Abortion is a big decision, so knowing each procedure’s side effects and potential risks is essential. There are two main types of abortion procedures performed in the United States: medical abortion and surgical abortion. We’ll provide the details you must know to make an informed choice.
It is important to note that abortion is banned in Missouri, which requires women to travel to other states for the procedure. The only abortion exception is when the woman’s life or health is endangered.
Medical abortion is performed during the first 70 days of a woman’s pregnancy. Also called the “abortion pill,” it uses two drugs to end an early pregnancy. Mifepristone, the first drug, blocks progesterone, a hormone that sustains the pregnancy. Misoprostol causes uterine contractions and expels the pregnancy through the vagina.
Every woman who has a medical abortion will experience abdominal cramping and vaginal bleeding, ranging from mild to severe. You may also experience other side effects like:
Though the risk of developing complications is low, your chances of having them increase if you take an improper medication dosage or are further along than the FDA recommends. These complications can include:
- Digestive system discomfort
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- An ongoing pregnancy (if the procedure doesn’t work)
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
Adequate follow-up care is crucial after you’ve had an abortion procedure. Check with your medical provider regularly, and if you feel something is amiss, don’t delay seeking medical treatment.
Surgical abortions are typically performed later in pregnancy and are more complicated procedures. They most commonly use medications, surgical instruments, and a suctioning technique to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. The most common method is dilation and curettage (D & C).
As with a medical abortion, you will experience abdominal cramping and vaginal bleeding. The risk of developing a complication is low but not impossible. The following complications can have significant health implications:
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
- Damage to the cervix
- Perforation of the uterus
You’re more likely to develop complications if your pregnancy is further along or the procedure is performed in unsanitary conditions or with unsterilized medical equipment. Your health matters. Visit the nearest emergency room if you develop symptoms like a fever or heavy bleeding.
Before Your Abortion
You can do several things to safeguard your health before an abortion. Ensure you receive an ultrasound to verify key pregnancy details. This scan will alert you to any pregnancy conditions that may prevent you from having an abortion, and it can determine whether you need additional medical treatment. It is also vital to receive STI testing and treatment, as untreated STIs can pass from mother to baby during pregnancy and childbirth. They can also lead to severe complications like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility.
You owe it to yourself to ensure everything is in order before an abortion. Please don’t hesitate to reach out today.