There are two different kinds of abortion, medical and surgical. Learn about both procedures so you can make an informed decision.

Medical bortion

You might have heard of medical abortion referred to as the “abortion pill.” A medical abortion is a combination of two drugs that are taken to terminate a pregnancy. This procedure is only FDA-approved until 10 weeks of pregnancy.

The first drug, mifepristone, is usually taken at the abortion provider’s location. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone that your body needs to continue a pregnancy. This ends the pregnancy.

Misoprostol, the second drug, is taken within 48 hours of the first drug. This drug is usually taken at home. Misoprostol works by causing the uterus to contract (squeeze repeatedly), which forces the pregnancy out of the woman’s body through her vagina.

Risks of medical abortion can 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

Some complications of medical abortion are severe and require immediate medical attention. A woman recovering from a medical abortion should monitor herself for signs and symptoms of severe complications. These can include:

  • Heavy bleeding (soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours)
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

Surgical abortion

Surgical abortion takes place in a medical facility. In a surgical abortion, the cervix (the opening of the uterus) is forced open, and suction is used to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. Depending on the length of the pregnancy, additional surgical tools might be needed to aid in removing the pregnancy.

Risks of surgical abortion can include:

  • Perforation of the uterus- a hole poked through the uterus with a surgical instrument
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection

A woman experiencing a surgical abortion should seek medical help if she has any of the following symptoms of life-threatening complications:

  • Bleeding that’s heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
  • Lasting dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fever
  • Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
  • Pain that gets worse instead of better
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina

Do You Need More Answers?

If you are pregnant and looking at your options, we can help. Contact us today to take a free pregnancy test and meet with a peer counselor who can help you understand the options available.

This blog is for informational purposes only. This facility is not a licensed medical facility. We do not offer, recommend, or refer for abortions or abortifacients; therefore, we receive no financial gain from your decision. We are committed to provide accurate information about pregnancy options, abortion procedure risks and alternatives, and after abortion care.