If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you’re likely trying to learn more about the options available to you. Making an informed decision for your pregnancy includes gathering all of the information you can. For those considering abortion, it’s important to take time to understand the types of procedures you might be eligible for.

We’re breaking down the common types of abortion and the side effects and risks you may encounter with each.

Medical Abortion

How does the abortion pill work?

The abortion pill, also known as a medical abortion, can be used in the first 10 weeks of gestation. It utilizes two medications — Mifepristone and Misoprostol — to terminate pregnancies.

Mifepristone is first used to end the pregnancy by preventing the body’s production of progesterone. Without progesterone, the pregnancy will not receive the nutrients and support it needs to survive. 24-48 hours later, the patient will take Misoprostol, which will empty the uterus through a process of contractions and heavy bleeding.

Are there any side effects and risks of the abortion pill?

With medical abortions, women can expect to experience heavy cramping and bleeding as they pass the pregnancy tissue from the uterus. In addition to these side effects, women may experience the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches

Some women experience severe health risks associated with taking Mifepristone and Misoprostol. These risks include infection, sepsis, and hemorrhaging.

When considering taking the abortion pill we recommend finding out all the information you can about your situation. This may include undergoing an ultrasound scan to see if you are within the dates that you can still take the abortion pill, and STI testing — both of which are available for free at North Care Women’s Clinic.

Surgical Abortion

How do surgical abortions work?

There are different types of surgical abortion procedures and your eligibility for each will depend on the gestational age of your pregnancy.

First-Trimester Abortions

Dilatation and Curettage (D&C)

In D&C abortions, the cervix is dilated and the pregnancy tissue is scraped from the uterus. This procedure can be performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Suction Curettage

This process is similar to the D&C procedure, but instead of using a scraping method, a suctioning device is used to pull apart the pregnancy tissue and empty the uterus. The abortionist will then typically use a scraping tool to ensure there is no tissue remaining in the uterus.

This procedure can be performed up until the 14th week of gestation.

Second-Trimester Abortions

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

A D&E abortion can be performed between 13 and 24 weeks. Because the pregnancy is too large to be suctioned from the uterus, the abortion provider will dilate the cervix and break apart the fetal tissue and bones using forceps.

Once the pregnancy tissue has been broken apart, a scraping method will be used to remove the tissue from the uterus.

Third Trimester Abortions

Late-Term Abortions

In a late-term abortion, the fetus will first be injected with a pharmacologic agent to cause fetal demise. The uterus will then be stretched, the amniotic sac removed, and the procedure will be completed with an evacuation process as described above.

What are the side effects and risks of surgical abortions?

Women can expect to experience side effects related to surgical abortion, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

In addition to these common side effects, women may encounter more serious medical complications.

Surgical abortion complications can include hemorrhaging, lacerations to the cervix, perforation of the uterus, and infections. If left untreated, these risks can lead to long-term health consequences and even death.

What To Do Before You Schedule Your Abortion Appointment

Before you decide what type of abortion is right for you, we recommend taking advantage of the free and confidential pregnancy health services at North Care Women’s Clinic. We provide free pregnancy testing, ultrasound scans, STI testing, and medical consultations, all free of charge!

These services provide valuable information for women making an abortion decision. An ultrasound can tell you if the pregnancy is viable. This is important because if you are miscarrying you may not even need an abortion. An ultrasound can also tell you how far along you are, which would determine which type of abortion you would get, and the cost. STI testing is important, as getting an abortion with a chlamydia or gonorrhea infection can negatively affect your future reproductive health because the infection can move up the reproductive tract and cause pelvic inflammatory disease.

Schedule an Appointment

Many women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy find our services helpful when making a decision.

Schedule your appointment today!