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  • Writer's pictureMosaic Health

What Are the different Types of Abortion Procedures?

Making a decision regarding an unplanned pregnancy is not easy. The more information you have on each of your options, the more confident you will feel as you make a final decision. If you are considering abortion, there are many abortion procedures to consider. 

We’re breaking down the big differences between medical abortion and the various forms of surgical abortions and diving into the details of each. We’ll cover how they work, what stage of pregnancy each is used in, the side effects and risks you may encounter.

Medical Abortion

How does the abortion pill work?

A medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, uses two drugs to chemically terminate a pregnancy and expel it from the womb.

The first pill, Mifepristone, causes the body to stop the production of progesterone, which will then end the pregnancy through lack of nutrients and support. Once the pregnancy has been terminated, Misoprostol will cause contractions, expelling the fetus from the body.

While Mifepristone will sometimes be taken in a medical setting, Misoprostol is typically taken at home at least 24 hours later. 

The abortion pill will initially cause intense cramping and heavy bleeding as the fetus is passed from the uterus. If no bleeding occurs, contact your doctor immediately. You may also experience side effects including nausea, weakness, vomiting, fever, chills, dizziness, diarrhea, and headaches.

The abortion pill has also been associated with health risks, including infection, sepsis, and hemorrhaging.

We recommend scheduling an ultrasound and STI testing to ensure your safety and health.

Surgical Abortion

First-Trimester Abortions

Dilatation and Curettage (D&C)

In this first-trimester abortion procedure, the cervix will be dilated so the fetus can be scraped from the uterus using a curette tool. D&C abortions can be performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.  

Suction Curettage

Like the D&C procedure, suction curettage abortions use a suctioning device to pull apart the fetus and remove it from the uterus. The abortion provider will then scrape the uterus with a curette. This procedure can be used up to 14 weeks of gestation. 

Second-Trimester Abortions

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

As the pregnancy develops and grows, the above abortion procedures will no longer be effective in terminating and removing the fetus. In this procedure, the abortion provider will need to break apart the fetus to allow it to pass through the dilated cervical opening. Once the tissue is broken down, it will be scraped from the body using a curette. D&E abortions can be provided between the 13th and 24th weeks of pregnancy.

What are the side effects and risks of surgical abortions?

Following a surgical abortion, women can expect to experience side effects including bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

Some women may also encounter serious medical complications associated with surgical abortion, including hemorrhaging, cervical lacerations, uterine perforation, and infection. 

If you think you may be experiencing any of these severe health conditions in the wake of an abortion, contact your doctor immediately. 

Before Abortion Procedures

Before you consider an abortion, we recommend heading to your local pregnancy clinic for a free ultrasound to determine where the pregnancy is located and if it is viable, and STI testing to learn if you are currently carrying an infection that could spread during a procedure.

Free Services

Mosaic Health provides free pregnancy testing, ultrasound scans, STI testing, options consultations, and more!



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