Abortion procedures always come with side effects. The question is whether they are short-term or long-term. How can you tell? There are three basic types of abortion procedures — medical, surgical, and chemical. While these methods vary in their effectiveness and risks, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Learn more about the pros and cons of each type of procedure.
These are usually performed using pills that induce miscarriage. They have a relatively high success rate but carry a risk of serious complications such as heavy bleeding and infection. Some women who choose this method report feeling cramps and nausea for several days after taking the medication. Pills may not work if you have an ectopic pregnancy, severe abdominal pain, kidney problems, or previous miscarriages. This method is considered safe and effective only when used early in pregnancy during the first trimester. Early medical abortions are also known to be less painful than other methods of terminating pregnancies. But it’s important to know that there is no guarantee that this method will work.
A surgical abortion involves removing the contents of the uterus through the vagina. It is often done in one of two stages: In the first stage, a suction curettage removes tissue from the uterine wall. This helps dilate the cervix so that the fetus can pass through. Then, an instrument called an evacuator is inserted into the uterus to remove the remaining tissue. Surgery has fewer risks than either pill or vacuum aspiration but carries increased risks including excessive bleeding and infection. If the cervix does not open before the second-stage surgery, it could lead to pelvic infections.
These involve injecting medications directly into the uterus to cause spontaneous abortion. The most common form of this kind of abortion is RU486 (mifepristone). It works by blocking certain hormones needed for embryonic implantation. However, if taken too late, it can harm the developing baby. The medication typically causes cramping and bleeding for several weeks, although it might take longer depending on how far along your pregnancy is. To prevent hemorrhaging, it’s best to use mifepristone between 10–12 weeks gestation.
Long-term side effects of abortion procedures.
· Heavy Bleeding
After any termination of pregnancy, your body produces large amounts of blood. This is because your immune system is working overtime to fight off foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. During pregnancy, your body needs to create extra blood cells to supply nutrients to the growing embryo. So your body can produce enough red blood cells to meet the demand. This means that you will probably experience heavier menstrual periods following an abortion.
Your body will start to heal itself soon after an abortion. When the endometrial lining starts coming out, your vagina may become irritated and sore. You may also develop vaginal discharge and smell bad. As your body begins to recover, you could get an infection which can be easily treated with antibiotics.
· Psychological Impact
Although women generally do not want to think about their pregnancy ending, they may consider themselves “unattractive” or “inferior” afterwards. Many people who abort feel guilty about what happened and wonder why God allowed them to get pregnant in the first place. Others are sad about the loss of an unborn child. All these thoughts make it hard for them to move past the event.
· Other Physical Problems
Sometimes, it becomes necessary to perform a dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure or hysteroscopy. D&E is used to remove tissue from the uterine cavity. Hysteroscopy is used to visualize the inside of the womb and determine if anything is protruding. Both procedures carry a risk of complications such as perforation of the uterus during D&E, and cervical lacerations during hysteroscopy.
· Future Pregnancies
Some women have trouble getting pregnant again after an abortion. This is more likely if the reason for the abortion was because there were no other options available. For example, when the woman is already carrying twins, she cannot be put back through the same process. She must go through IVF treatment.
The Bottom Line.
If you choose to undergo a medical abortion at a clinic rather than self-induce, you need to ask yourself some questions before going forward with the procedure. First, how much time do you have? How many days until your next period? If you don’t know when your next period is coming, then how can you be sure that your cervix has been completely cleared of tissue? Do you have access to a reliable source of birth control? What happens if something goes wrong? Will you be able to afford another trip to the doctor if things don’t work out? Can you wait a few days to let things settle down? If so, is that long enough?