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Fetal Anomalies FAQ

At the UCI Health Women's Options Center (WOC), we are dedicated to caring for women who are facing a pregnancy with fetal anomalies. Here are answers to questions our patients frequently ask us.

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.

For more information, please call 714-456-8179. To make an appointment, call 714-456-7188.

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