How To Determine Your Risk Factors for Pregnancy and Abortion
How To Determine Your Risk Factors for Pregnancy and Abortion

Are you worried that your pregnancy might further jeopardize you and your health problems? Do you wonder if it’s riskier to continue your pregnancy or have an abortion?

This article will discuss high-risk pregnancy, abortion risks, and how to determine your risk factor for pregnancy and abortion.

What Is a High-Risk Pregnancy?

The term “high-risk” can sound rather scary, but it means that your healthcare provider will monitor you more closely because there are factors that increase your or your baby’s chances of problems.

Obstetricians (OB/GYNs) specializing in high-risk pregnancies are skilled at monitoring you closely if you have conditions that may put you at higher risk for pregnancy complications.

Common risk factors for pregnancy include:

  • Maternal age

If you are over age 35 or age 17 or younger, you may be at increased risk. Your OB/GYN will have you visit more often to catch potential problems early. Women can successfully continue their pregnancies even after 40.

  • Maternal weight

Being underweight or obese can also affect your pregnancy. If your BMI (body mass index) is under 18.5, you may have a higher risk of miscarriage or preterm birth. If your BMI is over 30, you might also be at higher risk of high blood pressure. Despite potential risks, you can still have a healthy pregnancy.

  • Existing health conditions

Having an existing health condition can cause you to feel anxious, wondering how pregnancy will affect you and your baby. Medicine is constantly advancing, and your OB/GYN will discuss ways to keep you safe during a high-risk pregnancy.

  • Multiple pregnancy

Being pregnant with multiple babies increases your risks, including giving birth too early. If your doctor has suggested you abort one or more embryos because of a multiple pregnancy, be sure to seek other opinions from high-risk OB/GYNs so you can make an informed decision about your situation. And keep in mind that  98% of triplets born at 28 weeks (3 months prematurely) survive.

Is It Riskier To Continue Your High-Risk Pregnancy or Have an Abortion?

Abortion is so common in our culture that it’s easy to forget that it has risks, too. Researchers report that women are four times more likely to die within the year after an abortion than after giving birth.

Abortion risks include:

  • Infection
  • Sepsis or septic shock
  • Damage to cervix or uterus
  • Uterine perforation
  • Injury to bowel or bladder
  • Uterine scarring
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Future infertility, miscarriage, preterm delivery
  • Post-abortion stress syndrome (PASS)/depression
  • Death

How To Determine Your Risk Factors for Pregnancy and Abortion

If you are considering abortion due to your risk factors, it’s critical to gather all the information you can so you can feel secure about the decision you make.

  1. Do your own research. Consider joining online groups to talk to others who have been in your shoes and have access to resources.
  2. Get multiple professional opinions from high-risk OB/GYNs who have a complete understanding of your specific risk factors. Bring a list of questions with you.
  3. Trust your gut.

Willowbrook Can Help You Decide

Willowbrook offers compassionate pregnancy services from licensed healthcare professionals at no cost to help you decide what is best for you and your health. Make your confidential appointment today.

Can You Change Your Mind After Taking the Abortion Pill?

Did you take the first abortion pill but now regret your decision? You no longer want an abortion, but fear it’s too late to continue your pregnancy. Can you change your mind after taking the abortion pill? The answer is, “Yes!”

A physician-developed protocol, called abortion pill reversal (APR), was created for women who change their minds after taking the first abortion pill but haven’t taken the second dose. If this describes you, you aren’t alone. APR treatment was developed because of the number of women who changed their minds after starting the abortion pill process. Many have gone on to carry their pregnancies to term.

But timing is important. APR treatment is most successful within 72 hours of taking the first abortion pill with the highest success rates within 24  hours.

How the Abortion Pill Works

The abortion pill is a medication abortion rather than a surgical abortion. It’s not the same as the morning-after pill. You can obtain a medication abortion up to 70 days after the first day of your last period, but only through a medical provider.

A medical abortion typically consists of taking two medications. The first medication, mifepristone, is taken at a doctor’s office or clinic. The second medication, misoprostol, is taken at home 24-48 hours later.


