Are there different types of abortion?
There are different types of abortion depending on how many weeks pregnant you are determined to be. Two of the most common forms of abortion are the “abortion pill” and the “in-clinic” abortion. Both involve risks that the staff at COLFS Medical Clinic will help you understand.
What is the “Abortion Pill”?
The abortion pill is typically administered to women who are 10 weeks along or less. The pill is a two step process involving two different types of drugs: mifpristone and misoprostal. Together the two drugs force the body to abort the fetus. The first drug causes the body to cease producing progesterone, which is a hormone needed for the baby to grow and thrive in the uterus. The second drug causes the uterus to shed the fetus, and any tissue left over in the uterus by causing contractions to expel the tissues through the vagina. The whole process could take up to 12 days.
The drugs are typically prescribed by a doctor and taken by the patient at the home. The whole process is commonly very painful and doctors typically prescribe pain medication to manage the discomfort of the process. Not only is it physically painful, it can also be emotionally traumatizing to the patient since it is often done alone. Side effects include: heavy bleeding, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and severe cramping.
The abortion pill can be reversed by a process called "abortion pill reversal". COLFS Medical Clinic can perform the APR process, but you must contact us immediately.
What is an “In-Clinic Abortion”?
“In-Clinic Abortion” is a term used when a woman is 10 weeks along or more and a surgical procedure is recommended by a doctor to carry out an abortion. There are three types: vacuum aspiration, dilation and evacuation, and dilation and extraction.
Vacuum aspiration occurs when you are 10-16 weeks along. You lie on your back with your feet in stirrups, and a speculum is inserted to open the vagina. A local anesthetic is administered to your cervix to numb it. Then a tenaculum is used to hold your cervix in place to be dilated by absorbent rods that vary in size. The rods may also be put in a few days prior to the procedure. When your cervix is wide enough, a suction device is inserted into the uterus to suction out your fetus and placenta. The fetus’ heartbeat is often still beating up to time of being suctioned.
Dilation and evacuation(D&E) is a procedure performed after 12 weeks. 24 hours prior to the procedure, a synthetic dilator will be inserted inside the cervix. When the procedure begins, cone shaped rods are used to dilate your cervix. Numbing medication may be given as well as a shot to make sure your baby’s heartbeat has stopped. A tube will then suction out the fetus and placenta and then if needed, forceps are used to remove anything to big to scoop out. Your uterus is finally suctioned out to make sure everything has been removed.
Lastly, there is a procedure called dilation and extraction(D&X), or “partial-birth abortion” which is performed after 22 weeks, when a fetus is deemed viable to survive outside the womb. Although procedures are different from state to state, the first part of the procedure follows along with the steps of a D&E. In some cases, the baby is so far along, they have to induce labor, and then make a small incision in the baby’s head to stop breathing and suction out the brain.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Post market Drug Safety Information for Patients and Providers (2016). Mifeprex (mifepristone) information. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm111323