If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering an abortion, it’s essential to understand the different procedures, how they work, and what their associated risks are. 

A large portion of abortion procedures involve medication abortions, but many abortions do require some sort of in-clinic surgery.

Medical Abortion (The Abortion Pill)

Also known as the abortion pill method, medical abortion consists of two different drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Each works together to terminate an existing pregnancy. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, potential risks of medical abortion include:

  • 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

Types of Surgical Abortion

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

D&C, also called suction aspiration, usually occurs within the first trimester. This procedure will require your vagina to be sanitized and dilated (opened).  Numbing medication will be applied, and a narrow tube will be inserted to suction out the pregnancy. 

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

Surgeries conducted in the second trimester (14 to 23 weeks and six days since your last period) will require a series of visits. During the first visit, the provider preps you for the procedure. 

You undergo an ultrasound and exam, have your cervix dilated with small dilating sticks called laminaria, and are given any necessary pain medication or antibiotics. 

On the day of the procedure, the abortion provider sedates you. During the procedure, they remove the laminaria sticks and, guided by ultrasound, use suction and gynecological tools to remove the pregnancy.

The types of possible complications can range depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. If your pregnancy is less than 14 weeks gestational age, the main risks are:

  • Incomplete abortion: this happens to about 35 out of 1,000 women
  • heavy bleeding
  • damage to the womb (which can affect future infertility, according to Cleveland Clinic) 
  • Sepsis: this happens to about 1 out of 1,000 women

More Abortion Information

If you are thinking about abortion, we are available to help discuss your options with you. Please schedule an appointment today to discuss your options with a professional. We can help you with the facts and support you need to make an informed decision.