What is abortion?

Abortion is a serious medical procedure that ends a pregnancy. Different types of abortions are used in different stages of the pregnancy, and each come with side effects and risks. Before choosing abortion, it’s important to understand how it works and all the potential short-term and long-term consequences so you can make a fully-informed decision.

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion goes by many names: Medication abortion, medical abortion, the abortion pill. All refer to the same type of abortion. A medical abortion involves taking two drugs to end and expel a pregnancy. The pills are prescribed by a doctor at a clinic. This type of abortion is only available through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

The first drug, mifepristone, is typically taken at the clinic. It ends the pregnancy by blocking your body’s production of progesterone, also known as the “pregnancy hormone.” Without this hormone, the pregnancy cannot grow, so mifepristone causes fetal demise.

The second drug, misoprostol, is taken at home between 24-48 hours after mifepristone. It will cause  contractions to expel the fetal tissue from the uterus. You may experience fatigue, fever, blood clotting, and extreme cramping during this phase of the abortion. 

A follow up visit to the doctor’s office or clinic where you got the pills is necessary two weeks after the abortion to ensure it was successful.

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is available throughout pregnancy. Different methods are utilized during different trimesters. It is more invasive than a medical abortion and requires time spent in the clinic to complete the abortion.

Most surgical abortion procedures involve inserting a tube into the uterus. At the end of the tube is a suction device that will pull out the fetal tissue. Once removed, the doctor will use tools to scrape the inside of the uterus to ensure all tissue was removed.

The recovery time after a surgical abortion varies depending on how far along you are in the pregnancy.

Abortion Side Effects

As with all medical and surgical procedures, abortion comes with a number of risks and side effects. The Mayo Clinic lists the following side effects of a medical abortion.

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

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

Normal side effects after an abortion include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sore breasts
  • Fatigue

The Mayo Clinic also lists the following side effects of surgical abortion:

  • Bleeding, including blood clots 
  • Cramping 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Feeling faint

Additional risks to watch out for:

  • Bleeding that’s heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
  • Fever
  • Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
  • Pain that gets worse instead of better
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection 

Before Your Abortion

Before your abortion, it’s important to gather critical information about your pregnancy.

First, you’ll need an ultrasound to determine how far along you are, where the pregnancy is located, and if the pregnancy is viable. All of these factors will determine if you are eligible for an abortion, and if so, what kind.

Second, you’ll want to schedule STI testing. Untreated STIs can cause problems with future fertility and also pose threats to your current pregnancy or abortion.

Finally, make sure you take the time to fully examine all of your options. Many women rush to get an abortion they later regret because it’s not really what they wanted. If you’re feeling pressured to abort, know that your pregnancy decision is yours alone to make.

We offer all of the above pregnancy services free of charge so you can make an empowered choice. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.