Do Abortions Hurt? 

Young women in pain wondering if abortions hurt

“Do abortions hurt?” is a common question when pregnant.

There are two main types of abortion: chemical and surgical. This article covers what to expect from both. The amount of pain you may experience will depend on the type of abortion and how your body reacts to each procedure.

Is a chemical abortion painful?

Chemical abortion, or medical abortion, is often simplified down to “the abortion pill.” After taking the abortion pill, women report that they experience heavy bleeding for around two weeks and cramps akin to severe period pains. Women may also have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Women should seek emergency medical attention for complications such as infection, hemorrhaging, blood clots, signs of an ectopic pregnancy, or that have extreme pain.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

In a healthy pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. In an ectopic pregnancy, the egg attaches itself somewhere outside the uterus, often to the inside of a fallopian tube. Early signs of an ectopic pregnancy are light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain. Women also may feel shoulder pain or an urge to have a bowel movement. Emergency symptoms include heavy bleeding, lightheadedness, fainting, and shock. An ultrasound can verify an ectopic pregnancy. We offer free pregnancy ultrasounds. However, you should seek emergency medical help if you have any signs or symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. Visit Mayo Clinic to learn more about ectopic pregnancy.

Is a surgical abortion painful?

The most common type of surgical abortion is the dilation and evacuation (D&E) method. During this surgery, cervical dilation is accomplished with a thin rod and a vacuum attachment is inserted into the uterus to extract the fetus.

As a result, women experience pain and at the site, cramping in greater severity to a period, and heavy bleeding for up to 4 weeks. Some women also experience vomiting, breast tenderness, or fever.

If you experience far more significant pain or bleeding after abortion, contact your healthcare provider immediately, as you could have a perforated uterus or an infection from remaining fetal tissue.

Other things to consider:

  • Many women also report emotional pain such as regret, grief, or guilt following an abortion. Your mental health is important.
  • Abortion can pose physical risks to your permanent health. Infections can result in uterine, increasing the risk for infertility. Sepsis and hemorrhaging are life-threatening situations.

If you’d like to talk about how to handle your pregnancy, make a free appointment today by sending us a text or completing a quick form. We help women navigate an unplanned pregnancy.