As with any serious medical procedure, abortion comes with potential physical risks. Here is what you need to know if you’re considering this option.
Safeguard your health by taking the necessary steps to confirm your pregnancy details and determine if you’re eligible for abortion.
The Physical Risks
There are physical risks to both medical and surgical abortion. Each procedure is typically indicated at different points of pregnancy, so gestational age will need to be determined by an ultrasound.
1. Medical Abortion
Also called the abortion pill, medical abortion includes two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol, that work to terminate the pregnancy. Since medical abortion is done at home, understanding the risks is important. Possible risks of this type of abortion include:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
2. Surgical Abortion
Surgical abortion includes opening the cervix so that a medical instrument can enter the uterus to remove the pregnancy. This more invasive type of abortion is typically completed through suction with a vacuum or scraping with a surgical tool.
Possible risks are more serious and include:
- Cervical damage
- Uterine perforation (which is when the medical instrument pokes a hole in the wall of the uterus)
- Cervical scarring (which can cause painful menstrual periods)
Why An Ultrasound Matters
Before an abortion, an ultrasound should be obtained to protect your health. An ultrasound confirms viability (whether you have a healthy and growing pregnancy), pregnancy location (if it’s growing inside the uterus), and how far along you are (which plays a part in determining what type of abortion you’re eligible for).