Learn About Your Options

Unbiased education for an informed decision.

Learning you are pregnant can be overwhelming, especially when unplanned. A woman has the option to carry her pregnancy to term and to parent, to carry her pregnancy to term and make an adoption plan, or to terminate her pregnancy. We offer accurate information of all options and support to those facing this decision.


Types of Abortions

If you are considering an abortion, it is important to know the medically accurate information regarding all abortion types.


Abortion Pill vs. Plan B and Morning After Pill

Not sure which pill does what? There is a difference and it matters.


Parenting

If you are pregnant and considering parenting, we can help. Parenting requires caring for your child from birth until young adulthood. We are here to equip and encourage anyone who lacks support or resources to raise their child.


Making an Adoption Plan

If you are considering adoption, you may have many questions, and we can help. Our staff is prepared to resource and inform you about this brave decision. 

Types of Abortion

Medication Abortion

(under 10 weeks pregnant)

A medication abortion is sometimes called a medical or chemical abortion and often referred to as simply the “abortion pill.” This is NOT the same as Plan B or the morning after pill. 

Surgical Abortion

(1st & 2nd Trimester*)

There are two different types of surgical abortions, depending on the length of pregnancy. *Abortion providers may differ on length of pregnancy and available options. 

Medication Abortion

(Under 10 weeks pregnant)
A medication abortion is sometimes called a medical or chemical and often referred to as simply the “abortion pill.” This is NOT the same as Plan B or the morning after pill.

A medication abortion is a two-part, pill regimen using the drugs Miepfrex (Mifepristone) and Misoprostol (Cytotec). Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to thin and preventing the growing fetus from staying implanted and thriving. Progesterone is an essential hormone in pregnancy, and without it, the pregnancy cannot survive.

Misoprostol a different kind of medication that causes the uterus to contract and expel the fetus and pregnancy contents through the vagina. To better understand its purpose, Misoprostol is the labor-inducing drug commonly given to women in active labor to cause their cervix to expand and powerfully contract.

During this type of abortion, you will likely take the first pill, Mifepristone, in a clinic setting. 24-48 hours later, you will be instructed to take the labor-inducing medication, Misoprostol, by mouth at home without medical supervision. Shortly after taking the second drug, you will experience heavy cramping, bleeding and the expulsion of the pregnancy. Many women choose to do this in the bathroom, either in the bathtub or over the toilet. Another in-person appointment should be scheduled one-two weeks later to ensure all contents of the pregnancy and fetus were expelled from your uterus, as infection is possible. Though some websites claim to be able to order and ship abortion medication, via the mail, to your home, this is not safe. You should consult with a medical professional before making any pregnancy decision, and avoid ordering abortion pills online.

The medications used in a medical abortion cause vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. They may also cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

Signs and symptoms that may require medical attention after a medication abortion include:

  • Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

After a medication/chemical abortion, you may experience a range of emotion such as loss, sadness, guilt, and even relief. Emotions may be heightened due to the fact that this type of abortion is often completed in a patient’s home and in isolation. Sierra Pregnancy + Health offers free, reproductive grief care support to anyone who has experienced an abortion or other pregnancy loss.

SPH does not provide or refer for abortions.

Abortion Pill vs. Emergency Contraception/Plan B

The “abortion pill” is NOT the same as emergency contraception, which is often called the morning-after pill or by the name-brand version, Plan B One-Step. The “abortion pill” is a term used to describe the two-part medication/chemical abortion process that is actually a combination of two drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol.

Abortion pills are given to end and expel a confirmed pregnancy between 4-10 weeks gestation, after fetal development has already begun, and after an ultrasound is performed. This is an actual type of abortion that is not available as an over-the-counter drug at a pharmacy, and it does not prevent a pregnancy, it ends a pregnancy.

Emergency contraception is commonly referred to as “the morning-after pill” and by the name-brand version, Plan B One-Step. Emergency ontraception is NOT the abortion pill, as the drug is taken orally soon after unprotected sex and before pregnancy is ever confirmed.

Emergency contraception, like Plan B One-Step, does not end a pregnancy that has already implanted in the uterus. This drug can, however, interfere with a fertilized egg implanting, which is why some people consider the medication morally wrong.

Emergency contraception, unlike the “abortion pill,” contains the hormone progestin, which makes implantation and pregnancy difficult to occur. It is available at retail pharmacies without a prescription and can reduce the potential for a pregnancy from occurring/implanting in the uterus if taken within five days (120 hours) after unprotected intercourse.

