Aftercare Instructions for Laminaria Insertion

At South Avenue Women’s Services, we pride ourselves in providing a variety of health care and procedural options for women in need, including laminaria care and procedure for not only Rochester, NY but the surrounding areas as well.

What is a laminaria?

Laminaria are thin rods or sticks of sterile seaweed, approximately the size of a matchstick. We insert laminaria into the cervix. There they swell gently in the moist environment, dilating the cervix. After we insert laminaria, the cervix reaches maximal dilation the next day.

Why are laminaria used?

They dilate the cervix overnight. In very early pregnancies, laminaria are not necessary, but if the pregnancy is slightly more advanced, then it may be necessary to dilate the cervix more for the abortion procedure to be safe and effective. We typically place laminaria for pregnancies greater than ten weeks in duration. One or two laminaria may be used depending on how far along the pregnancy is. When the woman comes back the next day for the abortion, further dilation is unnecessary. This means that the procedure itself is quicker and easier. Laminaria insertion is the beginning of the abortion process.

What should you expect after laminaria insertion?

Most women feel light cramping after the laminaria insertion. If the cramping is bothersome, you may take Advil, Motrin, or Tylenol. Many women feel nothing at all. There may be slight bleeding, although we place a sponge in the vagina to hold the laminaria in place, and it usually retains any bleeding that might occur. Occasionally the laminaria and sponge may fall out during the night. This is not usually a problem. It simply indicates that dilation in the cervix has occurred. If it should fall out simply dispose of it in the trash, and notify us when you come in for the procedure.

What should you do or not do with the laminaria in place?

You may go about all your normal activities. You may work, go to school, exercise, bathe, or do anything else that you normally do.You should not have intercourse, douche, or put anything in the vagina such as a tampon.

How do you remove laminaria?

The doctor removes the laminaria and sponge with the fingers before performing the abortion procedure.

What are the risks of laminaria?

Laminaria have been in use for many years and the risks are very low. However, there are several theoretical risks. Infection is the greatest risk. If the laminaria is in place for over 24 hours, infection is a real possibility. We will remove the laminaria in 24 hours whether you decide to go ahead with the abortion or not! Perforation is another risk.

What should you do if you are unable to keep the appointment for the abortion?

We must remove the laminaria within 24 hours of insertion. It is very important for you to keep your appointment for the abortion, after laminaria insertion. However, if you absolutely cannot come in for the appointment, your own doctor can remove it, or you can go to an emergency room. Do not attempt to do it yourself.

What if you change your mind about having an abortion?

We can remove the laminaria and let the pregnancy continue. However, since dilation has occurred in the cervix, the chance of infection or miscarriage is higher than normal. We recommend that you view the laminaria insertion as the beginning of the abortion. If you have doubts about proceeding with the abortion, you should not have the laminaria placed.

For any problems, questions about our laminaria care in the Rochester, NY and surrounding areas, or appointment changes, call us at 585-271-3850.