Are you considering an abortion?
Are you planning on having an abortion? If so, we think you’ll want some additional information. Before making any decision, you need to be fully informed. Your abortion options vary based on the date of conception. Pregnancy consists of 3-month sections or “trimesters.” The type of abortion you have is determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy. What trimester you’re in determines the procedure. You’ll find this out from your ultrasound.
Abortion in the first three months
The first three months (first trimester) of pregnancy is when most abortions occur. The first trimester starts the first day of your last period and lasts through the end of week 12. As you can see, it’s vitally important to know how far along you are…
Medical Abortion – The “Abortion Pill”
Medical abortion, commonly referred to as the “abortion pill” is FDA approved up to ten weeks after the first day of your last period. The doctor typically prescribes two medications in pill form. You may take the first drug, mifepristone (Mifeprex), in the abortion clinic. The second drug, misoprostol (Cytotec), is often taken at home. The two medicines combined cause your uterus to contract to push out the pregnancy tissue. They block the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, the lining of the uterus breaks down, and the pregnancy cannot continue.
You may need to avoid this type of abortion if:
- You have an ectopic pregnancy (where the pregnancy implants outside of your uterus) determined by an ultrasound.
- You’re allergic to mifepristone or misoprostol
- You have a bleeding disorder or a blood clotting problem
- You have an IUD (intrauterine device)
- Other issues
Some common side effects include bleeding, cramping, nausea, and possible dizziness.
The abortion procedure done during very early pregnancy (4 to 7 weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period) is referred to as vacuum aspiration. For this procedure, a long thin tube is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. Once this tube is inserted, a manual suction device or a suction machine is used to vacuum the pregnancy out of the uterus.
Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
Dilation and curettage is an abortion procedure that occurs between 7 and 13 weeks after the first day of your last period. This is very similar to vacuum aspiration.
First, metal dilators are used to stretch the cervix open. Once that is complete, vacuum aspiration is used to suction the contents of the uterus out. Next a curette, which is a loop-shaped tool, is used to break up fetal tissue and scrape the walls of the uterus. Once again, you may experience cramping, bleeding, nausea, and possible dizziness.
You may need to avoid surgical abortions if you have:
- Blood clotting issues
- A pelvic infection
- An abnormally shaped uterus
- Other serious health problems
Abortion after three months
Surgical Abortion – Dilation and evacuation (D&E)
Once past the first trimester, surgical abortions are more complex and also carry more risk. From 13 to 24 weeks after the last menstrual period, a procedure called dilation and evacuation is used to complete an abortion. The entire process takes place over two days. This procedure involves a combination of vacuum aspiration, forceps, and dilation and curettage. The D&E begins with the doctor dilating (or widening) your cervix for the pregnancy to move through. Once fully dilated, the doctor uses forceps to remove the pregnancy and placenta. Then, a tube is inserted to suction out the contents of the uterus. Finally, a loop-shaped tool called a curette scrapes out the uterine lining. Some women report the procedure to be rather painful. Common side effects are bleeding, cramping, and nausea.
Make an informed choice
No matter what decision you make regarding your pregnancy, it has the potential to change your life in many ways. Dealing with an unexpected pregnancy can be overwhelming, but you’re strong. You know that when you have all of the facts, you’re able to choose what’s best. In Illinois, even if you are a minor, you can make medical decisions for yourself and the pregnancy. If you are 17 or younger, Illinois law requires you to notify an adult family member or legal guardian about the abortion. They do not have to give permission or consent. Before making your choice, we invite you to look at all of your options.