Abortion Pill Reversal

If you have taken the first abortion pill (RU 486 / Mifepristone) and are having second thoughts or feelings of regret, we may be able to help. Using progesterone, many medical professionals have been able to successfully halt a medication abortion and save 64-68% of pregnancies through the abortion pill reversal regimen.

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is an option during the first and second trimester of pregnancy (early and later on). There are two primary types of surgical abortion procedures, and unlike medication/chemical abortion, surgical abortions are performed in a clinic setting and are available after 10 weeks of pregnancy. It is important to know that all abortion types first require an ultrasound to confirm gestational age (weeks of pregnancy) and viability. Sierra Pregnancy + Health offers free-of-charge ultrasounds.

Suction abortion (also called vacuum aspiration) is a common type of surgical abortion up until about the 14th week of pregnancy, and the procedure generally lasts 10-15 minutes.

During this process, the patient will first lie on an exam room table and place their feet in stirrups, similar to a pelvic exam. You may choose to either be sedated or not. When ready, the abortion provider will insert a tool called a speculum into the vagina to keep it open, and swab the vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution called Betadine. A numbing agent will also be injected into the cervix. To begin the abortion, a suction machine or smaller, hand-held syringe will be inserted through the vagina and into up into the uterus to remove the growing fetus and pregnancy contents.

Afterward, your doctor will check to make sure that the procedure was successful, and then let you rest for about 30 minutes under observation.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is the second type of surgical abortion procedure and it generally lasts 30-60 minutes. This is generally used after the 14th week of pregnancy, because the cervix now requires dilation. Depending on where you live, there are different legal limits for a surgical abortion procedure. In California, the legal limit for an elective surgical abortion is 20 weeks.

During this process, a device called a cervical (osmotic) dilator is often inserted in the cervix before the procedure to dilate (open) the cervix. Misoprostol may also be administered vaginally several hours before surgery to open the cervix.

To begin, the patient will lie on the exam table with their feet in stirrups, similar to a pelvic exam. A speculum is then inserted and the antibiotic drug and numbing agent will then be administered. If being performed in a hospital setting, a patient may also be given a a spinal anesthesia injection into the fluid around the spinal cord to ease pain.

After the cervix has dilated enough and pain is controlled, the abortion provider will use a tool to grasp the patient`s cervix and hold the uterus in place. A hollow tube called a Cannula, which is attached to a medical vaccum, will be inserted into the uterus and the fetus and pregnancy contents will be removed using suction.

If the patient is further along in pregnancy, the abortion provider may also use forceps to break apart and remove parts of the fetus that cannot be removed using suction. An additional tool called a Curette may be used to gently scrape the lining of the uterus to ensure all tissue is removed.
Irregular bleeding and cramping is expected after an abortion, however abnormal symptoms that require medical attention include:

  • Passing clots that are bigger than a golf ball, lasting 2 or more hours
  • Soaking more than 2 large pads in an hour, for 2 hours in a row
  • Bleeding heavily for 12 hours in a row
  • Bleeding that does not subside after two weeks
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting lasting more than 6 hours
  • Sudden abdominal swelling
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge

Risks of surgical abortions can include:

  • Moderate to severe bleeding (hemorrhage)
  • Injury to the uterine lining or cervix
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • The uterus not contracting (atony)
  • Uterine rupture. In rare cases, a uterine incision scar tears open when a medicine is used to induce contractions
  • Tissue accidentally remaining in the uterus

After a surgical abortion, you may experience a range of emotion such as loss, sadness, guilt, and even relief. Sierra Pregnancy + Health offers free, reproductive grief care support to anyone who has experienced an abortion or other pregnancy loss.

SPH does not provide or refer for abortions.

Adoption

If you are pregnant, abortion is not your only option. Adoption is an honorable choice women make when they cannot, or choose not to, parent but do not want to end their pregnancy.

In an adoption, you as the birth parent will interview, meet with, and select the adoptive family they feel is the best fit for placing their child with. While Sierra Pregnancy + Health does not facilitate adoption, we will encourage and support you in this choice. We will also refer you to local adoption agencies to help you with the entire process.

It is important to understand that modern adoption is much different than the adoption process that existed many years ago. Today, closed adoptions (where birth parents and children have no contact) are more rare, and instead, open adoption or semi-open adoptions have become more common. This means that, as a birth parent, you may receive updates, pictures, and have some communication with the birth child you place into the care of an adoptive family. Each adoption is unique, and this is an agreement all parties can work together to create.

