If you are considering traveling for an abortion, getting information about your pregnancy, the procedure, and the risks will help protect your health and safety.

Know More About Your Pregnancy

The Cleveland Clinic recommends that women receive an ultrasound when considering an abortion. The information you learn about your pregnancy from an ultrasound can assist you in choosing the best abortion option. 

The ultrasound will confirm that the pregnancy is viable (has a heartbeat and is growing.) 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Miscarriage might not need treatment or need a different treatment.

An ultrasound will date your pregnancy. This is important when choosing an abortion because the procedure you are eligible for depends on how long you have been pregnant. For example, the FDA has only approved medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, for pregnancies up to 10 weeks.

An ultrasound will verify the location of the pregnancy. Some pregnancies implant in a woman’s body outside the uterus. This is a dangerous condition for the woman called an ectopic pregnancy, so it requires immediate medical attention. Abortion is not an effective treatment for ectopic pregnancy.

Know the Risks

Like every medical procedure, abortion has risks. Educate yourself about them so that you will know what to expect and can reach out to a medical provider if you have complications.

Risks of medical abortion include: 

  • 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

Risks of surgical abortion include:

  • A hole poked through the wall of the uterus
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

After a surgical abortion, women are sent home to recover. In a medical abortion, the woman usually takes the first pill in the provider’s office and takes the second pill within 48 hours when she is home. This means the responsibility of monitoring for symptoms of complications falls on the woman as she is recovering. 

A woman should seek immediate medical attention if she has any of the following symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge 

Know Whom to Call

Since you will be in a different state than your abortion provider, you will need to have a plan in place in the event you experience complications. 

Know ahead of time which provider you will see for follow-up care. Have contact information for an in-state provider saved and in a convenient location so you can reach out immediately if you notice signs of complications. 

Have More Questions?

For more information, contact Pregnancy Center West. We offer pre-abortion screenings at no cost that will include a pregnancy test and an ultrasound if you test positive.