There are two main types of abortion: medical and surgical. Each procedure has a different method that works to terminate an existing pregnancy. 

Here are the two methods that end a pregnancy and the risks to consider.

Two Types of Abortion 

1. Medical Abortion 

Medical abortion incorporates two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, that terminate a pregnancy. 

First, mifepristone blocks progesterone. Second, misoprostol causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy. 

Medical abortion may come with side effects such as nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, headache, and diarrhea. Common physical risks of this procedure include:

  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • An ongoing pregnancy (if the procedure doesn’t work)
  • An incomplete abortion (which may need to be followed by surgical abortion)

2. Surgical Abortion 

A surgical abortion is a much more invasive process, including dilation of the cervix and a combination of tools and suction. A woman may have a D&C (dilation and curettage) or a D&E (dilation and evacuation), depending on how far she is in pregnancy. 

Surgical procedures are very similar in the way they are done and share possible risks, including:

  • Damage to the uterus or cervix
  • Uterine perforation 
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes
  • Scarring of the inside of the uterus
  • Reaction to the medicines or anesthesia, such as problems breathing
  • Not removing all of the tissue, which requires another procedure

Confirm Your Pregnancy Details

Confirming your pregnancy details before moving forward with any pregnancy decision is important. 

We offer free pregnancy confirmation appointments so you can begin getting clarity and determine your options. Schedule one today. We’re here for you.

“Medical Abortion.” Mayo Clinic,

“Abortion – surgical.” Medline Plus,