What do I need to know about abortion?

Abortion can be a difficult topic. Some say how quick, easy, and safe abortion is, but rarely mention the side effects and risks.

We want you to be fully informed, so what do you really know about the procedures and potential risks?

Am I really pregnant?

Obviously, the first step is to verify your pregnancy. A pregnancy test is reliable, but more information like an ultrasound may be necessary before you go to a clinic; you should establish how far along you are, and if your pregnancy is progressing. You can learn some of this information with an ultrasound.

The cost for ultrasound in Green Bay is $325 on average. At Alexandrina Pregnancy Center, we offer both pregnancy tests and ultrasounds for free.

The Different Methods

There are two basic abortion methods, medical and surgical.

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion uses drugs to terminate a pregnancy. If you’ve heard about the abortion pill or RU-486, those are medical abortions.

When a woman is pregnant, her body increases the production of a hormone called progesterone. This “pregnancy hormone” helps the uterus grow by thickening its lining during pregnancy.

The abortion pill method uses two powerful drugs to terminate the pregnancy. The first drug blocks progesterone and thins the lining of the uterus so the fetus can no longer stay implanted and grow. Within 24 to 48 hours, the second drug causes your body to start contractions pushing the fetus out.

Probable Side Effects:

  • Bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Nausea and possible vomiting
  • Possible fever, chills or headache

Potential Risks:

  • An incomplete abortion requiring more medication or surgery
  • An ongoing unwanted pregnancy
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Death has occurred in some cases

Surgical Abortion

As the pregnancy progresses the risks change.

One method is called Vacuum Aspiration. It’s similar to a dilation and curettage (D & C). The doctor inserts a spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge or a suction device and removes the fetal tissue.

If you are farther along in your pregnancy, the doctor might use dilation and evacuation (D & E) or dilation and extraction (D & X) which may include the use of forceps to remove the fetus.

Probable Side Effects:

  • Cramping
  • Spotting or light bleeding

Potential Risks:

  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection
  • Death can occur

The importance of ultrasound

At Alexandrina Pregnancy Center, our ultrasound scans are performed by trained professionals. They are completely free and confidential. Contact us or come in to talk about challenges you might have and possibly view an ultrasound of your pregnancy.

Or, we can refer you to the St. Gianna Clinic in De Pere for further care and possibly an ultrasound if your situation warrants a more in-depth medical evaluation. The clinic offers same-day appointments in most cases in a very welcoming and caring setting.