Parenting

If you are pregnant, you have the option to parent your child. Parenting requires caring for your child from birth until young adulthood. This is a brave choice, and we are here to help parents with little to no support, as we believe children thrive best when their parents are educated and equipped. Though challenging, parenting is also rewarding.

Since 1999, Sierra Pregnancy + Health has been offering encouragement and practical resources to individuals in unplanned and unsupported pregnancies who choose to parent their child or children. Our organization offers pregnancy and parenting classes, diapers + wipes + essential baby items, and community referrals to additional organizations.

If you are pregnant and considering parenting as an option but need additional information or support, contact Sierra Pregnancy + Health today.

Getting Care – How It Works

Schedule a FREE Appointment

Our online scheduler allows patients to schedule their free, in-person medical appointment from the comfort of their phone or computer. Simply choose the available date and time that works best for you and follow the prompts to confirm your scheduled time slot.

Patients may also schedule an appointment for medical or resource-based services by calling or texting Sierra Pregnancy + Health at 916-624-8990.

In order to book your appointment, our staff will need basic information including your first and last name, date of birth, phone number, and type of appointment being requested.

Disclaimer: All patients must schedule their own appointment, unless there is a specific need for someone else to do so such as the need for a language interpreter, developmental advocate, or etc. If no special accommodations are required, Sierra Pregnancy + Health cannot schedule appointments for friends and family members of a patient.

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Fill Out Required Paperwork

Once you arrive for your appointment at Sierra Pregnancy + Health, you will be given forms to complete about your medical history, including but not limited to, previous pregnancies, overall health, emotional health, and contact information. All information gathered is kept confidential and never released except upon the proper written authorization from a patient.

A copy of your state-issued identification card, driver’s license, or school ID will also be made and used ONLY for your medical file. If you do not have any form of picture identification, please let the staff know and accommodations will be made for you

All services are free and no insurance card or payment is needed for your appointment.

Meet with a Trained Advocate or Medical Professional

During the first portion of your 30-45 minute appointment, patients will meet with one of our highly trained patient advocate volunteers. These are individuals who are interested in getting to know you and skilled at assessing how our organization can best offer support and meet your needs. Patient advocate volunteers gather information about your situation and do not ask medical questions or give medical advice.

 During the second portion of your 30-45 minute appointment, one of our qualified RNs or OBGYNs will collect a urine sample and perform your medical testing (pregnancy or STI). They will also ask you any relative medical questions and give proper advice and information based on your specific situation and needs.

Free Diapers, Wipes, New Infant Clothing + Parenting Classes

Sierra Pregnancy + Health is dedicated to helping parents before, during, and after pregnancy. If you or someone you know is in need of parenting classes or essential infant items and cannot afford them, contact us today. All resources provided are free of charge.

Have questions? We can help.

To better ensure our patients are accurately informed, we have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions(FAQs) and the corresponding answers.

If you have a question that is not answered here, or if you need additional clarification, please contact us by phone or text at 916-624-8990.

Is there a charge to receive services, or are services based on income?
No. All services at Sierra Pregnancy + Health are free of charge. We do not ever charge patients, and we do not bill for insurance reimbursement.
Do I have to be 18 to receive services?
No, anyone, regardless of age can receive services at Sierra Pregnancy + Health.
What if I don`t have an ID?
Photo identification is needed at the time of your appointment. Photo identification can be a drivers license, state ID, school ID, or etc. If you do not have photo identification, your picture will be taken at the clinic and printed out and placed into your medical file.
Do I have to be a U.S. or California Citizen to receive services?
No, anyone regardless of citizenship status and state/county of residence may receive services.
Is Sierra Pregnancy + Health faith based?
Yes, Sierra Pregnancy + Health is faith based, however, patients do not have to be of any particular religion to receive services. All are welcome.
Does Sierra Pregnancy + Health provide abortion services or the abortion pill?
No, Sierra Pregnancy + Health is a life-affirming, state licensed medical clinic. We do not provide, or refer for, abortion services.
Does Sierra Pregnancy + Health have medical professionals on staff?
Yes, during your appointment, you will meet with a non-medical patient advocate as well as one of our nurses (RN) or physicians. All medical questions and testing are done by licensed medical staff.
If services are free, how is Sierra Pregnancy + Health funded… what is the catch?
There is no “catch.” Sierra Pregnancy + Health is funded privately by committed, generous donors and organizations. SPH receives no state or federal funding. We are proud to remain funded by the community, for the community, and we will never ask you (our patient) to pay for anything.

The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.

Schedule an Appointment

Questions? Email Us.

No matter who you are or what your story is, our doors are always open and our services are always free and confidential.