Which Abortion Methods Are Safe?

When you discover you’re unexpectedly pregnant, you begin to contemplate every scenario you can imagine as you try to figure out what to do next. But no matter how you look at it, it’s scary.

You may have already thought about your options of parenting, adoption, or abortion. As you consider abortion, it’s normal to wonder about which abortion methods are safe.

In reality, there are risks to every procedure you do with your body. This article will help you answer abortion questions, gather facts, weigh the risks and benefits, and determine what is best for you.

How Far Along in My Pregnancy Can I Be?

Medical Abortion

Medical abortions can be performed up to ten weeks from the first day of your last period.

Aspiration Abortion

Aspiration abortions can be performed up to sixteen weeks from the first day of your last period.

D&E Abortion

D&E abortions are performed after sixteen weeks of pregnancy.

How Much Does an Abortion Cost?

The cost of an abortion varies by location, provider, and the abortion method. Typically, a medical abortion is the least expensive, and a D&E abortion costs more than the other two methods.

What Happens During an Abortion?

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion is often called “the abortion pill,” and it’s a regimen of taking multiple pills.

Mifepristone is the first pill, and you take it by mouth at a clinic. The purpose of mifepristone is to block progesterone so that the pregnancy detaches from your uterus. You then take misoprostol, the second medication, by mouth or inserted vaginally at home the next day. Misoprostol expels the pregnancy from your uterus by causing uterine cramping.  You will experience very heavy bleeding and pass large clots.

Many women are not aware that the pregnancy ends at home and are not always certain what to expect. It is critical that you return to the clinic to confirm the abortion was completed and you are infection-free.

If you change your mind after you take mifepristone, but you haven’t taken misoprostol yet, there is a chance you can still have a successful pregnancy through abortion pill reversal

Aspiration Abortion

An aspiration abortion is surgical and occurs at a clinic.

The medical staff will provide you with pain medication and antibiotics before the procedure starts. Sometimes, they also give you medication to open your cervix.

Once you are in the surgical room, they will inject a numbing medication into your cervix to lessen discomfort when they open your cervix with dilating rods. The physician then inserts a tube to suction the pregnancy out of your uterus.

After removing the pregnancy by aspiration (suction), the doctor uses a surgical instrument called a curette to ensure your uterus is empty.

After the abortion, you will be monitored in a recovery area for up to an hour before you can leave the clinic.

D&E Abortion

A surgical abortion for pregnancies after 16 weeks is a D&E abortion.

A couple of days or hours before the abortion, the medical staff will insert absorbent dilator sticks called laminaria or Dilapan in the cervix. These dilators absorb fluid and open up the cervix. You will feel cramping as the cervix dilates.

A doctor will also give an injection into your uterus to stop the fetal heart.

On the day of the abortion procedure, you can request I.V. medication so you will be sedated. The doctor will remove the dilating sticks, place a speculum into your vagina, and inject a numbing medication into the cervix. The D&E abortion is performed with a combination of suction and surgical instruments.

You will rest in the recovery room for monitoring for about two hours afterward.

Is It Painful?

With all abortions, you will feel mild to extreme cramping. The clinic will give you instructions to manage your pain.

What Are the Side Effects?

Medical Abortion

Mifepristone side effects can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pelvic pain

Misoprostol side effects can include:

  • Cramps
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding/passing large clots
  • Pelvic pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills/fever

Surgical Abortions (Aspiration and D&E)

Side effects after aspiration abortion can include:

  • Cramps
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Sweating
  • Faintness

What Are the Risks?

Side effects are manageable. When you wonder about the safety of abortion, you are most likely wondering about risks, which we will discuss here.

Medical Abortion

Many women are under the impression that a medical abortion carries less risk than a surgical abortion. But after a medical abortion, 20% of women experience at least one serious complication according to a Finland study. The reality is a medical abortion can have significant risks that are greater than a surgical abortion.

