Different Types of Abortions

 In Abortion

Q: So, what is there to know about types of abortions?

A: Abortion is a serious medical decision with the potential for lasting physical and mental effects. The two basic types of abortion methods are medical and surgical. Which method of abortion you choose is often determined by the length of your pregnancy (gestational age).

Q: What should be my first step in deciding what to choose? 

A:  Before you schedule an abortion, you will need to have an ultrasound done to confirm that the pregnancy is in the uterus, and that there is a heartbeat present. This typically indicates a pregnancy that is most likely going to progress normally. Studies show that as many as 1 out of 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. You may not need an abortion if your pregnancy doesn’t look viable. The ultrasound will also tell you how long you’ve been pregnant and whether or not you’ve miscarried. We offer free pregnancy testing here at the Pregnancy Care Clinic, which makes you eligible for a free ultrasound exam. 

Q: What is medication abortion?

A: Medication abortion is done by using medication only, such as the RU486 abortion pill, which is approved by the FDA for up to 70 days after the first day of a woman’s last period. The Mayo Clinic recommends not attempting a medical abortion past nine weeks. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/medical-abortion/about/pac-20394687

Q: How does the abortion pill work?

A: The abortion pill method uses two drugs, mifepristone, and misoprostol, to end a pregnancy. When a woman gets pregnant, her body produces extra progesterone to help her pregnancy grow. The first drug in the abortion pill procedure blocks progesterone from being absorbed in the uterus, which cuts off the supply of blood and nutrients to the developing embryo. 

The second drug which is taken 24-48 hours later is misoprostol. It causes bleeding and contractions to expel the pregnancy through the vagina.

Potential risks and side effects include heavy and prolonged bleeding, nausea and vomiting, infection, and incomplete abortion. There may be more risks involved if you take the abortion pill after the approved 70-day period, or if you have an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy that is not diagnosed, as the abortion pill would not affect an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition. 

Q: What is surgical abortion?

A: The gestational age of your pregnancy determines the type of surgical abortion procedure you receive. Surgical abortions include “vacuum aspiration,” “dilation and curettage” (D&C), and “dilation and evacuation” (D&E).

Vacuum aspiration uses suction for early first-trimester surgical abortions.  A D&C uses small instruments or medication to open (dilate) the cervix. Both suction and a sharp tool called a curette are used to remove the embryo and pregnancy tissue.

During a D&E abortion, the abortion provider dilates your cervix and evacuates the uterus with suction, a curette, and extraction forceps.

Potential side effects and risks include uterine perforation, a damaged cervix, bleeding, scar tissue on the uterine wall, and infection.


Call us today for an appointment at the Pregnancy Care Clinic for your pre-abortion assessment. Though we do not provide abortions at our Clinic or refer for them, we are a great place to provide accurate information on the types of abortions prior to an abortion decision. Take advantage of our free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, options counseling, and support to get the information you need.

We can sit down and help you sort out the different aspects of what may be going on in your life right now and all the options for your pregnancy. We care about you and your health. Our caring team is here to help you!.

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