Abortion comes in two forms: medical (also known as the “abortion pill”) or surgical. Your pregnancy’s gestational age is one of the main factors that determine which type of abortion you’re eligible for. 

Read on to learn more about the essentials you need to know when it comes to medical and surgical abortions. Or, if you want to talk to someone about your pregnancy and options, contact 1st Way Pregnancy Support Center to schedule a free, confidential appointment.

What Should I Know About Medical Abortion?

Medical abortion involves two powerful drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. These drugs are taken at home without the oversight of a physician.

Mifepristone is taken first. It starts the abortion process by blocking progesterone. Without this critical hormone, your uterine lining will loosen and shed, causing your pregnancy to detach and end.

Misoprostol is taken next, and it causes your uterus to cramp and expel the pregnancy out through your vagina.

After taking these drugs, you will experience vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping, which, in some cases, can be severe. You might also witness the expelled embryo or fetus, which can be distressing for some women.

The abortion drugs are only FDA-approved if your pregnancy is 10 weeks gestation or under. If you take these drugs and you’re further along, you’re more likely to experience a risk, like incomplete abortion—this happens when parts of the terminated pregnancy remain in the uterus, and it can lead to heavy and prolonged bleeding and a potentially life-threatening infection.

What Should I Know About Surgical Abortion?

Surgical abortion is performed in a clinic, and it’s typically done later in pregnancy. 

The surgical abortion process involves dilating the cervix so that medical instruments can enter the uterus to remove the pregnancy. Earlier in pregnancy, strong suction and scraping tools are used. However, later in pregnancy, other instruments like forceps are used to remove larger parts of the pregnancy.

One of the main risks of surgical abortion is uterine perforation, which is when one of the abortion instruments pokes a hole in your uterus. This can lead to painful menstrual periods or future infertility. 

How Can I Protect My Health?

The most important step to take if you’re considering an abortion is to get an ultrasound. This scan can help reveal your pregnancy’s gestational age (which is vital information before seeking a medical abortion and refers to how far along you are), location, and viability (whether it is progressing and has a heartbeat).

At 1st Way Pregnancy Support Center, we offer free pre-abortion screenings that include a limited ultrasound. Contact us today before making any pregnancy decision to protect your health. You’re not alone as you navigate your options. We’re here for you.