If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy, you might wonder what options are available. If you find yourself considering an abortion, informing yourself will help you make the right choice for you. 

This post will discuss the two different types of abortion, medical and surgical, to give you the information you need. 

Medical Abortion

Sometimes a medical abortion is also called a chemical abortion or the “abortion pill.” It is a method that includes taking drugs to end the pregnancy. 

Typically, a woman takes the first drug in the provider’s office and will continue the process at home. 

The first part of medical abortion is taking the drug mifepristone. This drug blocks progesterone which the body needs to continue a pregnancy. 

The second drug, misoprostol, is taken within a couple of days. This drug induces contractions in the uterus to expel the pregnancy. 

The risks of medical abortion include:

  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Surgical Abortion

A surgical abortion will be performed at a medical facility. Usually local sedation (numbing of the area) will be given, but sedation (being asleep) is sometimes available at an increased cost. 

In a surgical abortion, a woman’s cervix (the opening of the uterus) is opened, usually using surgical tools. The pregnancy is then removed from the uterus through the vagina using suction. 

This procedure is called a dilation and curettage or a D&C. In some situations, for example, if a woman’s pregnancy is further along, additional surgical tools will be required. In this case, the procedure is referred to as a dilation and evacuation or a D&E.

The woman will usually be sent home to recover the same day.

The risks of a surgical abortion include:

  • Uterine perforation (a hole poked through your uterus with a surgical tool)
  • Uterine infection
  • Uterine bleeding


During recovery, a woman will need to monitor herself and immediately get medical assistance if she has any of the following symptoms of complications:

  • Heavy bleeding (soaking through more than two pads in an hour)
  • Severe pain in the abdomen or back
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina

Your Health Matters

According to Cleveland Clinic, a woman should have an ultrasound before having an abortion. An ultrasound can offer valuable information about your pregnancy that will help keep you safe. An ultrasound is necessary for the following reasons:

  • Verify the pregnancy- ultrasound is the only way to verify that your pregnancy is developing. This is important since as many as 20% of pregnancies result in miscarriage. If your pregnancy is not viable, you may need treatment for a miscarriage.
  • Date the pregnancy- the length of your pregnancy determines what options are available. For example, the FDA has only approved medical abortion for pregnancies under 10 weeks.
  • Locate the pregnancy- Medical abortion is not a treatment for ectopic pregnancy (when the pregnancy is growing somewhere other than the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy is a dangerous condition for the woman and needs immediate attention

Get More Info 

Trying to get all the facts about your choices can feel overwhelming. But we can help.

Contact us to find the support that you need while weighing your options. A free appointment will get you all the information that you need to make a decision that you feel confident about. Obtain a free ultrasound to confirm, date, and locate the pregnancy and talk with someone knowledgeable about your options.