Progesterone is a hormone vital to support your pregnancy. Mifepristone, the first pill you take in a medication abortion, binds to progesterone receptors and blocks your uterus’ and placenta’s ability to recognize your body’s progesterone. When this happens, the sustaining lining of your uterus begins to break down, and the embryo’s heart ceases to beat.


24-48 hours after taking mifepristone, you will take the second medication, misoprostol. Misoprostol works by causing bleeding and strong cramps to expel the pregnancy from your uterus. You can expect to pass clots and tissue. The abortion should be complete within 4-48 hours. However, lighter cramping may continue for about a week, and bleeding to spotting for about two to three weeks.

Some women report distress upon seeing the expelled pregnancy. Since the abortion happens at home, you may not prepared to see the results of ending your pregnancy. It’s a good idea to have someone with you in the event of any complications.

You Have Changed Your Mind. Now What?

If you have only taken the first medication, mifepristone, and you’ve changed your mind, it might not be too late! Don’t take the second medication, misoprostol, and contact Abortion Pill Rescue right away. Like you, many other women have changed their minds after beginning the abortion process, and the Abortion Pill Rescue team created a helpline staffed by medical professionals to help walk you through what to do next.

The Abortion Pill Reversal Process

  1. Don’t take the second medication if you want your pregnancy to continue and contact the Abortion Pill Rescue helpline within 24 hours to increase the chances of a successful abortion reversal. However, even if more than 72 hours have passed, still reach out for help.
  2. If the helpline medical professional determines an APR is possible, you will receive a referral to a local medical provider who can see you right away.
  3. The medical provider will complete an ultrasound to determine if your pregnancy is still viable (if the embryo has a heartbeat) and verify how far along you are.
  4. If the ultrasound determines your pregnancy is still viable, the medical provider will prescribe progesterone. Since mifepristone binds to progesterone receptors, the medical provider will give you extra progesterone, so it’s presence is more numerous than the mifepristone.

The progesterone will be given to you orally, vaginally, or by injection, and you will continue taking it until the end of your first trimester of pregnancy. This protocol allows your body to recognize the pregnancy-supporting progesterone the mifepristone was blocking.

Does Abortion Pill Reversal Work?

Studies reveal that 64-68% of women who receive the APR protocol go on to have successful pregnancies.

If a woman chooses not to receive the APR treatment but doesn’t take misoprostol after taking mifepristone, she may still have nearly a 50% chance of having a successful pregnancy. The choice is yours.

Are There Side Effects or Risks to Abortion Pill Reversal?

APR is considered safe. Physicians have been using progesterone safely in early pregnancy for over 50 years. Just be sure to follow your medical provider’s instructions carefully.

Also, note that some progesterone includes peanut oil. Tell the medical care provider if you’re allergic to peanuts so they can give you peanut-free progesterone.

Possible side effects of progesterone can include PMS-like symptoms, nausea, sleepiness, low energy, dizziness, and headaches. Drinking extra fluids can reduce progesterone’s side effects.

Taking misoprostol and progesterone during pregnancy doesn’t appear to be harmful to a fetus. Studies show that the rate of congenital disabilities (birth defects) after APR is lower than for the general population.

Does Abortion Pill Reversal Mean You Have to Raise Your Child?

No. There are many reasons women change their minds about abortion. Sometimes women decide they want to raise their children, but don’t know how to financially or practically manage it.

If this is your situation, Willowbrook Women’s Center provides no-cost, judgment-free advocates to address your concerns and answer your questions. There are over 2,000 organizations across the U.S. that help women who choose to parent their unexpected pregnancies. We can provide you with a list of local community resources. These resources provide services, tangible resources, and ongoing support so you can parent successfully.

Sometimes women decide they can’t proceed with an abortion knowing they aren’t ready to raise a child. If this describes you, contact Willowbrook Women’s Center for a confidential appointment to talk over your options.  Our compassionate advocates can provide referral choices for you if you would like to pursue learning more about adoption. We are here to come alongside you so you can make a confident decision for your future.

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.