when you think about it, what do you really know about abortion? The media, politicians, and activists constantly debate access to abortion, but often neglect to talk about the methods, side effects, or potential risks.

If you’re considering abortion, you deserve to know the truth about what you can expect. We’ll let the medical experts give you the answers.

Types of Abortion

There are two types of abortion, medical and surgical. You qualify for a medical abortion if you’ve been pregnant for 10 weeks or less. If the gestational age is longer than 10 weeks, you’ll have an in-clinic surgical abortion.

Medical Abortion

The abortion pill is the main method of medical abortion. It isn’t just one pill and you’re done. It’s a series of two powerful drugs taken over a 24 – 48 hour time frame.

The Mayo Clinic says, “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, possible 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

  • A viable 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)

A D & C is done to clear out pregnancy tissue for abortion. This procedure can be performed up until your 13th or 14th week of pregnancy. The procedure begins after you’ve received general anesthesia. Afterward, your cervix is dilated (opened). Then, a surgical instrument called a curette is inserted into the uterus to remove the pregnancy. 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 D & E is performed after 12 weeks when you’ve entered your second trimester. The procedure begins by dilating the cervix. Once dilated, a hollow tube attached to a pump removes tissue in the uterus. It 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

  • Cramping, possibly severe

  • Hot flushes or a fever

  • Vomiting

  • Perforation of the uterus

  • Vaginal discharge

  • Damage to the cervix

  • Signs and symptoms of depression. Hormonal changes after a pregnancy can cause depression that requires treatment.

How We Can Help

If you’re still considering abortion, we suggest you verify your pregnancy first with free pregnancy testing. Our tests are hospital-grade and administered by a medical professional so you can be confident of your results. If your pregnancy test is positive, Alpha Omega Center will provide a limited ultrasound at no cost to you.

An ultrasound tells you how far along your pregnancy is and if it’s viable (growing with a detectable heartbeat). You’ll need to know both for an abortion.

You have other options too. Contact Alpha Omega and schedule an appointment or just come by. A client advocate is always available to talk with you about abortion and your other options. Don’t make this decision alone. We’re right by your side.