Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy and wondering if abortion is a painful option? While abortion will cause abdominal cramping and vaginal bleeding, every woman will experience varying levels of discomfort based on her unique pain threshold.

Read on to learn more about how abortion works and what side effects or risks you might experience. Or, if you want a pre-abortion screening to protect your health, contact Pregnancy Center West today to be connected to one of our caring team members. All appointments are free and confidential. 

How Does Abortion Work?

There are two main types of abortion. If your pregnancy is under 10 weeks old, medical abortion (also known as the “abortion pill”) is an option. Medical abortion involves taking two different drugs that work together to terminate and expel the pregnancy through your vagina. 

Along with abdominal cramping, you might also experience the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

For pregnancies past 10 weeks, surgical abortion is your only choice for terminating your pregnancy. This type of abortion involves dilating your cervix so that medical instruments can enter your uterus to remove the pregnancy. This involves the scraping of your uterus with sharp tools and forceful suctioning to vacuum out the pregnancy. 

The dilation of your cervix and the entering of the tools into your uterus can be painful, but the level of pain is unique to each woman. Afterward, you will also experience abdominal cramping and vaginal bleeding.

What Are the Risks of Abortion?

Abortion is a serious procedure, and it’s essential to be aware of potential risks to safeguard your health—this is especially true for medical abortions, since they are done at home without the oversight of a medical professional. 

Risks of a 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:

  • Perforation of the uterus. This occurs when a surgical instrument pokes a hole in the uterus. 
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall

Next Steps

If you’re considering abortion, it’s essential to protect your health. One of the main ways to do this is by getting an ultrasound beforehand. This harmless scan can reveal the age of your pregnancy—which is needed for a medical abortion—and other key details that will help keep you safe as you move forward.

At Pregnancy Center West, we offer free ultrasounds, information, and other resources that can help you feel confident about making the best pregnancy decision for you. Contact us today to schedule your free appointment in a welcoming, non-judgmental space.