When you think you are pregnant, your head can feel like it is spinning. You are most likely looking for information on all of your options and abortion may be something you are considering.
You might feel like now isn’t a good time to have a baby. You may be worried about finishing school, the stability of your relationship or how to provide for a baby. Because abortion is a permanent decision, it’s important to first be sure you are pregnant with a viable (non-ectopic) pregnancy and take a few days to get as much information as you can about your options and the best choice for you. No matter what you choose, to have a baby or to abort, your life is forever changed. This pregnancy will always be part of your story. New Life Pregnancy Center is here to help provide you with information in a safe, confidential environment.
Here is some basic information about the main types of abortion procedures and risks.
There are medical and surgical abortion procedures. The types of abortion that may be available depend on different factors such as how far along a woman is in her pregnancy and what kinds of procedures the abortion provider offers.
Medical abortions use drugs, instead of surgical instruments, to end a pregnancy.
1.) Morning-After Pill
Plan B One-StepTM (Morning-After Pill) is intended to prevent pregnancy after known or suspected contraceptive failure, unprotected intercourse or forced sex. It contains large amounts of levonorgestrel, a progestin hormone found in some birth control pills. It may work by preventing the egg and sperm from meeting by delaying ovulation; it won’t disrupt an implanted pregnancy, but may prevent a newly formed life from implanting in the uterus.
Plan B One-StepTM consists of one pill taken within 72 hours of sex.
Side effects may include changes in periods, nausea, lower abdominal pain, fatigue, headache and dizziness. If your period is more than one week late, you may be pregnant from a prior sexual encounter. Plan B One-StepTM should not be taken during pregnancy nor used as a routine form of birth control.
There is evidence that Plan B One-StepTM use may increase the risk for ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, a potentially life-threatening condition. Women who have severe abdominal pain may have an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, and should get immediate medical help.
2.) Early Medical Abortion
Up to 10 weeks from the last menstrual period (LMP) “The Abortion Pill” (mifepristone plus misoprostol) is the most common form of medical abortion. It was approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in women up to 10 weeks after LMP. It is even used beyond 10 weeks LMP, despite an increasing failure rate. It is done by taking a series of pills that disrupt the embryo’s attachment to the uterus, and cause uterine cramps which push the embryo out. The abortion pill is not available over the counter. Things to consider:
- Bleeding can be heavy and lasts an average of 9-16 days.
- One woman in 100 need a surgical scraping to stop the bleeding.
- Pregnancies sometimes fail to abort, and this risk increases as pregnancy advances.
- For pregnancies 8 weeks LMP and beyond, identifiable parts may be seen.
- By 10 weeks LMP, the developing baby is over one inch in length with clearly recognizable arms, legs, hands, and feet.
3.) Methotrexate is FDA-approved for treating certain cancers and rheumatoid arthritis, but is used off-label to treat ectopic pregnancies and to induce abortion. Given by mouth or injection, it works by stopping cell growth, resulting in the embryo’s death.
4.) Medical Methods for Induced Abortion — 2nd and 3rd Trimester. This procedure induces abortion by using drugs to cause labor and delivery of the fetus and placenta. Drugs may be injected into the fetus or the amniotic fluid to stop the baby’s heart before starting the procedure to avoid a live birth. There is a risk of heavy bleeding, and the placenta may need to be surgically removed. Call New Life to learn more about these procedures and potential risks.
Possible Medical Abortion Side Effects:
- Incomplete abortion
- Cramping, nausea, diarrhea, heavy bleeding and fever
- Not advised for women who have anemia, bleeding disorders, liver kidney disease, seizure disorder, acute inflammatory bowel disease, or use an IUD.
- An allergic reaction to either of the pills
- Undetected ectopic pregnancy
- Very heavy bleeding
- Very serious complications may be fatal
Surgical abortions are done by opening the cervix and passing instruments into the uterus to suction, grasp, pull, and scrape the pregnancy out. The exact procedure is determined by the baby’s level of growth.
Aspiration/Suction 13, 14 – Up to 13 weeks LMP Most early surgical abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia is typically offered to reduce pain. The abortion involves opening the cervix, passing a tube inside the uterus, and attaching it to a suction device which pulls the embryo out.
1.) Dilation and Evacuation 15, 16 (D&E) – 13 weeks LMP and up
Most second trimester abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia, oral, or intravenous pain medications and sedation are commonly used. Besides the need to open the cervix much wider, the main difference between this procedure and a first trimester abortion is the use of forceps to grasp fetal parts and remove the baby in pieces. D&E is associated with a higher risk of complications compared to a first trimester surgical abortion.
2.) D&E After Viability 17, 18, 19 – 24 weeks LMP and up
This procedure typically takes 2–3 days and is associated with increased risk to the life and health of the mother. General anesthesia is usually recommended, if available. Drugs may be injected into the fetus or the amniotic fluid to stop the baby’s heart before starting the procedure. The cervix is opened wide, the amniotic sac is broken, and forceps are used to dismember the fetus. The “Intact D&E” pulls the fetus out legs first, then crushes the skull in order to remove the fetus in one piece. Call New Life to learn more about your pregnancy options.
Possible Surgical Abortion Side Effects:
- An allergic reaction
- Blood clots in the uterus
- Incomplete abortion – part of the baby is left inside the uterus
- Injury to the cervix or other organs
- Undetected ectopic pregnancy
- Very heavy bleeding (hemorrhage)
- Very serious complications may be fatal.
Note: We offer accurate information about all of your pregnancy options; however, we do not perform or refer for abortion services or emergency contraception. The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional counseling and/or medical advice.