If you’re facing an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, you may be considering an abortion. You probably have a lot of questions about the various procedures like, “How much does an abortion cost?” “Is abortion legal in my state?” and “Where is the nearest abortion clinic to me?”
You may also be wondering if abortion is safe. Abortion is a medical procedure, and as with all medical procedures, it comes with its own set of risks, side effects, and long-term effects that should all factor into your decision.
In this blog, we’ll go through the two main abortion procedures, providing information about each one’s potential risks and side effects so you can make an informed decision about your pregnancy. If you’re wondering what other pregnancy options might be available to you, please schedule an appointment for a free and confidential consultation with one of our staff members.
Is the abortion pill safe?
The first and earliest form of abortion available to you is the abortion pill. Also known as medication abortion or medical abortion, the abortion pill is a series of two drugs prescribed by a doctor at a clinic.
How the abortion pill works
The first drug, mifepristone, is taken at the clinic and stops your body’s production of progesterone, causing fetal demise.
The second drug, misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours later at home and causes cramping and bleeding so your body can expel the pregnancy.
These are very powerful drugs that should not be taken unless prescribed by a doctor. You may experience these common side effects during your abortion:
You may be given drugs to manage pain caused by the abortion pill and these side effects.
Dangers of the abortion pill
Because these drugs were designed to end a progressing pregnancy, they can also produce serious side effects that include both short-term and long-term risks.
The following are potential risks of the abortion pill:
- Prolonged, heavy bleeding
- Digestive discomfort
- Incomplete abortion
It’s important to know exactly how far along you are before taking the abortion pill, because the drugs must be taken within nine weeks of the first day of your last period to be effective.
You also need to know that your pregnancy is not ectopic (located outside of the uterus). This nonviable pregnancy can be life-threatening to you and a medication abortion is not the correct medical procedure for addressing this type of pregnancy.
An ultrasound lets you know how far along you are and if the pregnancy is ectopic, and we provide ultrasounds for free. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about your pregnancy before making your abortion decision.
Is surgical abortion safe?
If you are too far along to take the abortion pill, a surgical abortion is your only other abortion option. The type of surgery you have depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy.
How surgical abortion works
There are a few different types of surgical abortions available depending on how far along you are. In a first-trimester surgical abortion, the doctor will insert a tube into your vagina and cervix. This tube will be attached to a suction device that will extract the pregnancy.
In a second-trimester surgical abortion, the doctor will dilate your cervix and then use the same suction tools to remove the pregnancy. They will also use forceps and other medical tools to scrape the inside of your uterus. Sometimes you may also receive a shot in your abdomen prior to the procedure to cause fetal demise.
Dangers of surgical abortion
Many of the same risks of a medication abortion also apply to surgical abortions. They include:
- Incomplete abortion
- Heavy bleeding
- Injury to the uterus or other organs
It’s important to be aware of the risks of both types of abortions so you can make a fully-informed decision about if abortion is safe for you. No one can pressure you to choose abortion, and if you need help understanding all your options, we’re here for you.
Information for this blog came from MayoClinic.org, ACOG.org, and WebMD.com.