What Are the Risks of Abortion?

She is thinking about the risks of abortion.

If you’re considering abortion, you deserve to know the truth about the procedures, side effects, and risks beforehand. Any time something is removed from your body, a major medical decision is involved. We’ll let the experts give you the answers because we want you to be equipped with the truth as you navigate your options.

Methods of Abortion

There are two standard methods of abortion, medical and surgical. You qualify for a medical abortion if you’ve been pregnant for 10 weeks or less. After 10 weeks of pregnancy, your only abortion option is surgical, which often is accompanied by various risks. It is vitally important to understand the risks associated with both medical abortion and surgical abortion prior to making your pregnancy decision.

Medical Abortion

The abortion pill is the vehicle utilized to complete a medical abortion. Many people assume the abortion pill is simply one tablet, and when consumed, the medical abortion will be complete. This is not the case. In actuality, medical abortion is a series of two potent drugs taken over a 24 – 48 hour timeframe. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences.” They encourage anyone who’s considering it to learn about the side effects, risks, complications, and alternatives.

The risks of a medical abortion

The Mayo Clinic lists the side effects and potential risks of medical abortion:

  • 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
  • Abdominal cramping

Surgical Abortion

There are various methods for surgical abortion depending on how far along your pregnancy is. 

Dilation & curettage (D & C)

The Dilation & Curettage procedure can be performed up until your 13th or 14th week of pregnancy. Although the procedure seems routine, there are real risks involved. The D & C method begins by dilating (opening) the cervix. Then, a surgical instrument called a curette is used to remove uterine tissue. Curettes can be sharp or use suction (vacuum aspiration). 

The Mayo Clinic states the risks associated with a D & C:

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

Dilation & evacuation (D & E)

A Dilation & Evacuation begins by dilating the cervix, too. Once dilated, a hollow tube attached to a pump removes tissue in the uterus. D & E’s may also require the use of forceps to grasp larger pieces of tissue and a curette to scrape the lining of the uterus.

MyHealth.Alberta.ca lists the possible complications that can occur with a D & E:

  • Severe bleeding, including passing clots bigger than a golf ball
  • Headache, muscle aches, and dizziness
  • Severe pain in the belly
  • Hot flushes or a fever
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden abdominal swelling or rapid heart rate
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain, swelling, or redness in the genital area

Before You Make An Abortion Appointment

First, verify your pregnancy with no-cost pregnancy testing at Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada. If the test is positive, we’ll provide an ultrasound. The typical cost for ultrasounds in Southern Nevada can cost hundreds of dollars, but at Women’s Resource Medical Centers, ultrasounds are offered to you at no cost. 

Contact Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada today to learn more about abortion procedures, side effects, and possible risks.  

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