If you’re considering an abortion, here are a few things you should know:

Abortion Pill

There are several types of abortions depending on what stage you’re at in your pregnancy and what’s legal in your state.

Most women seeking an early abortion will choose the abortion pill, otherwise known as a chemical abortion. This is a set of 2 pills that are taken within 48 hours of each other.

What will I feel?

You can expect to feel painful cramping and experience heavy bleeding as the drugs cause your uterus to expel the baby. Women often pass large blood clots and experience nausea and vomiting. For women who are a bit further along, it’s possible to even see the fetus and placenta as they exit the body. For most women, these symptoms can last up to 12 hours and light bleeding can occur for up to 2 weeks following a complete abortion.

How long is the abortion pill effective?

This form of abortion can be taken up to 10 weeks gestational age (how far along you are in your pregnancy) based on your last period.

Suction Abortion

If you’re farther along, the second type of abortion is called a suction abortion. The doctor will stretch the opening of your cervix using metal dilator rods, and a rigid suction tube will then be inserted into your uterus. Your baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid are sucked out of the uterus and deposited into a collection jar. A curette (scraping instrument) will be skimmed along the sides of the uterus to remove remaining pregnancy tissue, and suctioning will occur a second time until the uterus is empty.

What will I feel?

As most abortion clinics are unable to sedate you completely, you can expect to be awake during the procedure. You’ll feel intense abdominal/pelvic cramping and pressure. After the procedure, you may feel crampy, weak, and lightheaded due to heavy blood loss. Many women also feel anxious and sad in the days, months, and years that follow. Some even experience depression and more severe emotional/psychological symptoms. It’s also important to know that the scarring of the uterus could lead to potential infertility issues in the future.

How long into pregnancy is a suction abortion performed?

A dilation and curettage (D&C), or suction abortion can be used up until the 15th week of pregnancy based on your last period. After this, the fetus would be too large to be suctioned out through a tube.

Dilation And Evacuation (D&E) Abortion

By the 16th week of pregnancy, if the fetus is too large to be removed by suction alone, then a dilation and evacuation abortion will be performed. Since this procedure requires more cervical dilation, compressed seaweed sticks (laminaria) are inserted through the vagina into the cervix the day prior to the procedure. On the day of the abortion, the doctor will remove the laminaria and stretch open your cervix. A rigid suction tube will then be inserted into your uterus and the suction machine is turned on, sucking out the amniotic fluid. A grasping instrument called a Sopher clamp will then be inserted to pull the baby apart and remove your baby one piece at a time. A curette (scraping instrument) would then be skimmed along the sides of the uterus to remove any remaining tissue, and suctioning would occur a second time until the uterus is empty.

What will I feel?

Overnight, as the laminaria begin to swell and do their job of slowly dilating the cervix, you may experience cramps similar to menstrual cramps. As with the dilation and curettage procedure, most abortion clinics do not have anesthesiologists on staff to fully sedate you and if they do the cost is significant. Most women can be given medication to relax them, but you can expect to be awake during the procedure. It is normal to feel very intense abdominal cramping and pressure during the procedure. Due to lightheadedness or weakness, you feel afterwards, you are not advised to drive. You may still experience cramping and heavy bleeding for up to 2 weeks after.

How long into pregnancy is a dilation and evacuation abortion performed?

A dilation and evacuation abortion can be performed up until the 24 weeks of pregnancy, based on your last period. In some states, abortion has been legalized up to 40 weeks, which in most cases, will result in a partial birth: the baby is alive when extracted from the uterus, although severely wounded and in critical condition.

Here are the physical and psychological abortion risks for any type of abortion:

Physical Abortion Risks:
  • Increased risk for future breast cancer
  • Retained Fetal parts
  • Infection & Sepsis
  • Severe Bleeding & Hemorrhaging
  • Cervical Laceration
  • Cervical Incompetence (inability for cervix to hold a future pregnancy inside of the uterus)
  • Uterine Laceration
  • Uterine Scarring
  • Uterine Perforation
  • Increased Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Future Infertility (inability to become pregnant)
  • Increased risk of future preterm birth
Psychological Abortion Risks
  • Guilt & Regret
  • Anger, Rage & Abusive Behaviors
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Bouts of Uncontrollable Crying
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Decreased Self Worth
  • Substance Abuse & Addiction
  • Eating Disorders
  • Promiscuity & Sexual Dysfunction
  • Repeat Pregnancy & Abortions
  • Nightmares & Flashbacks
  • Anniversary Syndrome
  • Relationship Problems
  • PTSD
  • Worsening of any current psychological disorders
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