If you think you may be unexpectedly pregnant and just got that first positive home pregnancy test, you may have a lot going through your mind. Take a moment to breathe—you are not alone in this. You have options and help available to you. 

If you are considering abortion, you deserve to know all the facts about your pregnancy options before making your next steps. Your health and safety is important—ensure you take the time to get all the answers and are fully informed on your options and your unique medical needs. 

Any method of abortion has associated risks and potential side effects that you should know about before making your next steps. 

What Is the Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is actually a two-step process involving two doses of medication. The abortion pill may also be known as RU-486, medication abortion, or a medical abortion. 

The first dose, mifepristone, blocks progesterone production (the pregnancy hormone), keeping the pregnancy from progressing and implanting in the uterus. The second dose, misoprostol, causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy through the vagina. The first dose is often taken under the supervision of a physician or provider, while the second dose is taken many hours or sometimes days later. 

Although the abortion pill may be more available online in recent years, it is still very important to seek medical attention prior to taking the abortion pill, as well as for follow-up appointments to ensure the procedure is complete and no complications are present. 

The FDA approves the use of the abortion pill to terminate early pregnancies for up to 10 weeks of gestational age. Taking the abortion pill later than this point in pregnancy could result in incomplete abortion or other medical complications. 

What Are the Risks of the Abortion Pill?

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential physical risks of a medication abortion:

  • Incomplete abortion
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding 
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work

What Is Surgical Abortion?

Surgical abortion may be considered for the termination of pregnancies later than 10 weeks, where the abortion pill is no longer an option. This is an in-clinic procedure, typically utilizing some type of sedation and under the supervision of a physician. 

There are several surgical abortion methods used; however, one of the most common is known as a D&C (dilation & curettage). In this procedure, medication or medical instruments are used to open (dilate) the cervix, and a tool known as a curette is used to scrape or lightly suction the fetus and remaining tissue from the uterus. 

Surgical abortion procedures typically carry a higher monetary cost, as this procedure is more involved, and more serious risks are involved with abortions later in pregnancy. 

What Are the Risks of Surgical Abortion?

According to the Mayo Clinic, associated risks of surgical abortion procedures may include:

  • Perforation (tearing or puncture) of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Dizziness or fever 
  • Severe cramping 

You may also wish to consider the potential mental health or psychological effects of either abortion method. The Mayo Clinic quotes, “having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences.” Ensure you are making the choice that is best for your whole-person health. 

How Do I Know What Pregnancy Option Is Best for Me?  

Considering all your options and aren’t sure where to go next? The first step in knowing your next medical steps is to find out how far along you are in pregnancy. 

The best way to do this is through an ultrasound exam. This specialized, in-person care can also inform you about other medical complications—such as ectopic pregnancy—that might be a concern for you. 

Our caring medical staff would be honored to assist you in navigating your pregnancy decision. All of our services are free of charge, and we have numerous resources to aid you. Schedule your free appointment today to get the answers you need.