woman in green thinking of abortion

Is Abortion Painful?

If you are unexpectedly pregnant and weighing your options, elective abortion is likely an option you’ve come across in your search. Before making any medical decision, it is best to investigate the pros and cons and decide from there what makes the most sense for you.

Read this article to understand the short- and long-term effects of elective abortion, what symptoms you could possibly experience from the procedure, as well as what to consider before scheduling an abortion.

What Sort of Symptoms Should I Expect If I Get an Abortion?

Every medical procedure has its own set of risks and side effects. An abortion can be induced by medication in early pregnancy (medical abortion) or performed as an in-clinic surgical procedure (surgical abortion). 

Many times, the type of abortion depends on how long a woman has been pregnant. Both types can cause discomfort.

Medical Abortion

Side Effects of Medical Abortion

According to the Mayo Clinic, some discomfort can be caused by medical abortion (pregnancy ended by medication). Side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

Cramping and vaginal bleeding are common as well, as they are part of how the abortion pill works to expel the pregnancy.

Risks of Medical Abortion 

  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Surgical Abortion 

Side Effects of Surgical Abortion 

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gyneclogists, women can expect to have cramping or soreness after a surgical abortion. Depending on the type of abortion, some women may have the option for an epidural (pain block) during the procedure itself.

Risks of Surgical Abortion

According to the Mayo Clinic, the risks of a surgical abortion also include: 

  • Bleeding, including blood clots 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Feeling faint
  • Fever
  • Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
  • Pain that gets worse instead of better
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection 

Seek medical care if you experience any of the above symptoms.

Can Abortion Be Emotionally Painful? 

Pain isn’t always a physical symptom. It’s impossible to know what your response to getting an abortion procedure will be because each woman’s response is different. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of how abortion may factor into psychological concerns for some women.

Some studies have found an association between abortion and depression or even symptoms of PTSD.

Other mental health concerns reported by women who have had abortions include: 

Before Making a Decision 

An ultrasound exam can give you information such as how long you have been pregnant and the location of the pregnancy. This can help you better help you make a decision. 
If you would like to schedule your no-cost ultrasound to learn more, contact us today!

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