There are two main types of abortion: medical and surgical. Both of them use slightly different methods to end and remove a pregnancy and come with different risks and side effects.

Before undergoing a medical procedure or taking a new prescription, it’s critical to evaluate the risks, side effects, and your health history. These steps apply to abortion, too.

Keep reading to learn the risks of abortion.

The Risks of a Medical Abortion (Abortion Pill)

Medical abortion is commonly known as the abortion pill. It uses two drugs—mifepristone and misoprostol—to end the pregnancy and then trigger the uterus to contract and expel the embryo/fetus and related tissue through abdominal cramping and vaginal bleeding.

The FDA has only approved medical abortion for use through the first ten weeks of pregnancy. Medical abortion is not for every woman. 

There are certain health conditions that could make medical abortion unsafe, such as having an allergy to the drugs, taking a blood thinner, or having certain heart or blood vessel diseases.

The side effects of medical abortion include abdominal cramping, vaginal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, and headache.

The potential risks include:

  • Incomplete abortion
  • Ongoing pregnancy if it doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Since women typically complete medical abortions at home, it’s critical to know the signs of when to seek medical attention. 

These can include heavy bleeding (soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours), foul-smelling vaginal discharge, a fever lasting more than 24 hours, and severe abdominal or back pain.

The Risks of a Surgical Abortion

A licensed physician or abortion provider typically performs a surgical abortion in a hospital or clinical setting. During this procedure, the cervix is dilated, and then the pregnancy is removed using a mixture of surgical tools and suction. 

The risks of a dilation & curettage (D&C) surgical abortion include:

  • Uterine perforation (when a surgical tool pokes a hole in the uterus)
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Infection

The side effects of a surgical abortion can last a few days and may include light bleeding or spotting and mild cramping.

Make an Empowered Choice

Becoming informed about all your pregnancy options—abortion, parenting, and adoption—is your first step toward making an empowered choice.

Visit Carolina Pregnancy Center to explore your options further by receiving no-cost pregnancy services. If you receive a positive pregnancy test result, you may qualify for an ultrasound to identify important health details about your pregnancy.

We’re here to help! Schedule your free and confidential appointment today.

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