The two types of abortion are medication (or medical) and surgical. How far along a pregnancy is (gestational age) determines the abortion method performed.

Medication Abortion

Abortions using medication only, such as the abortion pill method, are performed up to 11 weeks and 0 days in Iowa. Other states limit medication abortion to 10 weeks and 0 days. The Mayo Clinic states, “Having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences. If you’re considering this procedure, make sure you understand what it entails, side effects, possible risks, complications, and alternatives.”

The Abortion Pill Method

The abortion pill method uses two drugs to terminate a pregnancy. Every pregnancy requires a hormone called progesterone to continue growing. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks progesterone from being absorbed in the uterus, terminating the pregnancy. Misoprostol, the second drug, is taken 24-48 hours later. It causes bleeding and cramping as the uterus expels the pregnancy.

Potential Complications Of The Abortion Pill

The FDA lists the following:

  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever and chills
  • Diarrhea and Digestive system discomfort
  • Nausea and vomiting

It is also possible to have an Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion.

Surgical Abortion

The length of your pregnancy determines the type of surgical abortion procedure you receive. Surgical abortions include “aspiration abortion,” “dilation and curettage” (D&C), and “dilation and evacuation” (D&E).

Aspiration Abortion

Aspiration abortion, also known as vacuum aspiration, uses suction for early first-trimester surgical abortions.

Dilation and curettage (D & C)

According to the Mayo Clinic, a dilation and curettage use small instruments or medication to first open (dilate) the cervix. Your abortion provider uses suction, and a sharp spoon-shaped instrument called a curette to scrape out pregnancy tissue.

Dilation and Evacuation (D & E)

Laws regarding how far into a pregnancy a person can have an abortion vary by state. In Iowa, an abortion may be performed at 20 or more weeks postfertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period) only in cases of life or severely compromised physical health. Dilation and evacuation (D&E) begin with your abortion provider dilating your cervix (opening), which may take a day or two. Evacuation of the uterus begins with suction, then curettage, and finally, forceps are used to extract pieces of the pregnancy.

Potential Side Effects and Risks Of Surgical Abortion

  • Uterine perforation
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection
  • Vaginal bleeding and cramping

At InnerVisions Health Care, we may provide you with free ultrasound after you receive a positive result on one of our free pregnancy tests. Call, text or schedule your appointment online at either of our locations. Our doors are open and we’re ready to provide you with free pregnancy services and discuss your options. We’re here to help you. Reach out to us today!