Not a lot is discussed about actual abortion procedures. You hear about different points of view, Supreme Court cases, and women’s rights, but how much do you know about what happens during an abortion? Are there any risks?

If you’re considering abortion for your unplanned pregnancy, you ought to know about the procedures, side effects, and potential risks beforehand. We’ll let the experts answer some of your questions.

The Two Different Types of Abortion

There are two main types of abortion methods, medical and surgical. Which procedure you qualify for is determined by how long you’ve been pregnant. The FDA has only approved the abortion pill method (medical abortion) up to 70 days past the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). Do you know when you got pregnant?

Surgical abortion is usually performed once you’re past 10 weeks of pregnancy. It’s necessary to have a surgical abortion because the fetus is much larger.

How Does The Abortion Pill Method Work?

Women automatically produce a hormone called progesterone. When a woman gets pregnant, her body increases the production of progesterone rapidly. The embryo needs this hormone to attach and grow (viability) in the uterus. 

The abortion pill method uses two powerful drugs taken over a 24 to 48 hour period to end your pregnancy. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks progesterone from being absorbed in the uterus which means the pregnancy can no longer stay attached and continue growing. 

The second drug, misoprostol, causes the uterus to contract so the pregnancy is expelled from your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the side effects and risks of medical abortion:

Side Effects:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal cramping 
  • Nausea with possible vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

Risks:

  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection with a foul-smelling discharge
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Digestive system discomfort

What Happens During A Surgical Abortion?

There are different surgical abortion methods determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy. All of them require some form of anesthesia. The cervix also needs to be dilated (opened) according to the size of the pregnancy.

If you’re near the 10-week cut-off for a medical abortion, they would perform Vacuum Aspiration. It works like a vacuum to suck out the pregnancy and all tissue. If you’re a little farther along, you would most likely have a dilation and curettage (D & C). This method can use vacuum aspiration, but it usually requires the use of a scraping tool to remove all of the tissue too.

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential risks of a D & C:

  • Perforation of the uterus because of the surgical instruments
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection

Finally, you may require dilation and evacuation (D & E) which combines vacuum aspiration, a curette to scrape the lining of the uterus, and the use of forceps to remove larger parts of your pregnancy. 

Before You Schedule Your Abortion

Pregnancy Resources of Abilene doesn’t perform or refer for abortions but we will provide you with the testing and information you need if you choose to obtain one.

We’ll confirm the results of your at-home pregnancy test with one of our free tests. If the result is positive, we’ll determine if you need an ultrasound. This will show you how long you’ve been pregnant and if your pregnancy is even viable or you’ve had a natural miscarriage. 

Never feel like you have to make this decision on your own. We’re here to help every step of the way. Contact us today so you can get the information you need to make a confident choice.