We’re glad you are asking this question beforehand. Although you may hear having an abortion is “no big deal,” the truth is all abortion procedures are major medical decisions. An incomplete abortion, infection, excessive bleeding, and mental health issues are all potential complications. Learn what to expect so you are completely prepared.

Are There Different Abortion Procedures?

There are two main types of abortion: medication and surgical. How far along you are in your pregnancy determines which type you have. 

What is a Medication Abortion? 

A medication abortion is also known as the abortion pill method. If your pregnancy is 10 weeks or less (70 days from the first day of your last menstrual period), the FDA approves the use of two abortion drugs to terminate a pregnancy. 

The Mayo Clinic recommends not taking the drugs past 9 weeks (63 days). 

Mifepristone, the first drug, is highly regulated. Only certified providers can prescribe it. The drugs become less effective the farther you are in your pregnancy, which can lead to an incomplete abortion. 

Signs of an incomplete abortion include the following:

  • Heavy bleeding or blood clots
  • Fever
  • Infection
  • Pelvic pain

What is a Surgical Abortion?

Abortion providers perform various types of surgical procedures depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. They use suction or vacuum aspiration if you are still in your first trimester (12 weeks or less). 

Later pregnancies can require a curette (a sharp surgical tool used for scraping) and forceps to remove larger parts. It is possible to experience an incomplete abortion with a surgical procedure. 

You also run the risk of infection, having a surgical tool poke a hole in your uterus, or damage to your cervix (the area leading to the uterus).

Surgical procedures often require either general or local anesthesia. Depending on the number of weeks you’ve been pregnant, you may also need your cervix dilated (opened).

Is There a Link Between Mental Health Problems and Abortion?

Studies show that some women experience negative mental health issues after an abortion. Women who have previously struggled with anxiety or depression may be at greater risk. 

Some women who report immediately feeling relief following their abortions report feeling sadness, grief, shame, and even post-abortion trauma later on.

How Can Choices Family Resource Centers Assist Me?

All of our pregnancy-related services are available to you at no cost. We offer free medical-grade pregnancy testing, which may qualify you for a free limited ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy.

If you are considering abortion, it is vital you get tested for an STD first. Set up a free appointment to receive accurate, fact-based information regarding abortion procedures, STDs, and your options.

We don’t judge or lecture. We’re here to support you. Schedule your appointment online and let us know the most convenient location to serve you. We look forward to hearing from you!