What is a surgical abortion?
Surgical abortions come in different shapes and sizes depending on your stage of pregnancy. Regardless of the type of procedure, all surgical abortions are a means of ending a pregnancy through surgical means. Unlike the abortion pill, surgical abortions are performed and completed at a doctor’s office or an abortion clinic.
Each type of surgical abortion will involve some form of forced dilation and extraction (either using forceps or a suction method). Some abortions will end with the abortion provider using a tool to scrape the lining of the uterus to ensure that no tissue is remaining.
What are the side effects of a surgical abortion?
Most women who undergo a surgical abortion can expect to experience some pain, discomfort, cramping, bleeding, and nausea, however, there are a few serious — and even life-threatening — complications to be aware of and look out for.
Scarring of the Uterus
Trauma from surgical abortions can cause uterine scarring, especially when an abortion is performed on a woman with a preexisting uterine infection or inflammation (like Endometritis or Chlamydia). Uterine scarring can cause lasting infertility as sperm might be blocked from fertilizing an egg or the endometrial lining is not healthy enough for an embryo to implant.
Surgical abortions can increase the risk of septic shock when a surgical instrument introduces new bacteria to the body or pieces of tissue from the pregnancy are left in the uterus. Septic shock should be addressed immediately as it can result in cardiac failure, liver failure, kidney failure, respiratory failure, and death.
Increased Risk for Placenta Previa
There is evidence for an increased risk of placenta previa in future pregnancies related to surgical abortions. Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta — an organ that develops during the pregnancy to feed and nourish the fetus — covers the opening of the uterus, called the cervix. This condition can cause severe and life-threatening bleeding and preterm birth.
Long-term Mental Health Issues
In addition to these serious physical risks associated with surgical abortion, there is also an increase in the risk of mental health issues. Abortion is often sold as the pregnancy option that is “best for women,” however, there is no evidence for any mental health benefits related to abortion. In fact, there is a heavy and undeniable correlation between negative mental health outcomes and abortion procedures. Evidence points to “the association between abortion and higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance use, traumatic symptoms, sleep disorders, and other negative outcomes.”
I’m pregnant! What do I do?
An unexpected positive pregnancy test can be one of the most stressful things a woman can experience. If you’re currently facing an unplanned pregnancy, remember that you’re not alone!
Your friends at PCC Petoskey are here to help you navigate your various pregnancy options and the pros and cons of each and provide you with no-cost healthcare, from pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, advice on STD testing, and more!
Contact us to learn how we can help.