Abortion Services? Choosing Between Medical And Surgical Options

Should you choose a medical or surgical abortion? According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), by the age of 45, nearly one in four American women will have an abortion. But abortion services don't always have to include invasive procedures. If you're not sure which option to choose, take a look at what you need to know about the abortion pill.

What Are the Differences Between the Two Options?

An abortion pill clinic offers what are known as medical abortions. This option requires two steps—a medication called mifepristone (this stops the pregnancy from progressing) and a medication called misoprostol (this causes the cramping/bleeding and allows the uterus to empty). You will need to take the second medication one to two days after the first, according to the ACOG.

Unlike a medical, or pill-induced abortion, the surgical option requires an invasive procedure. The doctor will numb your cervix and use rods (known as dilators) to open it and begin the abortion. This procedure is done in a doctor's office or clinic. 

Do You Have To Go To A Clinic for the Abortion Pill?

Yes, you will need to visit a doctor's office or clinic to get and start the medication. But you will not need to stay in the clinic for the entire abortion. Instead, you will complete the process in the comfort and privacy of your own home. This may make a medical abortion a better choice for some women. 

Can You Use Birth Control After A Medical Abortion?

You can get pregnant as soon as you start to ovulate again. The ACOG notes that a woman's period will typically start within four to six weeks post-abortion. The precise time of ovulation after a pregnancy varies and depends on factors such as your typical menstrual cycle and overall health. The bleeding and cramping an abortion pill causes is not a period. 

To prevent another unplanned pregnancy, you will need to start birth control after your abortion. A clinic doctor can discuss the options and the effectiveness of each option. Even though a medical abortion requires the use of pills, these are not the same type of medication used to prevent pregnancy. Common birth control methods include birth control pills, the birth control implant, the patch, a vaginal ring, a diaphragm, a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD), and a copper IUD.

If you prefer a hormone-free birth control option, talk to your doctor about barrier methods, such as condoms, a cervical cap, or a diaphragm. The copper IUD is a long-lasting, hormone-free option that a doctor places inside of your uterus. Discuss birth control options, timing, and effectiveness with your doctor during your clinic appointment. The sooner you decide on a method, the less likely it is that you will have a repeat pregnancy.

Contact a clinic near you for more information about abortion services