When facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering abortion, it’s important to take time to learn about the various types of abortion procedures.
In this blog, we will be covering medical abortions and the different types of surgical abortions, as well as the side effects and risks you may encounter with each type of abortion.
Medical Abortion Procedure
How do medical abortions work?
A medical abortion procedure, also called the abortion pill, is a type of abortion that utilizes medication to end a pregnancy.
In a medical abortion procedure, an abortion provider will prescribe the first pill, Mifepristone. This pill is used to prevent the body from producing progesterone, the hormone that allows the pregnancy to grow. Without the supply of progesterone, the pregnancy will end.
After the pregnancy has been terminated, the patient will take Misoprostol at home. This drug causes contractions and forces the pregnancy from the uterus through a process of cramping and bleeding.
Medical abortions are only available in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Are there side effects and risks related to medical abortion?
Yes — medical abortion pills may be accompanied by various side effects and more serious health risks.
While some bleeding and cramping can be expected as the pregnancy is forced from the uterus, women may also experience other side effects like nausea, fever, vomiting, dizziness, chills, weakness, diarrhea, and headaches.
In addition to these side effects, some women report experiencing more long-term health risks related to the abortion pill, including infection, sepsis, and hemorrhaging.
Surgical Abortion Procedure
How does a surgical abortion procedure work?
The process of a surgical abortion procedure is a type of abortion that you may qualify for depending on how far along your pregnancy has progressed at the time of the procedure.
There are two forms of first-trimester abortions — Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) and Suction Curettage.
In a D&C abortion procedure, the abortion provider will dilate the cervix and then empty the contents of the uterus using a tool called a curette. This form of abortion takes place within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
In a Suction Curettage abortion, the abortion provider will use a suctioning device to pull apart and remove the fetal tissue. The uterus will then be scraped to ensure there is no tissue remaining. This procedure is typically available within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Those seeking abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy (or within 13 and 24 weeks) would undergo a procedure called Dilation and Evacuation, or D&E. A D&E abortion requires that the abortion provider dilate the cervix, break apart the fetus into smaller pieces, and then scrape the tissue and bones from the uterus.
Are there side effects and risks related to surgical abortions?
Yes —a surgical abortion procedure will likely result in similar side effects as the abortion pill, including nausea, vomiting, bleeding, cramping, and dizziness.
In addition to these side effects, women sometimes report experiencing severe health risks following surgical abortion procedures including infections, hemorrhaging, sepsis, and lacerations to reproductive organs.
How to decide if abortion is right for you
In order to make an informed decision for your pregnancy, we recommend taking time to gather as much information as possible regarding your pregnancy, the different types of abortion procedures, and all other options and resources available to you.
Visit Mosaic Health for lab-quality pregnancy testing and an ultrasound scan to confirm your pregnancy, understand your potential health risks, and determine how far along you are. Knowing this information will provide you and your doctor with the insight you need to determine if abortion is right for you.
Schedule your free pre-abortion screenings today at Mosaic Health!