What Happens During An Abortion?

There are many reasons someone would want to know what happens during an abortion. Conflicting information is often supplied by websites, pro-choice and pro-life sources, and personal accounts. Not all of this information is intentionally misleading or untruthful. What happens during an abortion varies depending on the type of abortion performed.

An initial consultation is done to discuss the pregnancy and abortion. An ultrasound may be performed to verify the gestational age of the embryo. The pregnant woman can discuss the type of abortion that will be used and what to expect when getting an abortion. A medical screening or checkup may be done to determine the woman’s overall health and test for anemia and sexually-transmitted diseases. The woman may be given a sedative to take prior to the appointment to have the abortion.

One type of abortion uses drugs that are commonly referred to as the abortion pill. The abortion pill is used to terminate an early pregnancy. The pregnant woman will take the first dose to stop the hormones that support the pregnancy. The second dose is taken a few days later during a second appointment at the doctor’s office or clinic. The pregnant woman will bleed after the second pill. This is essentially a miscarriage that has been initiated by the drugs.

Another type of abortion uses suction to remove the embryo from the uterus. Different drugs including Pitocin and local anesthesia may be used during this procedure to dilate and numb the cervix. The doctor uses a thin tube that is inserted through the cervix to remove the embryo with suction. The vacuum may be a manual pump or electrical vacuum.

An abortion that is performed after twelve weeks may need to happen under general anesthesia. The abortion that occurs after fifteen weeks uses medication to dilate the cervix. Forceps and suction may be used to remove the unborn child and clean the uterus from tissue related to the pregnancy.

Generally, the later the pregnancy is at the time of the abortion, the more pain and bleeding occurs after the procedure. With an abortion during early pregnancy, the woman may only experience some pain when the local anesthetic is injected in the cervix.

The woman may experience some abdominal pain and cramping after an abortion. Possible complications of abortion include damage to the cervix, excessive bleeding or hemorrhaging, and damage to the uterus. Some women also experience unexpected psychological problems related to the abortion that can persist for years.

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