There are two types of abortion procedures: medical abortion and surgical abortion. If you are considering abortion, it is important to understand these different procedures that might be available to you, depending on the age of your pregnancy. 

A medical-grade pregnancy test with ultrasound can help determine your pregnancy’s age, location, and health, ultimately enabling you to know which options are available. 

Medical Abortion

Also known as the abortion pill, medical abortion is a two-step medication process. Per the FDA safety guidelines, the abortion pill is only available to those with a pregnancy no more than ten weeks along. 

The first medication, mifepristone, works to block the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which causes the uterine wall to become thin, making the embryo detach so it cannot grow. 

The second medication, misoprostol, works to create contractions to expel the ended pregnancy out of the body through the vagina. 

Potential Risks

The Mayo Clinic states the risks associated with taking the abortion pill are: 

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


As previously stated, medical abortion should not be taken after being pregnant for more than ten weeks. According to the Mayo Clinic, additional abortion pill usage disqualifications include, 

  • Having an intrauterine device (IUD) currently in place.
  • Having a suspected pregnancy outside of the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Having certain medical conditions. These include bleeding disorders; particular heart or blood vessel diseases; severe liver, kidney, or lung disease; or an uncontrolled seizure disorder.
  • Taking a blood thinner or certain steroid medicines.
  • Unable to make follow-up visits to your provider or have no access to emergency care.
  • Having an allergy to the medicine used.

Surgical Abortion

There are two types of surgical abortion procedures;  the Dilation and Curettage (D&C) or Dilation & Evacuation (D&E) methods. Both usually begin with a lethal injection to cause the fetus to expire. 

Dilation and Curettage

The D&C method begins by opening the cervix with medication or small surgical instruments. Then with a suction device and a curette, the pregnancy is removed from the body. 

Dilation & Evacuation

Usually, the D&E method also uses surgical instruments to remove the pregnancy from the body. This method is a combination of dilation, curettage, and vacuum aspiration. 


As with any surgical procedure, there are risks to consider. The risks associated with surgical abortion include but are not limited to the following:

  • Perforation of the uterus (a hole in your uterus from the surgical instruments)
  • Damage or tear to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection, though rare, is possible

Are You Still Trying to Figure It Out?

We’re here to listen and help. Contact us today for an appointment for a free medical-grade pregnancy test and an ultrasound to learn more about your options. This can be a difficult time, but you’re not alone. We want to ensure all of your questions are answered so that you can feel confident in your decision.