There are risks to both types of abortion procedures. Medical and surgical abortions have similar risks, including bleeding, cramping, and infection. Here are the facts about the physical risks of abortion so you can consider the health dangers before making your final pregnancy decision.

Risks of Medical Abortion

Known as the abortion pill, a medical abortion uses the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol to end a pregnancy and causes uterine cramping to force the pregnancy out of the body. Like any medication, drug use has side effects and risks. 

The risks of medical abortion include:

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

Immediate medical attention is required if the following symptoms arise:

  • Heavy bleeding (soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours)
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

Risks of Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is an outpatient procedure in which an abortion provider dilates a woman’s cervix (the opening of the uterus) to expose the pregnancy. Surgical tools and suction are then used to remove the pregnancy. 

The risks of surgical abortion include: 

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

 It’s important that women self-monitor for signs of complications from the procedure and seek medical attention if they notice the following:

  • Pain that gets worse instead of better
  • Lasting dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fever
  • Heavy bleeding (needing to change a pad every hour)
  • Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
  • Foul-smelling discharge (the fluid that leaks from your vagina)

Before an Abortion

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