Abortion, whether surgical or medication, comes with a number of risks. Some of those risks include heavy bleeding, infection, fever, and incomplete abortion, which can be harmful to your health.

To make an informed decision about your unplanned pregnancy keep reading and learn more about the risks of abortion.

Abortion Pill Risks

The abortion pill goes by many different names: RU-486, the abortion pill, medication abortion, and medical abortion. Regardless of the name, it involves the same regimen of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. 

To begin the abortion, mifepristone is taken at the abortion clinic where it is prescribed. It causes fetal demise by blocking progesterone, a hormone needed for the pregnancy to grow.

Misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours later at home. It causes uterine cramping to expel the fetal tissue from the womb. 

While the process sounds simple enough, there are risks to be aware of before you decide to take the abortion pill: 

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

Another risk to be aware of is septic shock. This can cause death if undetected and untreated. If you’ve taken the abortion pill and experience any of the following symptoms, it is suggested to  seek medical care immediately:

  • Fever
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Very heavy bleeding
  • Overall feeling of discomfort
  • Fainting

The abortion pill is one of many drugs the FDA had on its REMs list up until recently. REMs (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) is a drug safety program the US FDA can require for certain medications with serious safety concerns to help ensure that the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks. Until very recently, the abortion pill was in this safety program, and after examining the risks, you can see why. It is important to be fully-informed about all possible risks of any drug before deciding to take that drug.

Surgical Abortion Risks

There are two primary surgical abortion procedures: vacuum aspiration and dilation & evacuation (D&E). They differ based on how far along you are but carry the same risks:

  • Passing blood clots that are larger than a lemon for more than two hours
  • Bleeding that is heavy enough that you have to change your pad twice in one hour for two hours straight
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Fever
  • Pain or cramping that gets worse instead of better, especially after 48 hours
  • Pregnancy symptoms that persist after one week

If you experience any of those symptoms following a surgical abortion, immediate medical attention is needed.

Before Choosing Abortion

Before you schedule an abortion appointment, there are three things you should do. 

First, schedule an ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy. An ultrasound will reveal whether or not you’re eligible for the abortion pill (based on how far along you are) and will also alert you to a possible ectopic pregnancy which is life-threatening. 

Second, make an appointment to get tested for STIs. Existing STIs should be treated prior to an abortion to avoid severe risks like pelvic inflammatory disease and sepsis.

Third, carefully consider all of your options. Many women feel abortion is their only option, but you don’t have to choose an abortion if that’s not what you want. It’s important to carefully weigh the risks of any medical procedure prior to choosing it.
At Sienna Women’s Health, we offer free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds to confirm your pregnancy, and we refer you for STI testing and treatment. Get the care you need and deserve by scheduling an appointment today.