Abortion is a permanent choice that terminates a pregnancy. 

Before making this decision, it’s essential to know all you can about how abortion works and the risks involved. 

Read on to learn more about abortion. Or, if you want to talk to someone in person about your pregnancy options, call or text Pregnancy Services of Ionia County today at 616.755.6077.

How Does Abortion Work?

There are two main types of abortion: medical and surgical.

Medical Abortion 

Medical abortion (also known as the “abortion pill”) is only FDA-approved through 10 weeks of pregnancy. 

It involves taking two different drugs. They are usually taken at home, without a doctor’s supervision.

The first drug, mifepristone, ends your pregnancy. The second drug, misoprostol, causes your uterus to contract and expel your pregnancy through your vagina.

After a medical abortion, the following side effects are possible:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache

Risks are less common than side effects but are also more severe. The following risks are possible after medical abortion:

  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Incomplete abortion (which is when parts of the pregnancy remain in the uterus)
  • An ongoing pregnancy, if the drugs don’t work
  • Digestive system discomfort 

Surgical Abortion

A surgical abortion is performed at a clinic. It involves opening the cervix so a medical instrument can enter the uterus to remove the pregnancy.

Sometimes the pregnancy is removed via suction. Other times, it is removed with a sharp, scraping tool.

The main risks associated with surgical abortion include:

  • Uterine perforation (this occurs when a surgical instrument pokes a hole in your uterus)
  • Cervical damage
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall, which can cause painful menstrual periods
  • Infection, which can become life-threatening without treatment

Next Steps

If you’re considering an abortion, receiving an ultrasound first is essential. An ultrasound reveals the information you need to stay safe. For example, an ultrasound can tell how far along you are in your pregnancy, which is necessary before getting an abortion. It can also show the location of your pregnancy, which is crucial for ruling out a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy

At PSIC, we offer free, limited ultrasounds and other pregnancy resources to help you feel supported. The choice about your pregnancy is yours. But we give you the information you need to make a confident, empowered choice.