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Manual Vacuum Aspiration
 
 

Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) – one of the safest medical procedures – is one of several options a woman has to end a pregnancy up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy.  Better ultrasound imaging and more sensitive pregnancy tests which can detect pregnancy at an earlier stage, make it a good option.

Frequently Asked Questions about Manual Vacuum Aspiration

What is Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)?

When can MVA be used to terminate a pregnancy?

How effective is MVA at terminating pregnancy?

Who can offer MVA?

How is MVA different from other early abortion techniques?

What are the side effects of MVA?

Don't see your question here? Let us know.

What is Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)?
MVA is performed with the use of a handheld syringe as a source of suction for removing uterine contents.[1]  The procedure time is 5–15 minutes and is performed in settings such as a doctor's office, clinic or emergency room.   Providers may use ultrasound to confirm that a woman is pregnant or that the MVA was successful.  A patient typically leaves a doctor’s office or a clinic within two hours.  The World Health Organization recommends that all women receive pain management prior to MVA.[2] Analgesics (such as ibuprofen) and local anesthesia are sufficient to manage pain, although pain may increase with gestational age.  General anesthesia is not recommended for abortion procedures. 

For more information on what to expect during the procedure, click here.

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When can MVA be used to terminate a pregnancy?
It can be used to induce abortion in a woman as early as three weeks after the beginning of her last menstrual cycle and up to 12 weeks gestation.[3] MVA is also an important tool for providing emergency care for women with incomplete induced or spontaneous abortions.

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How effective is MVA at terminating pregnancy?
MVA successfully ends first trimester pregnancies 99.5% of the time and carries a minor complication rate of 0.01%. For the 0.5% times the procedure fails, it is repeated.

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Who can offer MVA?
Qualified health care providers, including physicians and mid-level providers, can offer MVA to their patients.  A study by the University of California San Francisco has demonstrated that nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants can be trained to provide MVA.[4] 

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How is MVA different from other early abortion techniques? [5]
Compared with a medical abortion, MVA reported success rates are higher, the procedure is shorter and completed in a predictable period, fewer office visits are needed, and the cost is lower.  MVA is quieter than electric suction techniques.  Also, by using a gentler, handheld syringe, the gestational sac comes out intact so pregnancy termination can be confirmed.

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What are the side effects of MVA? [6]
Common side effects include abdominal cramping or pain and bleeding, and possibly nausea and sweating. Women may also experience spotting for two weeks following the procedure.  Major complications are very rare, but can include uterine or cervical perforation, pelvic infection and excess bleeding.

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[1] ARHP. (2009). Health Matters Fact Sheets- Seeking early abortion services.  Retrieved June 15, 2012, from https://www.arhp.org/Publications-and-Resources/Patient-Resources/Fact-Sheets/Early-Abortion.

[2] World Health Organization. (2012).  Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems.  Retrieved June 13, 2012, from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/70914/1/9789241548434_eng.pdf.

[3] ARHP. (2009). Health Matters Fact Sheets- Seeking early abortion services. Retrieved June 15, 2012, from https://www.arhp.org/Publications-and-Resources/Patient-Resources/Fact-Sheets/Early-Abortion.

[4] California Program on Access to Care. (2011).   Increasing Access to Health Care in California with Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse-Midwives, and Physician Assistants: A Demonstration Project in Early Abortion Care.  Retrieved June 13, 2012, from http://cpac.berkeley.edu/uploads/documents/Weitz%20Findings%20Final.pdf.

[5] Aggarwal, S. (2011). Cervical priming with misoprostol before manual vacuum aspiration versus electric vacuum aspiration for first-trimester surgical abortion. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 112(1), 34-39.

[6] University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. (2012). Manual Vacuum Aspiration. Retrieved June 8, 2012,  from http://obgyn.med.miami.edu/reproductive-health/manual-vacuum-aspiration.

 
Resources
Quick Reference Guide on Manual Vacuum Aspiration from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
(See also PDF, 111KB)
Ipas
Ipas has worked for three decades to increase women's ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights and to reduce deaths and injuries of women from unsafe abortion. Ipas's global and country programs include training, research, advocacy, distribution of equipment and supplies for reproductive-health care, and information dissemination.
 
 
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