There are two main types of abortion: medical and surgical. Which procedure you have is determined by how many weeks you have been pregnant. An ultrasound is the best way to determine how far along you are in your pregnancy, if your pregnancy is viable (growing), and other factors.

Medical Abortion

Medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill or medication abortion, is FDA-approved up to 70 days or less after the first day of your last menstrual period. Because many women have irregular periods or don’t keep track of their monthly cycles, they are often surprised at how far along they are.

The Procedures

The abortion pill process isn’t one pill and done. It’s two medications taken over a 24 to 48-hour period to terminate a pregnancy.

The first medication, mifepristone, blocks progesterone, a pregnancy hormone, from being absorbed by the uterus. Without this vital hormone, the pregnancy can no longer continue.

The second medication, misoprostol, causes contractions and bleeding to expel the pregnancy from your body.

The Side Effects and Potential Risks

In addition to bleeding and cramping, some women may also experience nausea, vomiting, a fever, and chills as abortion pill side effects.

According to the Mayo Clinic, your risks include:

  • An incomplete abortion
  • An ongoing unwanted pregnancy
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Surgical Abortion

There are several types of surgical abortions. Suction aspiration, also called Vacuum Aspiration, is performed early in a pregnancy, usually in the first 6 to 16 weeks. The procedure sucks the pregnancy out of your uterus.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is another surgical procedure typically done in later weeks. Because the pregnancy is larger, the abortion doctor dilates (opens) your cervix, and medical instruments such as a curette and forceps are used to remove the pregnancy tissue.

The Potential Risks

Some potential risks of having a surgical abortion:

  • Scarring of the inner lining of the uterus due to the scraping
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Infection

Before Your Abortion

Abortion is a serious medical decision. In Georgia, a patient must receive state-directed counseling 24 hours before the procedure, and the doctor must notify a parent if you are a minor. Informed consent is also necessary.

Make sure you have a viable intrauterine pregnancy before scheduling an abortion. Since you may have miscarried despite a positive pregnancy test, get an ultrasound first. We can provide you with a free and confidential ultrasound and consultation.

Download a copy of Abortion: A Woman’s Right To Know.