  • Hemorrhage is the most common complication (15.6%)
  • Incomplete abortion needing a follow-up surgical abortion (6.7-10%)
  • Infection (1.7%)
  • Blood clots
  • An undetected ectopic pregnancy (a medical emergency)
  • Future infertility, miscarriage, pre-term delivery
  • Death

If you have a medical abortion, the follow-up visit afterward is crucial.

Surgical Abortions (Aspiration and D&E)

Risks of surgical abortions include:

  • Infection
  • Tearing of the cervix
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Bowel or bladder injury
  • Scarring of the uterus
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Future infertility, miscarriage, preterm delivery
  • Post-abortion stress syndrome (PASS)/depression
  • Death

Can an Abortion Affect My Ability to Have Children in the Future?

The short answer is yes, it can. If you contract pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) after an abortion, it can lead to future infertility, miscarriages, and ectopic pregnancies. PID is an infection that occurs after an abortion if bacteria is introduced into your reproductive system. To reduce the risk of PID after an abortion, be sure you are treated for sexually transmitted diseases beforehand.

So Which Abortion Methods Are Safe?

Statistically, you have a higher chance of having an abortion without serious physical complications. However, if you are someone who has an abortion complicated by serious risks, statistics won’t matter to you. Over 55% of women who have had one or more abortions have indicated experiencing sadness or loss, so even if there are no physical side effects, the chances of experiencing some kind of emotional side effect is probable. The best advice is to make an informed decision. Talk with experienced advocates. Trust your gut, and do what is best for you.

We Are Here to Help

You can read an informative article like this and still have many questions. At Willowbrook Women’s Center, we understand. Get the answers needed to make a confident decision. Make a no-cost, confidential appointment today!


7 Things to Consider Before Ending Your Pregnancy

You feel like you’re in an impossible situation, and it’s really hard to decide what to do. When you’re unexpectedly pregnant, fears rise up, and that’s normal. You have many questions that need answers, and you aren’t exactly sure where to turn for help.

Maybe abortion seems like your only option, but perhaps there’s a part of you that isn’t sure. The thing is, you can’t end your pregnancy and then reverse it if you decide you rushed into your decision too quickly. Here are 7 tips to consider before ending your pregnancy.

1. Know you aren’t alone.

Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s three million other women each year trying to make the same decision you’re facing today.

Women of every age and background can relate to what you’re going through. So if there is any part of you feeling ashamed for being unexpectedly pregnant, try to show yourself the same compassion you would show your best friend if she was in your shoes, and then focus on one step at a time.

2. Consider all your options.

You have three options: abortion, adoption, and parenting. There is no “easy way out.” Each option has short-term and long-term effects on your life. However, you deserve the opportunity to gather the facts you need about each option to make an informed and confident decision. It’s important to not move forward with a decision if you’re feeling unsettled about it in your gut.

  • Parenting: Many pregnancy centers offer information about parenting classes and encouragement to help you navigate the practical aspects of parenting each step of the way.
  • Adoption: There are three types of adoption:closed, semi-open, and open. Birth mothers are the ones who make the decision about what type of adoption they prefer. Most adoptions now are open adoptions. That means the birthmother chooses the adoptive parents and works with those who are open the level of contact she wants to have with her child after the adoption is finalized. The level of contact varies from exchanging photos and letters to the birthmom playing an active role in her child’s life.
  • Abortion: There are several types of abortion to consider depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Here are helpful answers to common questions to also consider before an abortion. Research the emotional impact, physical risks and side effects of abortion until you feel adequately informed.

The first step before considering abortion is to be sure your pregnancy is viable.

3. Confirm your pregnancy is viable.

A viable pregnancy is one that is in the uterus and is showing signs of progressing normally. A positive pregnancy test means that a pregnancy hormone, hCG was detected in your urine. However, March of Dimes reports that nearly 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. 80% of those miscarriages happen within the first three months of pregnancy.

