Every abortion is a serious medical procedure with the possibility of physical and emotional risks. You have the potential for everything from an incomplete abortion to a perforated uterus depending on the method used.
Get the facts before you travel out of state for an abortion.
The Risks of the Abortion Pill
The abortion pill is a medical or chemical method of terminating your pregnancy. You take two drugs over a 24 to 48-hour period.
The FDA regulates the abortion pill drugs. They have approved the use of medical abortion through ten weeks gestation only (70 days or less since the first day of a patient’s last menstrual period). Gestation refers to how far along you are in your pregnancy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are the potential risks of the abortion pill:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
The Mayo Clinic also lists signs and symptoms that could mean more significant health problems, such as:
- Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
- Severe abdominal or back pain
- Fever lasting more than 24 hours
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
There are several reasons you may not be a candidate for medical abortion.
Do not take the abortion pill if you have an IUD, have an ectopic pregnancy or certain medical conditions, and if you can’t make a follow-up visit to the abortion provider to ensure your abortion is complete.
The Risks of Surgical Abortion
Surgical abortion is more invasive than the abortion pill. It involves dilating (opening) the cervix, which leads to the uterus. Depending on how far along you are, dilation could take a few hours or even a day. Most abortion providers suggest some form of local anesthesia before your procedure.
Surgical methods range from vacuum aspiration, where the abortion provider uses suction to remove the pregnancy, to using forceps and surgical tools to remove more significant pieces of tissue.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following potential risks of surgical abortion:
- Perforation of the uterus
- Damage to the cervix
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
In addition, these signs could require you to contact a healthcare provider afterward:
- Bleeding that’s heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
- Lasting dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
- Pain that gets worse instead of better
- Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
Learn More About Abortion
In addition to the above potential physical risks, there are emotional risks too. One study suggests, “abortion is consistently associated with elevated rates of mental illness compared to women without a history of abortion.”
At HopePlace, we offer free and confidential pregnancy services and information. We can provide you with free pregnancy testing and review different abortion procedures.
If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy, you have options. Schedule an appointment with a member of our caring staff, and let’s see how we can help you.