pregnancy.

Induction termination on labor and delivery (L&D)

This is an option for women with fetal anomalies (complications) or fetal demise who are at least 18 weeks pregnant. You are seen first in the office and given a medication. One or two days later you go to the hospital, where you will receive more medication to induce a delivery. The delivery in the hospital can take hours or as long as one or two days.

Complications

Overall, abortion is very safe, and often safer than continuing a pregnancy to term. However, if you have any concerns after your visit, you may reach our specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Frequently asked questions

Q: What will happen at my visit for pregnancy termination?

A: Your doctor will:

  • Learn about your medical history
  • Determine how far along your pregnancy is, either by ultrasound or reviewing outside records if you already have had an ultrasound
  • Discuss all your pregnancy options, including continuing and parenting, continuing and placing for adoption, terminating now or waiting to make a decision
  • Draw your blood if you choose to proceed with termination
  • Discuss future pregnancy goals and birth-control options

Q: Will I be able to have children after an abortion?

A: Yes, abortion is very safe. Barring any rare complication, most women go on to have a normal pregnancy after abortion, if they choose to do so. Abortions do not cause breast cancer, depression or problems with fertility in the future.

Q: How long will I bleed and when will I get my next period?

A: It is normal for a woman to bleed on and off for up to four weeks after a pregnancy termination. The blood may be red, black, brown or even yellow. It can come and go, and be light or heavy.

As long as you do not need more than two menstrual pads an hour for a two-hour period, and you are not worried about the bleeding, there is no cause for concern. However, if any amount worries you, call 714-456-2911 or come to our office. It may take one to two months to get your next period.

Q: Will my milk come in?

A: Usually your breasts may become more full, tender and hard after the procedure if your pregnancy is farther along or if you have breastfeed a baby before. 

To minimize this:

  • Wear a tight-fitting sports bra 24 hours a day after the procedure.
  • Ibuprofen and ice can help reduce the pain and the swelling. 
  • Minimize touching your breasts or moving. Any breast stimulation will increase the production of the hormone that will cause you to make more milk.

Usually breast tenderness improves seven to 10 days after the procedure.

Q: May I get birth control at the same time?

A: Yes! We are happy to discuss whatever method you would like. If you would like an IUD or an implant, it can be placed after most procedures.

Q: May I use a rideshare company or a taxi to pick me up after my procedure?

A: Unfortunately, it is not safe to let you go home with a driver you do not know after you have been under sedation. It is hospital policy to have someone you know pick you up to ensure that you get home safely.

Q: Will it hurt to get the dilators placed?

A: Dilator placement may cause cramping. Your doctor will give you numbing medicine and oral pain medicine.

Q: Do I need to take time off of work after the procedure?

A: Most people are safe missing just one day of work for their procedure day. There are no lifting restrictions after this procedure.

Q: Can I lift heavy things or go up and down stairs after the procedure?

A: Since there are no incisions involved, you can lift items as you did before without restriction. You can also safely walk up and down stairs once the anesthesia has worn off.

Q: How long is the pre-operative visit?

A: One to three hours

Q: How long will I be in at the hospital on the day of my surgery?

A: You will usually be in the hospital for four to six hours.

Resources and information

We are sorry you are experiencing this. You are not alone. Our compassionate team is here to take good care of you and support you in any way we can.

When faced with a pregnancy with fetal anomalies, you can choose to:

  • Continue: If you choose to continue, we will be sure to coordinate the highest level of care for you and your baby. If your baby has a lethal anomaly, an additional option is to continue the pregnancy and receive support from the UCI Health Paloma Comfort Care Program.
  • Termination: Women have the option of surgical abortion or induction termination.
  • Wait: Wait to make a decision. The more certain you are about your decision, the better you will feel mentally and emotionally. Some women find certainty quickly, while others struggle and may never experience it. Termination is an option in California for up to 23 completed weeks of a pregnancy.
  • Fetal demise: We recommend proceeding with care now and not waiting any longer to minimize health risks to the mother. We can also repeat an ultrasound in our office to reconfirm the diagnosis or provide images if you would like.

Termination surgical procedure

This is an option for patients who want to be asleep (given sedation or general anesthesia).