Before you take the chance of having an unnecessary abortion, it’s crucial to confirm your pregnancy is viable. That is a no-cost service at pregnancy resource centers  (PRCs) across the country.

Here is another scenario to consider: If your pregnancy is not in your uterus (ectopic pregnancy) and you take an abortion pill without that information, it can be very dangerous to your health. This is another reason to confirm that your pregnancy is viable before proceeding with an abortion. 

4. Seek out local resources.

You might not know there are resources, grants, and services available to you from people who care deeply about women who are unexpectedly pregnant.

There are approximately 3000-3500 PRCs throughout the U.S., and they are funded by private donations. PRCs are not places where you will be judged. To the contrary, they exist to empower you with compassion. You can Google “where is the nearest pregnancy resource center to (your city)” to receive low to no-cost, confidential services.

PRCs don’t financially benefit from your decision. They provide resources that are available in your community in addition to no-cost or very low-cost pregnancy testing and ultrasounds to women just like you who need help figuring out what to do when they are unexpectedly pregnant. Most of PRC’s also provide sexually transmitted infection testing (STI).

5. Are you making a decision based on fear?

It’s normal to experience fear when you discover you are unexpectedly pregnant. But be careful not to make a decision about your pregnancy from that fear. Fear is temporary, and if you make a permanent decision based on temporary fears, you can unwittingly set yourself up for more pain down the road.

Know that it’s against the law for anyone to coerce you or force you to have an abortion.

6. What is your ”gut” telling you?

Everyone has that quiet voice or feeling inside themselves. We call that sense your gut feeling. After you gather information, listen to your gut feeling. What is it saying? Write it down. Consider it carefully. It just may save you from having regrets down the road.

7. Seek out advice from someone who is neutral.

You have a tough decision to make, and it’s always nice to have another person to talk to. Sometimes they have a perspective you haven’t considered. But in reality, your partner, parents, and friends can’t be neutral when they are giving you advice about you’re pregnancy.When you seek advice, ask yourself if that person has anything to gain or lose from your decision? If so, weigh the advice very carefully.

We Are Here to Help

Make a confidential appointment at Willowbrook Women’s Center today for a pregnancy screening appointment. Each day, our trained advocates and licensed medical professionals help women sort through their concerns and questions about their unplanned pregnancies. We provide compassionate care and the unbiased facts you need to make an informed decision. We’ll walk with you one step at a time until you feel empowered to make a confident decision. And we are always just a call or text away if you leave your appointment and realize you have more questions.


Top Abortion Questions You May Be Asking

Making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy can feel like the scariest thing you have ever faced. Whether you are considering abortion or have already decided on your next steps, there may still be questions spinning around in your mind. At Willowbrook Women’s Center, we understand that education is empowering, and we want to provide you with the answers to your abortion questions so that you can make confident decisions!

What Are the Different Kinds of Abortions, and Does It Hurt?

Abortions can be medical or surgical. Here is what you need to know about each type of abortion.

  1. Medical Abortion
  • Abortion pill (previously called RU-486): The abortion pill is a medical abortion that is actually a combination of two pills. A woman takes the first pill (mifepristone) in a physician’s office or clinic. She usually takes the second pill (misoprostol) at home 6-48 hours later. Typically, cramping and bleeding start 1-4 hours after taking the second pill. The abortion is typically completed in 5 hours, although cramping usually continues for a couple more days. The abortion pill is usually an option if the first day of a woman’s last period was 70 days earlier or less. If the medical abortion fails, a surgical abortion will be required.

2.  Surgical Abortion

  • Aspiration (vacuum) abortion: The most common surgical abortion is the aspiration abortion. This method can usually be performed up to about 14 weeks of pregnancy. The procedure lasts about 5-10 minutes. Pain and numbing medication is given, and sometimes a sedative to relax is also given. Women typically experience cramping while the physician is using the suction to empty the uterus.
  • Dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion: A D&E abortion is done after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It is similar to the aspiration abortion, but additional instruments are used.

