Abortion is very common, and people have abortions for many different reasons. Only you know you and what’s the best for yourself. So, prepare yourself with the helpful information in case you or your friends face unplanned pregnancies.
Overview of Abortion Options
Abortion is the termination (end) of a pregnancy. Most abortions are performed during the first trimester of pregnancy (up to 12 weeks), but some may be performed in the second trimester (12 to 24 weeks) or, in rare circumstances, in the third trimester (24 to 36 weeks).
What Are Your Abortion Options?
There are two main types of abortion:
- Medical abortion (the “abortion pill”) – taking medication to end the pregnancy
- Surgical abortion – a minor procedure to remove the pregnancy
Medical abortion procedures are available for terminating a pregnancy during the early weeks of the first trimester. An oral preparation for medical abortion is commonly referred to as an abortion pill.
The treatment involves taking two types of medicine at two different times. It is the safest treatment option up to 9 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy for most women. The first medication that is taken, called mifepristone, blocks the hormone needed for pregnancy to grow. Either on the same day, 24, 48 or 72 hours later, a second medication is taken called misoprostol, which causes the body to expel the pregnancy from the womb.
Medical abortions are non-invasive, requiring no anesthesia. They are also 95 percent effective and cause serious side effects in less than 1 percent of women who choose them.
Surgical abortions are also called in-clinic abortions – a surgical abortion involves the pregnancy being removed through the vagina using gentle suction. They are typically more effective than a medical abortion, with a lower risk of an incomplete procedure. There are two types of surgical abortion: aspiration abortion and dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion.
Women up to 14 to 16 weeks pregnant can have an aspiration abortion – this is quick and simple, and takes about 5 – 10 minutes. While D&E abortions are typically performed at 14 to 16 weeks or after. Depending on your gestation, you’ll be offered sedation or a general anaesthetic. The procedure will take up to 20 minutes, and you will be in the clinic for half a day to a full day in total for doctor’s observation.