If you’re considering an abortion, we recommend taking time to learn about the different types of procedures, your eligibility for each, and the steps to take before knowing if abortion is right for you! 

Knowledge is power when it comes to making a choice for your pregnancy! Keep reading to learn more about the different types of abortion procedures.  

What is a medical abortion?

Medical abortions, also referred to as “the abortion pill,” are available within the first 70 days or ten weeks of pregnancy. The process involves taking two medications, Mifepristone and Misoprostol.

The first medication, Mifepristone, is typically administered by an abortion provider and works to block the body’s absorption of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is necessary for the pregnancy to grow and survive. By taking Mifepristone, the pregnancy will not have the support it needs, and the fetus will die. 

After the pregnancy has been terminated, the second medication, Misoprostol, is taken to force contractions and expel the pregnancy tissue from the uterus. Because Misoprostol is taken within 24-48 hours of the start of the abortion process, it is typically taken at home, outside of a medical setting.

What are the side effects and risks of a medical abortion? 

When taking the abortion pill, women can expect to experience heavy cramping and bleeding as the fetal tissue is expelled from the uterus. In addition to these symptoms, women may also experience side effects including nausea, weakness, fever, chills, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and diarrhea.

More serious health risks related to the abortion pill include infection, sepsis, and hemorrhaging.  

What are the different forms of surgical abortions? 

While the abortion pill is only available in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, surgical abortion procedures are available throughout all stages of pregnancy, depending on the legislation in your state. The procedures used in surgical abortions vary depending on the fetus’s developmental stage.  

First-Trimester Surgical Abortions

First-trimester surgical abortions typically involve a Dilation and Curettage (D&C) procedure or a Suction Curettage procedure.

Women may be eligible for a D&C abortion procedure in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Once the cervix is dilated, the pregnancy tissue will be scraped from the womb using a spoon-like tool called a curette.

In a Suction Curettage abortion, the cervix will be dilated and the fetal tissue will be pulled apart and removed using a suctioning technique. The abortion provider will then scrape the uterus with a curette to remove any retained tissue. This procedure is available within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Second-Trimester Surgical Abortions

By the time the second trimester comes around, the fetus is more developed, requiring more complex termination techniques.

In the most common second-trimester abortion procedure, called a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) abortion, the abortion provider will dilate the cervix and break the fetal tissue into smaller pieces to allow for easier removal. Once the tissue is broken down, the provider will use a curette to empty the uterus. In some cases, the use of forceps will be required to break apart and remove the tissue. 

What are the side effects and risks related to surgical abortion procedures? 

After a surgical abortion, women can expect to experience cramping and bleeding.

Risks related to surgical abortion procedures include perforation of the uterus and other organs, damage to the cervix, scar tissue on the uterine wall, and infection. 

What do I need to know before getting an abortion? 

Before deciding if abortion is right for you, we recommend undergoing the following pre-abortion screenings:

1. Lab-quality pregnancy testing — even if you’ve recently taken an at-home pregnancy test, it’s important to confirm your pregnancy with the most accurate testing available. 

2. An ultrasound scan — If you’re considering abortion, receiving an ultrasound scan is the only way to truly confirm your pregnancy, know its gestational age, and determine your eligibility for various abortion procedures. Ultrasounds will also rule out dangerous health conditions, such as ectopic pregnancy. 

3. STI testing — If you’re sexually active, STI testing should be part of your routine healthcare screenings. If you’re considering abortion, it’s important to rule out infection, as this may result in complications. 

4. A medical consultation with a qualified healthcare provider — It’s important to discuss the results of your screenings, ask questions, and explore all of the options available to you.

We Care Pregnancy Clinic provides these services and more at no cost to you! Schedule your free and confidential appointment today!