Different abortion procedures come with different risks, but there are shared risks between procedures, including incomplete abortion and infection. Any time you open up the cervix or abdomen, there’s a chance of spreading harmful bacteria into your reproductive organs, which can lead to an infection known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
Keep reading to learn about more specific risks and complications associated with abortion. Remember, you should be 100% informed before deciding to move ahead with a serious medical procedure.
Medical Abortion: What Are the Risks?
Medical abortion, or the abortion pill, is a procedure performed at 10 weeks of pregnancy or less. It uses two powerful drugs to first end the pregnancy, and then expel it through the vagina with cramping and bleeding.
Here are the main risks of medical abortion, according to Mayo Clinic:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Digestive discomfort
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
Surgical Abortion: What Are the Risks?
There are two types of surgical abortion: Dilation & Curettage (D&C) and Dilation & Evacuation (D&E). In both procedures, the physician will dilate the cervix and use a combination of tools and suction to surgically remove the pregnancy. A D&E abortion typically takes more time and requires more tools.
Here are the main risks of surgical abortion, according to Mayo Clinic:
- Perforation of the uterus
- Damage to the cervix
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
Incomplete abortion can also happen after surgical abortion, but it’s much more rare.
What Raises the Risk of Abortion Complications?
If you begin an abortion procedure with an existing, untreated STD, you raise the risk of spreading the STD further up your reproductive system, leading to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
Additionally, if you don’t have a preliminary ultrasound to determine how far along you are and take the abortion pill, you increase the chance of complications. This method is only FDA-approved for use up to ten weeks of pregnancy.
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