Medical Vs Surgical Abortions: What To Know

medical vs surgical abortions

If you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, there are many questions to consider. An important one involves the abortion process. Abortions can be performed medically or surgically, and it is important to research the difference between medical vs surgical abortion. 

What Is Medical Abortion?

Medical abortion refers to the process of ending a pregnancy using medication. It is also known as a chemical abortion or “the abortion pill,” because it does not involve surgery. Typically, this type of abortion is only available prior to about 10 weeks gestation.

How Does It Work?

Non-surgical abortion ends a pregnancy using two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, taken roughly 24-72 hours apart. The first medication blocks progesterone to the pregnancy, and the second completes the abortion by expelling the pregnancy. There are risks to this type, most significantly life-threatening sepsis and hemorrhage. If you regret your decision after taking the first dose, you can potentially continue the pregnancy via abortion pill reversal.

What Is Surgical Abortion?

There are a few different types of surgical abortion. The primary options are vacuum aspiration and dilation & evacuation, also known as D&E. The process is different for each, and risks increase as pregnancy continues. 

Vacuum Aspiration

Vacuum aspiration is available until 14 weeks of pregnancy. The process takes 3-6 hours, depending on how far along you are. After you are prepped with numbing medication to your cervix, the provider inserts a narrow tube and uses suction to remove the contents of the uterus. 

Dilation & Evacuation (D&E)

D&E surgical abortions usually take several days and are performed during the second trimester. The day before the surgery, a provider softens your cervix with medication. During the procedure, IV medication is administered in the operating room, but you are usually not under general anesthesia. The provider dilates the cervix and uses instruments to manually remove the pregnancy. Both types of surgical abortions come with risks of infection, bleeding, and various other concerns.

With any of the abortion types mentioned above, there are many physical risks. This does not take into consideration the emotional and often traumatic impact that undergoing abortion can have on women. The decision to have an abortion is a life-changing and serious one. Decisions about abortion should not be made without first receiving clear and accurate information.
Clearway Clinic provides support and resources for women facing unplanned pregnancies who are considering abortion. Book a free, completely confidential meeting at our medically licensed clinic to learn about your options.

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