There are two main types of abortion: medical (also known as the “abortion pill”) and surgical.

Read on to learn more about how each of these types of abortion works and the risks involved. Or, if you want to talk to someone about your pregnancy options and learn about free resources, contact Elevate Pregnancy and Family Resource Center today to schedule a confidential appointment.

Medical Abortion

Although medical abortion is sometimes referred to as the “abortion pill,” it’s a combination of two different, powerful drugs. 

The first drug, mifepristone, works by blocking progesterone. This hormone is essential for sustaining a pregnancy, and without it, your pregnancy will end.

The second drug, misoprostol, causes your uterus to contract, which expels the terminated pregnancy through your vagina.

You will take these abortion drugs at home, and they will cause vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. 

However, you might also experience a risk to your physical health. These risks include:

  • Incomplete abortion, which is when parts of the terminated pregnancy remain in your uterus instead of being fully expelled
  • An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

The abortion drugs are only FDA-approved if your pregnancy is 10 weeks gestation or younger. And if you take the drugs when your pregnancy is further along, you’re more likely to experience a risk.

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is performed in a clinic. It involves the dilation of your cervix so that medical instruments (usually scraping tools and strong suction) can terminate your pregnancy and remove it from your uterus. 

The risks of a surgical abortion include:

  • Perforation of your uterus (which is when one of the surgical instruments pokes a hole in your uterus)
  • Uterine scarring (which can cause painful periods and future infertility)
  • Infection
  • Cervical scarring 

How to Protect Your Health

Whether you’re considering abortion or another option for your pregnancy, getting an ultrasound is essential. This simple scan can tell you the key details you need to know about your pregnancy to stay safe. These details include:

  • Your pregnancy’s age. This is critical if you’re thinking about abortion since your pregnancy’s age will determine what options you’re eligible for. 
  • Your pregnancy’s location. Sometimes, a pregnancy will grow outside the uterus. This is known as ectopic pregnancy, and it’s a life-threatening condition that needs emergency treatment.
  • Your pregnancy’s viability. Roughly 26% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. And it’s possible that you can miscarry without having any immediate signs. If you’ve miscarried, you will need medical follow-up to ensure you don’t have any complications.

You’re Not Alone

No matter what decision you’re considering for your pregnancy, you’re not alone in this. At Elevate Pregnancy and Family Resource Center, we’re here for you. We offer free pregnancy resources, services, and information to help you have what you need to make an informed decision—and feel supported along the way. Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential appointment.