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 Minnesota. Other states limit medication abortion to 10 weeks and 0 days. 

The Mayo Clinic recommends not attempting a medical abortion past nine weeks and says some types aren’t performed after seven weeks.

The Abortion Pill Method

The abortion pill method uses two drugs to terminate a pregnancy. Every pregnancy requires a healthy dose of progesterone to continue growing. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks progesterone from being absorbed in the uterus, terminating the pregnancy.

The second drug, misoprostol, causes bleeding and contractions to expel the pregnancy through the vagina.

Potential Risks and Side Effects Of The Abortion Pill

The FDA lists the following to pay attention to:

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

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

Surgical Abortion

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

Aspiration Abortion

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

Dilation and curettage (D & C)

Another standard procedure for first-trimester abortions is a D & C. According to the Mayo Clinic, a dilation and curettage uses small instruments or medication to 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. If you are 14 weeks or more pregnant in some states, you may have a dilation and evacuation (D&E). 

Your abortion provider will dilate your cervix  (open), which may take a day or two. Evacuation of the uterus begins with suction, then curettage and extraction forceps are used.

Potential Side Effects and Risks Of Surgical Abortion

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

Before Scheduling An Abortion

Ultrasound provides the information you need to determine the correct abortion method. At Lakes Life Care Center, we offer free ultrasounds after you receive a positive result on one of our free pregnancy tests. 

Make an online appointment for your free pregnancy test before contacting an abortion provider. We’re here to support you. Our caring team is ready to listen and offer advice to help you make the best decision for your pregnancy.