There are two different forms of abortion, medical and surgical. Which kind is available to you depends on the stage of your pregnancy and other factors. Learning about the different procedures is an excellent way to prioritize your health and make an informed decision.
Sometimes called the abortion pill, a medical abortion uses two drugs to terminate a viable pregnancy. After determining via ultrasound that a woman qualifies for a medical abortion, she is given the first drug, mifepristone, to block the absorption of progesterone, a hormone the body needs to grow a pregnancy. After taking the first drug at the provider’s office, the woman is advised to take the second drug, misoprostol, at home. This drug stimulates uterine contractions causing the pregnancy to exit the body through cramping and vaginal bleeding.
Medical abortions are only FDA-approved in pregnancies under 10 weeks.
Like every medical procedure, medical abortion has risks. The risks of medical abortion are:
- Incomplete abortion (may need to be followed by surgical abortion)
- An ongoing pregnancy
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
Any woman obtaining a medical abortion should understand the risks and be aware of the symptoms of complications. She will need to monitor herself for complications and seek medical attention if she has any of the following:
- Severe bleeding — soaking more than two thick pads within an hour
- Fever that lasts more than 24 hours
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Severe abdominal or back pain
- No period after two months
- Symptoms of pregnancy
A surgical abortion is an outpatient procedure that takes place at a provider’s office. During a surgical abortion, tools open the cervix to allow surgical instruments into the uterus. The pregnancy is then removed using tools and suction.
The risks of medical abortion include:
A tear in the uterus (uterine perforation)
As in medical abortions, women are sent home to recover from surgical abortion, so a woman must monitor herself for the following symptoms and seek medical attention if she has any of the following:
- Abdominal (belly) pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe cramps
- Unusual or bad-smelling discharge
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For more information, contact us to schedule a no-cost appointment. Confirm your pregnancy and learn more about your options in a judgment-free space.