If you’re considering an abortion for your unplanned pregnancy, you may be wondering what options are available to you. The type of abortion procedure you can choose is determined primarily by how far along you are. Medical abortion is available to women fewer than 10 weeks into their pregnancies, while a surgical abortion will be necessary for women 10 weeks or more into their pregnancies.
Medical abortion is known by a number of names: Medication abortion, RU-486, and the abortion pill. It is prescribed by a doctor and is actually a series of two pills. The first is taken at the doctor’s office or clinic where the pills are prescribed, and the second is taken at home, usually at least 24 hours after the first.
The first pill, mifepristone, causes fetal demise by blocking your body’s production of progesterone to the fetus. The second pill, misoprostol, causes contractions so your body can expel the pregnancy.
As with any medical prescription, there are potential side effects with a medical abortion. You can experience mild to painful contractions and cramping, bleeding, vomiting, and nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than two weeks after the abortion, you should let your doctor know right away.
If you are 10 weeks or more into your pregnancy, or if your medical abortion failed, you’ll need a surgical abortion. There are a few different types of procedures based on exactly how far along you are and will require either a local or general anesthetic.
Surgical abortion procedures involve an injection to cause fetal demise, and then an extraction of the pregnancy. Your cervix will need to be expanded, and the lining of your uterus scraped to ensure all of the pregnancy is removed.
It’s common to experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, bleeding, cramping, and soreness. Other side effects can include blood clots, infections, a perforated uterus, and damage to your cervix or damage to the lining of your uterus. It’s important to follow up with your doctor, especially if you experience any of these symptoms or if they last longer than two weeks.
Many women experience emotional side effects after an abortion. It’s not uncommon to feel grief or regret. If you have had an abortion and need help processing all of the emotions associated with the procedure, please reach out. Our trained staff can sit down with you and help you work through whatever you’re feeling in a nonjudgmental, compassionate environment.
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