What Are the Different Types of Abortion?
Think you might be pregnant? If this is something you weren’t expecting or planning for, it’s understandable to be a little overwhelmed or have a lot going through your mind.You probably didn’t realize that there are different types of abortions. If you’re considering your options – including abortion – be sure you take the time to gather all the information you need to make an informed, confident choice.
Abortion is a medical procedure, and you deserve to put your health first by gathering all the information before taking your next steps. There are two main types of abortion, and each has associated risks and medical details you should know about.
Types of Abortion: Medical Abortion
Medical or medication abortion, which is commonly referred to as the abortion pill, is actually a two-step process involving two separate medications. This medication process is approved by the FDA for the termination of early pregnancies, up to 10 weeks gestation.
The first dose of the abortion pill process, mifepristone, works to block the pregnancy hormone progesterone, causing the pregnancy to detach from the uterus and stop growing. Several hours or sometimes up to a day later (depending on the prescribed regimen), the second dose, misoprostol, is taken to produce cramping and contractions in the uterus, expelling the pregnancy and remaining tissue through the vagina.
What Are the Risks of Medical Abortion?
When taking any medication, you should be fully aware of the associated risks and side effects associated with this type of abortion. A medical abortion may seem simple and easy through just taking a few pills, but it is a serious medical undertaking. The following are potential physical risks of medical abortion, as quoted by the Mayo Clinic:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
It’s also important to note that finding out key facts about your pregnancy situation with a medical professional in person is key to reducing your risk. For instance, as the abortion pill is only recommended and approved for the termination of early pregnancies up to 10 weeks, taking these medications without confirming your pregnancy dating could put you at risk of incomplete abortion or further complications.
Proceeding with your next steps without an ultrasound could also miss other complications such as ectopic pregnancy, a medical emergency that would not be resolved by abortion medications and would require immediate attention.
Types of Abortion: Surgical Abortion
This type of abortion is an in-clinic medical procedure typically used for the termination of later pregnancies, performed by a physician or abortion provider. While there are several different types of surgical abortion, one of the more common is dilation & curettage (D&C).
In a D&C procedure, the physician or provider first opens or “dilates” the cervix using medication or medical instruments. After this, the doctor will use medical instruments – such as a tool known as a “curette” – to scrape or lightly suction the fetus and tissue from the uterus, terminating the pregnancy.
These in-clinic procedures are more involved and have higher potential risks than medication abortion. Often, some form of sedation is used, and these procedures typically have a higher monetary cost.
What Are the Risks of Surgical Abortion?
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential physical risks associated with this type of abortion:
- Perforation (tearing or puncture) of the uterus
- Damage to the cervix
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
- Excessive bleeding
- Dizziness or fever
- Severe cramping
It’s also worth noting that the later in pregnancy, the higher the risks associated with surgical abortion procedures. Later surgical abortion procedures may also have a higher cost and longer procedure and recovery time.
How Do I Know What Choice is Best for Me?
Navigating a pregnancy decision is not an easy road – but you don’t have to walk it alone. It’s important to take the time to gather all the facts and consider your options. Here at Life Line, we’re here to help you in that journey.
One of the best things you can do first is to receive an ultrasound exam. This in-person appointment can answer many important questions about your unique needs that can help guide your next steps. This appointment can also help discover potential complications (like ectopic pregnancy). In addition, it accurately dates your pregnancy so you know what options may be available to you.
Our caring medical staff at Life Line would be honored to assist you. We’ll provide a confirmation of your pregnancy and an ultrasound exam, at no cost to you. Schedule your free appointment today to get your questions answered.