Most women need some dilation of the cervix if they are more than 12 weeks pregnant to ensure the procedure is as safe as possible. A few patients will be given a pill to take on the morning of the surgery, but most will need to have dilators placed in their cervix the day before. This process takes two days. The first day, you will meet the team in our office. If you choose to proceed with termination, we will give you numbing medicine and place dilators. You will be able to drive yourself home and we recommend taking the rest of the day off from work to rest. The following day, you will meet the anesthesiologist in the hospital and be sedated and completely asleep for the procedure. You will need a driver to take you home after the procedure on day two.

Induction termination on labor and delivery (L&D)

Induction termination is an option for patients with fetal anomalies (complications) or fetal demise who are 18 to 23 weeks pregnant. You will first be seen in the office and given a medication. One to two days later, you will go to the hospital for labor and delivery and you will receive more medication to induce a delivery.

Grief counseling and support groups

Frequently asked questions

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of induction vs. surgery if you have fetal anomalies?

A: This is a very personal decision and we will support you in whatever you choose. During your visit, you and your doctor will discuss and make sure that you are safe for either a surgical procedure or induction.

Reasons people choose a surgical procedure

  • This is a quicker procedure.
  • You can be asleep.
  • You can avoid labor and delivery.
  • You may still choose to have footprints and a cremation and receive the ashes if you choose. (We will help you get information on this.)
  • If you do not want to choose a funeral home, you do not have to.
  • It is slightly safer than an induction termination for women who have had prior surgeries and some other conditions. (Your doctor will describe this in more depth for you.)

Reasons people choose an induction

  • If you want, you may see and hold your baby.
  • You can get footprints and photos.
  • You must choose a funeral to arrange for a burial or cremation if you are more than 20 weeks  pregnant. (We will help you get information about this.)
  • You may choose to have an autopsy.
  • You avoid a surgical procedure.

Q: What is the Paloma Comfort Care Program?

A: The UCI Health Paloma Comfort Care Program was designed to help patients and families whose babies have been diagnosed with lethal anomalies (life-threatening conditions that mean the infant may not live for very long, if at all).

UCI Health has a devoted group of caregivers and coordinators who will help prepare you and care for you during and after your delivery.

Q: What will happen at my visit for pregnancy termination?

A: Your doctor will:

  • Learn about your medical history.
  • Determine how far along your pregnancy is (either by ultrasound or reviewing outside records if you have already had an ultrasound).
  • Discuss all your options, including continuing your pregnancy, terminating now, waiting to make a decision or possibly seeing another specialist.
  • If you choose to proceed with termination, we will discuss the surgical and induction termination methods.
  • Discuss your future pregnancy goals.

Q: Will I be able to have children after an abortion?

A: Yes, abortion is very safe. Barring any rare complication, most women go on to have a normal pregnancy after abortion, if they choose to do so. Abortions do not cause breast cancer, depression or affect future fertility.

Q: Will my milk come in?

A: Usually your breasts may become more full, tender and hard after the procedure if your pregnancy is farther along at the time of the procedure or if you have breastfeed a baby before.

To minimize this, wear a tight-fitting sports bra 24 hours a day after the procedure. Ibuprofen and ice can help reduce pain and swelling. Lastly, minimize touching your breasts. Any breast stimulation will increase the production of the hormone that causes you to make milk.

Breast tenderness usually improves within seven to 10 days of the procedure.

Q: How long do we have to wait to try to get pregnant again?

A: We used to tell patients that they should wait at least three menstrual cycles before trying to get pregnant again. We now know that there is no harm in trying to get pregnant earlier. It is therefore up to you to decide what is best for you and your current situation.

Q: How long will I bleed and when will I get my next period?

A: It is normal for a woman to bleed on and off for up to four weeks after a procedure. The blood can be red, black, brown or even yellow. It may come and go and be light or heavy.

As long as you are not using more than two menstrual pads an hour over a period of two hours, and you are not worried about the bleeding, there is no cause for concern. If any amount worries you, call 714-456-2911 or come to the office. It may take one to two months to get your next period.

Q: How long is the pre-operative visit?

A: One to three hours

Q: How long will I be in at the hospital on the day of my surgery?

A: Usually you will be in the hospital for four to six hours.

Make an Appointment

714-456-7188

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