Types of Abortions

An abortion is a procedure that ends a pregnancy.  The growing fetus is removed either surgically or non-surgically from the woman’s uterus due to various reasons.

Depending on how pregnant a woman is, there are several different ways for abortions to be performed.  For instance, an abortion carried out in the first trimester will be through either a surgical  procedure or through taking certain medications.  Before undergoing either option, most women are given a sonogram that determines the viability of the pregnancy and the exact date of pregnancy gestation—or exactly how long the woman has been pregnant.

Types of Abortions:

Abortions During the First Trimester of Pregnancy:

During the first trimester there is often a choice between a medical abortion or a surgical abortion. Medical abortions are less invasive and are typically carried out up to nine weeks of pregnancy where a woman takes oral medications to induce an abortion. The various abortion procedures in this trimester are:

o    Methotrexate & Mesoprostol (MTX):

This is a type of medication typically used during the first seven weeks of pregnancy.

o    Mifepristone and Mesoprostol:

Another type of medication used between six to nine weeks of pregnancy. RU- 486 is the most prescribed.

o    Suction Aspiration:

This is a surgical procedure used to abort the pregnancy of six to twelve weeks. The procedure is as also called vacuum aspiration or suction curettage.

Abortions during the Second Trimester of Pregnancy:

During the second trimester of pregnancy, surgical abortions are the only option, which include:

o    Dilation & Curettage:

Often called a D&C, it is the surgical procedure used to abort a pregnancy between thirteen and fifteen weeks, though it can also be used during the latter part of the first trimester.  A woman’s cervix is dilated and the contents of her uterus are removed.

o    Dilation & Evacuation:

A D&E is also a surgical procedure that is used to abort a pregnancy up to twenty one weeks old. A doctor uses forceps to remove the fetus from the woman’s uterus after her cervix is dilated.

o    Induced Abortion:

This type of procedure is rarely used in which salt, water, urea or potassium chloride are injected in the uterine sac to abort the fetus.

Abortions during the Third Trimester of Pregnancy:

The available surgical options during this final trimester are:

o    Induced Abortion:

This is a rarely-performed procedure in which salt, water, potassium chloride are all injected in the amniotic sac, which increases its density and as the result the fetus dies.

o    Dilation & Extraction:

This procedure is followed to abort the fetus older than twenty one weeks. This procedure is also known as intrauterine cranial decompression or partial birth abortion.

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