As the realization of your unplanned pregnancy settles in, you may feel abortion is the only answer. Although you’ve been told it’s an easy, safe procedure, there are risks and side effects you need to be aware of.
Check to make sure you have multiple pregnancy symptoms, get free pregnancy testing and courtesy ultrasound. We’ll provide you with all the information you need before you make an abortion appointment.
What do I need to know about abortion?
Abortion is a serious medical and emotional decision. Any time you are taking something out of your body, there will be side effects and possible risks.
There are two main types of abortion, medical and surgical. Which procedure they’ll perform depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy. The best way to determine how long you’ve been pregnant is with an ultrasound. At Hope Unlimited, we offer ultrasounds for free.
Known by several names, a medical abortion can be called the abortion pill, RU-486, or self-managed. Most people are familiar with the abortion pill method, but you can only use this method if you are under nine weeks pregnant. Did you know it isn’t just one simple pill? Actually, the abortion pill procedure uses two very powerful drugs.
The first drug you take is called mifepristone. This drug stops your body from producing a hormone called progesterone. This hormone is necessary for an embryo to stay planted on the lining of your uterus. Mifepristone thins the lining, stopping the embryo from growing.
The second drug is known as misoprostol. This drug causes your body to start cramping to get rid of the embryo and pregnancy tissue.
Risks and side effects of a medical abortion include:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by a surgical abortion
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Abdominal cramping
- Fever lasting longer than 24 hours
- Digestive system discomfort, diarrhea
If you have been pregnant for longer than ten weeks, you will most likely have a surgical abortion. There are a couple of different procedures depending on how far along your pregnancy is. All require the insertion of rods or the use of medications to dilate your cervix and a suction device to pull out the pregnancy. This outpatient procedure is more invasive and requires more recovery time than a medical abortion.
Vacuum Aspiration is essentially a dilation and curettage (D & C) to remove the contents of your uterus. The abortion doctor clears out all the tissue through suction or a sharp surgical instrument by using a curette. This procedure can usually be performed up until your 15th week.
Dilation and evacuation (D & E) abortion is performed after the 15th week. The abortion doctor inserts a tube attached to a suction machine to empty the contents of the uterus. After the suction tube is removed, a curette is used to scrape any remaining tissue from the lining of your uterus.
Risks and side effects of a surgical abortion include:
- Bleeding, including blood clots (some could be larger than the size of a lemon)
- Pain and cramping
- Uterine perforation
- Infection with fever, abdominal pain, foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling faint, sweating
Your First Step
Before you schedule your abortion appointment, you will need to know how far along you are in your pregnancy and if it is still viable (growing). Only an ultrasound can give you that information.
Your first step should be free pregnancy testing and a courtesy ultrasound at Hope Unlimited’s Medical Clinic. We can confirm your pregnancy and chat with you about your options. You owe it to yourself to be fully informed about procedures, risks, and your pregnancy options. We’re ready and available to give you the information you need.
Hope Unlimited Family Care Center does not perform nor refer for abortions. We are here to educate you about your choices so that you can make an informed decision.