If a woman has arrived at the decision of getting an abortion, the choices that she makes from this point on have to be based on proper and accurate information about the different types of abortion. Broadly speaking there are medical options, surgical options and other options which may lack safety and reliability.
We look at the different types of abortion a woman can opt for, to surgically end a pregnancy –
Suction aspiration or vacuum abortion
This is the most commonly used type of surgical abortion, particularly in the first trimester or initial 12 weeks of a pregnancy. This kind of abortion can be done either manually or electrically.
In a manual vacuum aspiration procedure, the surgeon uses a manual syringe to extract the content of the uterus including the fetal tissue, the placenta and the membranes and other material.
In the case of electrical vacuum aspiration, an electric pump is used to perform the same function.
Yet another kind of vacuum extraction is menstrual extraction or mini-suction as it is also known, that can be used very early on in the pregnancy. The different types of abortion may be used depending upon how far along the pregnancy is; whether dilation is required or not.
One of the advantages of this kind of abortion over others is the fact that it can be used very early on in the pregnancy; as early as the 6th week of pregnancy. It is a very effective method of abortion and usually doesn’t require a second aspiration procedure.
The rate of complications is also lower in this when compared with the other different types of abortion. Also there is no need to administer general anesthesia and so can be performed even at a clinic or a non-hospital setting and the level of skill required for this procedure is not very high.
Dilation and curettage
This is the second most common type of surgical abortion, and involves the use of a curette to clear the walls of the uterus. In this procedure, the woman is usually put under general anesthesia and the uterus is dilated to enable the content of the uterus to be removed.
This procedure is now less used among the different types of abortion, because it has a higher rate of complications. It is used only when vacuum aspiration is not available and for miscarriage management, to make diagnostic assessments and other purposes rather than for terminating a pregnancy.
The possible complications from this type of abortion may occur as a result of the anesthesia; or there could be uterine perforation, infection of the fallopian tube, intrauterine adhesions etc. Threat to future pregnancies, risk of ectopic pregnancy and abnormal placentation risk also rises with this procedure.
Other different types of abortion include inducing premature delivery with prostaglandin, which is done during second trimester abortions, since vacuum aspiration is not suitable after the first trimester.
Another method of abortion is intact dilation and extraction (intrauterine cranial decompression), which is also called partial birth abortion which is banned in the US. There is also a hysterotomy abortion, which is similar to a C-section.