Are You Considering Abortion?
An unexpected pregnancy is frightening. If you have shared the news with family and friends, they likely all have different opinions. You’re probably not sure what to do either, but ultimately, the decision is yours. Like all of your options for your pregnancy, abortion is a difficult and life-changing choice to make. You may think it’s the only option you have, though. You should be aware of the risks and side effects beforehand and all of your other options.
The Abortion Choice
Common reactions to your unexpected pregnancy might include anger, guilt, shock, fear, and denial. It will help if you talk about how you feel and what’s in front of you with someone you can trust. You need love, guidance, and support now more than ever. Because many women do not receive support, they feel their only option is abortion. At Empowered Choices, though we don’t make referrals for abortion, our counselors are ready to talk and give you the support you need.
Types of Abortions
For you to make an empowered choice, you need as much information as possible. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy determines whether you can have a medical or surgical abortion. Before you visit an abortion clinic, confirm your pregnancy with a pregnancy test and ultrasound.
Contact us for referrals for both pregnancy tests and ultrasounds in your area. Because it is possible to have a natural miscarriage and still get a positive result on a pregnancy test, you need an ultrasound. It will tell you how many weeks you have been pregnant and if the pregnancy is still viable (growing).
If you heard someone talk about the abortion pill method, RU-486, or self-managed abortion, they’re referring to medical abortion. It sounds simple enough, but because all or part of this procedure is done at home alone, there could be medical complications you aren’t prepared for.
The abortion pill is not a “one-and-done” method. It actually uses two powerful drugs taken over a period of time. This method cannot be used after ten weeks of pregnancy. The first drug, mifepristone, thins the lining of your uterus, depriving the fetus of the nutrients it needs to survive. Misoprostol, the second drug, causes your uterus to contract and expel the fetus.
Risks of a Medical Abortion
According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the 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 (including large blood clots)
- Digestive system discomfort
You want to make certain the abortion is complete and no fetal parts remain in your uterus. An incomplete procedure is a serious medical concern and will require another process.
A surgical abortion terminates a pregnancy in the first or second trimester. Surgical abortions or “in-clinic” operations are performed in an abortion clinic or doctor’s office. If your pregnancy is between 10 and 14 weeks, you could have a vacuum aspiration. This method utilizes a suction device to extract the pregnancy from your womb.
If you are farther than 14 weeks, you may need to have a dilation and curettage procedure. This procedure requires the abortion provider to dilate your cervix to open it for the fetus to pass through. Once again, a suction device is inserted, but the doctor may also need to use a curette, a loop-shaped knife, to scrape the fetal parts out of the uterus.
Risks of a Surgical Abortion
According to the Mayo Clinic, these are some of the risks of one type of surgical abortion:
- Perforation of the uterus. This occurs when a surgical instrument pokes a hole in the uterus.
- Damage to the cervix. If the cervix is torn during the D&C, your doctor can apply pressure or medicine to stop the bleeding or close the wound with stitches (sutures).
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall. A D&C could result in the development of scar tissue in the uterus. This can lead to abnormal, absent, or painful menstrual cycles, future miscarriages, and infertility.
- Infection. Infection after a D&C is possible but rare.
A follow-up with a medical professional 1 – 2 weeks after any abortion is necessary to ensure no complications.
What To Do Next
Abortions have negatively affected some women’s mental health. A woman may, at first, feel relief because she’s taken care of the “problem” but will often revisit her choice at a later date. Talk with someone who will listen and learn about your life situation. At Empowered Choices, our counselors are here to listen and advise you and to help you through this tough time in your life. It costs absolutely nothing to talk, and you can trust we will keep your information private.