Perhaps you just got that first positive pregnancy test result, and you’re anxious thinking through all the possibilities. You’re not alone; take a moment to take a deep breath and think through your options. 

If you’re considering abortion, you deserve to know all the facts about your options before making the choice. Your health is important – make sure you take the time to get the answers you need. Similar to other medical procedures or medications, any method of abortion involves associated risks and potential side effects that you should know about. 

What is the Abortion Pill? 

The abortion pill, also known as RU-486, medication abortion, or a medical abortion, is actually a two-step process involving two doses of medication. 

Mifespristone, the first dose, blocks the hormone progesterone, keeping the pregnancy from growing and preventing implantation in the uterus. The second dose, misoprostol, taken many hours laters, causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy through the vagina. 

It is highly recommended to seek medical attention for a follow-up appointment about a week later to ensure the abortion is complete and no further complications are present. The abortion pill is approved by the FDA only for the termination of early pregnancies (up to 10 weeks). 

What are the Risks of the Abortion Pill? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are potential physical risks of a medication abortion:

  • Incomplete abortion
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding 
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work

What is Surgical Abortion? 

For pregnancies later than 10 weeks where the abortion pill is no longer an option, surgical abortion may be considered. This is an in-clinic procedure, typically used for pregnancies up to 20 weeks. 

Dilation & curettage, otherwise known as a D&C, is an abortion procedure using either medication or medical instruments to open (dilate) the cervix. The pregnancy is then removed through a physician utilizing a tool called a curette to scrape or lightly suction out the fetus and any remaining uterine tissue. 

Because a surgical abortion is an in-patient procedure later in pregnancy, it may involve sedation such as general anesthesia. This procedure is also a significantly higher cost than other forms of abortion. 

What Are the Risks of Surgical Abortion? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, associated risks of surgical abortion procedures may include:

  • Perforation (tearing or puncture) of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Dizziness or fever 
  • Severe cramping 

It’s also worth noting that in addition to the potential physical risks of either method of abortion, some women experience emotional or psychological effects following a medication abortion as well. Some lasting mental health effects have been reported that you might want to consider. The Mayo Clinic quotes, “having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences”. 

How Do I Know What Pregnancy Option Is Best for Me?  

If you are pondering the types of abortion in order to know what method you might be eligible for, you will first want to know how far along you are in your pregnancy. You will also want to know if abortion is an option for you, or if other complications – such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy – might be a concern. 

The best way to get the answers to these questions is through an ultrasound. Getting an ultrasound from a medical professional can help you know what options are best for you and your health. 
All of our medical services and supportive resources are available at no cost to you. We’re here to help; you’re not alone as you navigate this decision. Schedule your free appointment today to get your questions answered.