Abortion is the medical procedure used to terminate a pregnancy. There are many reasons a woman may choose to end her pregnancy, whether it’s relational, emotional, or financial.
If faced with an unexpected pregnancy and considering abortion, you are not alone! As you are looking into different options, make sure you do your research and consider the pros and cons of each choice (abortion, parenting, and adoption).
Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so doing your research will allow you to make a confident decision.
Surgical vs. Medical Abortion
Also known as the abortion pill, a medical abortion consists of two drugs (that are often prescribed and taken in the privacy of your own home).
The first drug, mifepristone, works to prevent the uterus from receiving progesterone (a pregnancy hormone needed to keep developing). After this ends the pregnancy, the second drug, misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours later to cause the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy, much like a natural miscarriage.
The surgical abortion procedure begins with dilating your cervix (either through medication or a metal rod inserted temporarily).
Once your cervix is dilated, the procedure combines suction and other surgical tools to remove the fetus and any remaining pregnancy tissue. Surgical abortion is performed at an abortion clinic and often requires a follow-up visit.
Risks of the Medical Abortion
While abortions are often presented as a convenient option to resolve an unexpected pregnancy, it comes with its own set of risks.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following risks associated with medical abortion:
- Incomplete abortion (may need to be followed by surgical abortion)
- An ongoing unwanted pregnancy (if the procedure doesn’t work)
- Heavy/prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
While the abortion pill method is not as invasive as surgical abortion, you can see there are still potential side effects.
If you receive an abortion pill prescription without an in-person visit with a medical professional, you will want to verify the stage of pregnancy you are in. You will also want to eliminate the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy.
An ultrasound is helpful for these two things, which you can learn more about at our center.
Risks of Surgical Abortion
Surgical abortions happen most often after the first trimester when medical abortions are no longer an option, so it is important to know how far along you are (an ultrasound can help with this).
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential risks of surgical abortion:
- Perforation of the uterus
- Damage to the cervix
- Heavy bleeding
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
These risks can also potentially affect future fertility as well, which is essential to consider if interested in getting pregnant later on.
Schedule an Appointment
The first step is to schedule an ultrasound, even if you’ve already taken a pregnancy test. Up to 20% of known pregnancies can end in a miscarriage, so a pregnancy test can read as positive if your body doesn’t know that the pregnancy has ended yet.
Here at Pregnancy Help Center South, we offer no-cost pregnancy testing and ultrasounds for pregnant women, and we offer consultations for you to talk through your options in a private, pressure-free environment.
We want to walk alongside you as you decide which option will make you the happiest and healthiest. You’re not alone!