woman thinking about abortion procedures

There is so much misinformation today. Who’s telling the truth? Can I trust what they say? It’s hard to know what to do. If you’re considering abortion, you deserve to know the truth about the procedures, side effects, and risks of abortion. Any time something is removed from your body, it’s a major medical decision. We’ll let the experts give you the answers.

Medical Abortion

Having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences. If you’re considering this procedure, make sure you understand what it entails, side effects, possible risks, complications, and alternatives. The Mayo Clinic

The medical abortion method is also known as the abortion pill, RU-486, a chemical abortion, or a self-managed abortion. Right off the bat, you’re not being told the truth when the procedure is called the abortion pill. It isn’t just one pill and you’re done.

The abortion pill

The abortion pill is a series of two powerful drugs taken over several hours or days. You can only have this procedure if you are under ten weeks pregnant. The first drug is called mifepristone (Mifeprex®). Your body needs a hormone called progesterone to help the implanted embryo grow once fertilization has occurred. Mifepristone blocks the production of progesterone causing the lining of your uterus to thin which means the embryo no longer stays attached.

The second drug, Misoprostol, is taken hours or even days after the first drug. You need to take this drug at home to be near a bathroom. Misoprostol causes your body to cramp and contract to expel your pregnancy.

The risks of a medical abortion

According to the Mayo Clinic, the potential risks of medical abortion include:
  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever, especially serious if longer than 24 hours
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • Potential for severe abdominal or back pain

Surgical Abortion

Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy determines which type of surgical abortion procedure you can have.

Dilation & curettage (D & C)

Up until approximately week 13 or 14, you can have a dilation and curettage (D & C) which is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus.

…your doctor uses small instruments or a medication to open (dilate) your cervix – the lower, narrow part of your uterus. Your doctor then uses a surgical instrument called a curette to remove uterine tissue. Curettes used in a D & C can be sharp or use suction. The Mayo Clinic

According to the Mayo Clinic, a D & C clears out tissues that remain in your uterus after abortion to prevent infection or heavy bleeding. They list the following as risks:
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection

Dilation & evacuation (D & E)

Dilation and evacuation (D & E) is a procedure performed between 13 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. It usually combines vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage (D & C), and the use of surgical instruments such as forceps.

Like a D & C, the dilation and evacuation procedure requires dilating (opening) the cervix. The cervix needs to be dilated more because the fetus is larger. Once dilated, a hollow tube attached to a pump removes tissue in the uterus. Then, forceps are used to grasp larger pieces of tissue and a curette is used to scrape the lining of the uterus.

According to MyHealth.Alberta.ca, the risks of dilation and evacuation (D & E) include:
  • Injury to the uterine lining or cervix
  • Uterine perforation
  • Infection
  • Hemorrhage

Your next step

Before any abortion procedure, you need to verify your pregnancy with a pregnancy test and an ultrasound. At Turlock Pregnancy and Health Center, we offer both of these services at no cost. Plus, we offer no-cost STI testing and treatment. Please contact us at 209-656-9898 to schedule an appointment.

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