There are two types of abortion: medical and surgical. Each type of abortion procedure comes with its own potential risks and side effects. Here are the facts.

Two Types of Abortion 

The type of abortion performed is typically determined by how far along your pregnancy is. Medical abortion is typically done through 10 weeks of pregnancy. If the gestational age is longer than 10 weeks, a surgical abortion is normally done.

1. Medical Abortion

Medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is a series of two drugs over 24 to 48 hours: mifepristone and misoprostol.

The Mayo Clinic shares the potential side effects and potential risks of medical abortion, including: 

  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • A viable pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever, especially serious if longer than 24 hours
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • Abdominal cramping

2. Surgical Abortion

There are different types of surgical abortion, done at different points of pregnancy. The procedures are more invasive the longer you’ve been pregnant. 

With each type of surgical abortion, anesthesia is taken, and surgical tools are used to remove the pregnancy from the uterus.

The Mayo Clinic shares the following potential side effects of surgical abortion: 

  • Bleeding that’s heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
  • Fever
  • Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
  • Pain that gets worse instead of better
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina

Here are the risks of a surgical abortion:  

  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection

Learn More 

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