Did you discover you are unexpectedly pregnant and not sure what to do? If you’re considering abortion for your unplanned pregnancy, get the facts about procedures, side effects, and potential risks first. Health issues like an incomplete abortion, damage to your cervix, and even depression are real possibilities. Talk with one of our trained peer counselors to get more information.

Are There Different Types of Abortion?

There are two main types of abortion, medical and surgical. How far along you are in your pregnancy determines the type of procedure you have. The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) states that abortion is legal in Nevada up to 24 weeks of pregnancy when performed by a licensed physician.

Medical Abortion

You may know medical abortion by another name, the abortion pill. This method uses two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, to terminate a pregnancy. The FDA approves this method through 10 weeks of pregnancy only.  

Mifepristone, the first drug taken, blocks a much-needed hormone called progesterone from reaching the uterus. Without progesterone, the pregnancy cannot survive. 

The second drug, misoprostol, causes contractions, so a woman’s body expels the pregnancy through the vagina.

The Mayo Clinic writes, “Having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences. If you’re considering this procedure, make sure you understand what it entails, side effects, possible risks, complications and alternatives.”

Risks of Medical Abortion

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

Surgical Abortion

There are several surgical abortion procedures. Once again, how far along you are in your pregnancy determines which method the abortion provider uses.

All surgical abortions are performed in a clinic or hospital using medication or instruments to dilate (open) the cervix (leading to the uterus) and other various medical tools. 

The provider might use vacuum or suction aspiration if you are still in your first trimester (under 13 weeks). A suction tube is attached to a syringe to pull the pregnancy out of the uterus.

Sometimes it’s necessary to have dilation and curettage (D & C). This method includes scraping the inside of the uterus with a sharp spoon-shaped instrument.

Abortion providers perform a D & E (dilation and evacuation) for later-term abortions. A D & E often requires forceps to remove larger parts of the pregnancy.

Since Nevada allows abortion up through the 24th week of pregnancy, the provider performs an induction abortion using medications to induce labor and delivery. 

Risks of Surgical Abortion

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

Are There Other Risks of Abortion?

For some women, there are emotional risks with abortion too. One study determined that women who have abortions are likely to have “elevated rates of mental illness” compared to women who have never had an abortion. Women who have pre-existing mental health issues are especially vulnerable.

Where Can I Get More Information?

The trained peer counselors at Life Choices are always available to talk with you. We provide free and confidential pregnancy services to every woman struggling with an unplanned pregnancy. 

At Life Choices, you are valued, heard, and supported regardless of your pregnancy decision. Schedule an appointment today.