Both medical abortion (also known as the “abortion pill”) and surgical abortion are associated with physical side effects and risks that can negatively affect your body. After either type of abortion, your body will experience vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. However, you might also experience other physical side effects and risks, depending on the type of abortion and your unique situation.
Read on to learn more about how abortion might affect your body and how to protect your physical health before seeking an abortion.
Side Effects and Risks of Abortion
The side effects and risks associated with abortion depend on what type of abortion you receive.
Effects of Medical Abortion (Abortion Pills)
Medical abortion involves taking two powerful drugs that work together to terminate a pregnancy and then force it from the uterus through the vagina.
These drugs are only FDA-approved if your pregnancy is under ten weeks gestation. If your pregnancy is further along, you’re at a greater risk for adverse physical complications.
The abortion pill drugs may affect your body and cause you to experience:
While physical risks associated with medical abortion are less common, they’re also more severe. The risks of medical abortion include:
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
Along with these potentially harmful consequences of abortion on your body, if the abortion drugs fail, you might also experience an ongoing pregnancy or an incomplete abortion (when parts of the terminated pregnancy remain in your uterus).
Effects of Surgical Abortion
Surgical abortion is often done later in pregnancy, and it involves dilating the cervix so that surgical instruments can enter the uterus to scrape and suction out the pregnancy.
The physical risks associated with this type of abortion include:
- Perforation of the uterus (which is when the surgical instrument pokes a hole in your uterus)
- Cervical damage
- Uterine scarring
How Can I Keep Myself Safe?
The most crucial step before seeking an abortion is to receive an ultrasound. This simple scan will give you the critical information you need to stay safe.