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Types of Abortions and their Risks

First trimester, Second trimester abortions are most common. Types include Mini-Suction, Medical Abortion, Surgical Abortion and induced labor.

There are several types of abortions that a woman can elect to have in the US and many other countries where abortion is legal. Most of these are done in an abortion clinic on an outpatient basis but some may require inpatient overnight care.

Abortion, actually known as Therapeutic Abortion is defined as the intentional ending of a pregnancy before the fetus is able to live independently. Abortion was made legal in the US in 1973.

Some causes why women choose to have abortion may be that continuing the pregnancy and having the baby would cause hardship to the woman, endanger their health or life, or if the fetus has medical abnormalities that would make it disabled if it were born.

It is recommended that before a woman gets an abortion, she should obtain Pre-Abortion Counseling. This will give her information about the options she may have to avoid the abortion. For example if she wants an abortion because she cannot raise the kid, she can be shown options for Adoption to see if she would want to have the baby and have it be adopted.

The doctor performing the abortion must know the Stage of pregnancy before performing the abortion. Some States in the US may require a one day waiting period before an abortion is performed and some require parental consent if the woman is under 18 years.

Most abortions are performed in the First Trimester which is the first 13 weeks since the woman had her last menstrual cycle. This is the safest time to have an abortion.

Sometimes abortions must be done in the Second Trimester (13 to 24 weeks after last menstrual cycle). This is usually in cases when a woman has to wait for genetic testing of the fetus to confirm is it has genetic abnormalities. These tests are possible only in the Second Trimester. Sometimes young teenagers may not recognize they are pregnant and may want to have an abortion in the second trimester. There is higher risk of complications to have abortion in this period.

Abortion after 24 weeks is very dangerous and is only done if the mother's life is in danger.

Some insurance pay for abortions but others don't. Federal law currently stipulates that no federal funds like Medicaid will be used to cover elective abortion.

The several types of abortion procedures are:

Mini Suction

This type of abortion is done early in the pregnancy. The contents of the uterus are suctioned out using a thin plastic tube inserted into undilated cervix. This method is also called Menstrual regulation or pre-emptive abortion.

This type of abortion is safe because the amount of fetal material is small. However, this makes it easy to miss and if the fetus is missed in the extraction, this can lead to a Failed Abortion and the pregnancy can continue as normal.

Medical Abortion

This is abortion where a woman takes medication to get rid of the fetus. A woman takes a medicine called Methotrexate which stops the fetus cells from dividing hence not grow. About a week later, she is given a drug called Mosoprostol which helps her get rid of the existing fetus.

Medical abortion is successful in about 96% of times. If it fails, then surgical abortion can be performed.

First Trimester Surgical Abortion

This type of abortion is performed using a Dilation and Extraction (D&E) equipment. A woman's Cervix is dilated by inserting rods into the cervix and expanding them gradually. Once dilated enough, a tube is inserted and the contents of the uterus are suctioned out.

This method is successful almost 100% of the times and is done under local anesthesia to avoid pain.

Induced Labor

This is usually done when the fetus is in the second trimester. This is an inpatient procedure where the woman has to stay in the hospital overnight. Rods are inserted in her cervix to dilate it, then on the second day, she is given drugs to induce labor. Then salt water solution is injected in her uterus and the fetus is delivered within 8 to 72 hours.


After abortion is performed, the woman is advised to stay away from sex and not use tampons to reduce risk of infection.


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