How Much Does an Abortion Cost?

There are financial, physical, and emotional costs to consider. The financial cost of an abortion varies depending on the method and timing of the abortion.

  • The cost of a medical abortion depends on the following: lab work, office visit, types of testing, region of the country, and will ultimately depend on which provider is chosen. In some cases, a medical abortion can cost more than a surgical abortion.
  • A surgical abortion will vary in cost range from $500-$15,000+.

Rachel Jones, a principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that studies reproductive health policy states, “Nobody really knows what it costs to provide abortions. The numbers change from facility to facility within the same state or even the same city.”

Do I Need My Parents’ Consent Before I Have an Abortion?

Abortion laws vary from state to state. Missouri abortion law requires one parent to give consent for a medical or surgical abortion for minor patients aged 17 and under. A parent will be required to accompany the minor for an abortion as well. The new Missouri law is set to go into effect in late summer, 2019, and will require the consent of two parents.

However, parental permission is not required for education, a pregnancy test, ultrasound, or STD testing. These are all no-cost, confidential services we provide you at Willowbrook Women’s Center in a compassionate and judgment-free environment.

You Deserve Answers to Your Abortion Questions

You deserve thorough, unbiased answers to all of your abortion questions. Make an appointment at Willowbrook Women’s Center today. Our professional licensed medical providers are here to empower you with the information and no-cost services you need to make informed decisions for yourself. We will compassionately walk with you every step of the way!


Are There Risks When Taking the RU486 Pill?

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you are probably feeling like your world has been turned upside down, and it’s hard to know what to do or who to talk to. Often the first thought is about abortion, and you might be wondering what the risks are when taking the RU486 pill, also known as the abortion pill.

About Medical Abortion

Medical abortion is the procedure that uses the RU486 (abortion) pill to terminate a pregnancy using two drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol.

Mifepristone is the first pill taken, and it blocks progesterone, a hormone necessary for the embryo to remain attached inside the uterus. Misoprostol, the second pill taken, stimulates contractions to expel the pregnancy.

The pills are taken on separate days, and the abortion can take several days to complete, followed by two to three weeks of bleeding and spotting. A follow-up visit one to two weeks later is a crucial step to help avoid some of the risks associated with the pills.

Risks When Taking RU486

Failure or Incomplete Abortion: Medical abortion failure means the pregnancy was unresponsive to the drugs and can result in heavy bleeding, hemorrhage, anemia, and/or a drop in blood pressure. This requires a second procedure—a surgical abortion—in order to complete a failed medical abortion; otherwise, the pregnancy could continue.

Infection: Infection and sepsis are risks associated with the abortion pill and, together with hemorrhage, are the most frequent causes of illness and death due to mifepristone. This can occur due to pregnancy tissue remaining in the uterus.

Severe Pain: This is due to the uterine cramping generated by the Misoprostol pill. This pain is both necessary and expected as the pregnancy leaves the woman’s body.

Nausea/Vomiting/Diarrhea: These can occur but are generally mild.

Damage to the Uterus: Misoprostol has been reported to cause rupturing or tearing of the uterus when RU486 is administered after the eighth week of pregnancy. This can cause severe bleeding, the need for a hysterectomy, or death.

Come for a No-Cost Screening

At Willowbrook Women’s Center, we know how hard an unwanted pregnancy is for you. We are here to offer you a variety of services, including a no-cost pregnancy test to confirm your at-home results, a no-cost ultrasound to tell you how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable, and STD testing at no cost to you as well.

Just as important as the screening is our confidential, non-judgmental environment. We are here to support you, to empower you, answer your questions, and to give you the critical information you need so that you can make the best possible decision for you.

Let us help you. Call Willowbrook Women’s Center today and make an appointment to come see us.