Think you could be unexpectedly pregnant and considering abortion? You deserve to put your health and safety first by knowing how each of your available options may affect your whole-person health. There’s probably a lot going through your mind—but your health is worth prioritizing.
You are not alone in navigating this pregnancy decision, and you deserve to have all the information you need to make a confident choice. There is help and hope available to you as you plan your next steps. First, take a deep breath—then take a moment with us to learn about how abortion may affect you physically.
What Are the Types of Abortion?
There are two common methods of abortion—medical or medication abortion, often referred to as the abortion pill, and surgical abortion.
Medication abortion, or the “abortion pill,” is actually a two-medication process. The first dose, mifepristone, is taken first and blocks pregnancy hormone production and stops the pregnancy from progressing. The second dose, misoprostol, is taken second and causes cramping to expel the pregnancy through the vagina.
The use of the abortion pill medication for the termination of early pregnancies is approved by the FDA for pregnancies up to 10 weeks gestation. Taking the abortion pill medications past this recommended point in pregnancy could put the patient at higher risk for incomplete abortion or other complications.
The other method of abortion, surgical abortion, is an in-clinic procedure typically used for termination of later pregnancies. There are a number of medical procedures used in surgical abortions depending on the stage of pregnancy or the provider doing the abortion. However, one of the most common is known as dilation & curettage, or D&C. In this procedure, a doctor uses medical instruments to open (dilate) the cervix and lightly scrape or suction the pregnancy from the uterus.
Both methods of abortion have potential physical side effects and risks.
What Are the Physical Risks of the Abortion Pill?
The following are potential physical risks of the abortion pill (medication abortion), as quoted by the Mayo Clinic:
- Incomplete abortion
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
- An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
What Are the Physical Risks of Surgical Abortion?
Surgical abortion procedures have the following potential physical side effects and risks, as shared by the Mayo Clinic:
- Perforation (tearing or puncture) of the uterus
- Damage to the cervix
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
- Excessive bleeding
- Dizziness or fever
- Severe cramping
What Other Physical Risks Might Be A Concern for Me?
The abortion pill may be more readily available online than it used to be, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s wise to jump to this option without confirming key details of your pregnancy through in-person consultation with a medical professional. Making your next steps before confirming how far along you are in pregnancy could put you at increased unnecessary risk.
You could also be in need of other medical care due to certain medical complications that would not be resolved by an abortion, such as ectopic pregnancy. This type of complication is often only possible to diagnose through in-person examination such as an ultrasound exam.
The best way you can protect your health as you consider your next steps is to consult a medical professional in person to find out key details about your unique pregnancy and medical needs. An ultrasound exam can answer many of these questions and help inform your next steps, including helping you understand which options are safe and available to you given your unique situation.
Our professional medical staff at PHC of West Houston can offer you a free ultrasound exam—at no cost to you—to answer your questions and prioritize your health today. Schedule your free appointment today. We’re here to help.