How a Medical and Surgical Abortion Differ

How a Medical and Surgical Abortion Differ

Abortion is a safe, effective way to take control of your health, your life, and your future. It’s also a lot more common than people realize. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, about a quarter of all women will have an abortion before age 45. 

When considering abortion, knowing the differences between medical and surgical options is essential so you understand which approach is better for you.

At Desert Star Family PlanningDeShawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG, offers medical and surgical abortions at her Phoenix, Arizona, practice. In this post, learn the differences between these two options.

Quick facts about medical abortion

A medical abortion uses medication to end a pregnancy. Typically used during the first ten weeks (70 days) of pregnancy, a medical abortion involves taking two medications (mifepristone and misoprostol) over two days.

On the first day, you visit our office to take your first dose. Within 48 hours, you return to take the second medication. In some instances, you may be able to take the second dose at home. Following your second dose, you can expect to experience contractions that eventually terminate the pregnancy. 

Afterward, you’ll experience bleeding that can be heavier than normal. You’ll also need a follow-up visit with Dr. Taylor to ensure the abortion was successful. .

Medication abortions have a success rate of about 94%-98%. If a medication abortion is incomplete, you’ll need to have a surgical abortion to complete the termination.

Quick facts about surgical abortion

Surgical abortion uses medical instruments and gentle suction to terminate a pregnancy. At 12 weeks gestation and later, Dr. Taylor also uses medication to help open the cervix before your procedure. Twilight sedation helps you stay comfortable. 

Afterward, you’ll have some cramping and bleeding that should not be heavier than a regular period. You can use a maxi pad for bleeding, but you’ll need to avoid tampons for the first week or so after the procedure to reduce the risk of infection. Using a heating pad can help relieve cramping, and taking ibuprofen (aspirin can increase bleeding) is OK.

On the day of your procedure, you should plan to rest to support initial healing. You’ll need to avoid having sex for at least a week, and you’ll need to avoid strenuous physical activity for about a week, as well.

Know your options

Arizona state law currently does not allow abortion care after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The abortion landscape is rapidly changing in Arizona and across the nation. If you’re considering an abortion, it’s important to schedule an office visit right away so we can let you know about any legal steps needed before your procedure. 

To learn more about abortion and the options we offer, call 480-447-8857 to book an appointment with Dr. Taylor and the team at Desert Star Family Planning today.

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