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If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may be anxious, overwhelmed, or have a strong sense of urgency to find a solution. No matter how you feel, it’s essential to know you are not stuck. 

There are options, alternatives, and resources for women facing unplanned pregnancies. 

If you are considering abortion as one of those options, read below to understand each procedure better.

Surgical Abortion vs. Medical Abortion

Surgical Abortion

There are three types of surgical abortion, depending on which trimester: vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C), or dilation and evacuation (D&E).

Vacuum aspiration uses suction to remove the pregnancy from the uterus.

A D&C is a procedure used in earlier pregnancies. Medicine will dilate the vagina, and then the numbing drug is applied. The medical staff will vaginally insert a tube to use suction to remove the fetus and pregnancy tissues. 

A D&E usually happens in a hospital. In the beginning, small sticks called laminaria are used to widen the cervix. The abortion provider may give pain medication, antibiotics, or anesthesia.

The physician removes the laminaria during the procedure and uses an ultrasound to guide the suction and surgical tools to remove the fetus and pregnancy tissue. The physician will check the tissue to ensure it is all taken out. After the procedure, cramping, light bleeding, or other minor side effects may occur. 

Medical Abortion

Medical or medication abortion is FDA-approved for use up to 10 weeks of gestational age. It requires a series of two different drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol.

You take mifepristone first to block the pregnancy from receiving progesterone, a necessary hormone for fetal growth and development.

Once the pregnancy ends, you take misoprostol 24-48 hours later to induce uterine cramping. These contractions force the uterus to expel the fetus and pregnancy tissue.

Risks of Surgical Abortion

According to the Mayo Clinic, the risks include: 

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

Risks of Medication Abortion

According to the Mayo Clinic, potential risks of medical abortion include:

  • 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
  • Digestive system discomfort

Schedule an Appointment

Now that you understand the different abortion procedures, you’re on your way to making a confident and informed decision.

At Hope Women’s Center, we provide no-cost pregnancy services, including limited ultrasounds, consultations, and more. 

With the ultrasound, you can determine your eligibility for specific procedures and confirm the pregnancy’s age. 

This important scan can also alert you to potential complications, such as an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage, which require medical procedures other than an elective abortion.

Contact us today to schedule a pregnancy confirmation appointment! We provide a confidential, compassionate environment where you can gather more information, process this experience, and learn about local resources. 

We look forward to supporting you on this journey.

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