Is Abortion Painful?

Is Abortion Painful?

Some women find abortion painful, while others might only feel discomfort. Whether or not an abortion is painful is determined by several different factors, including:

●      The type of procedure used

●      Complications

●      The patient’s pain tolerance

●      The anesthesia and pain medications used

Types of Abortion Procedures

The abortion procedure chosen is dependent on factors that vary in each situation.

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion uses two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, to terminate a pregnancy under 10 weeks. Side effects from a medical abortion can include:

●      Heavy bleeding

●      Abdominal cramping

●      Nausea

●      Vomiting

●      Fever

●      Chills

●      Diarrhea

●      Headache

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion uses tools to dilate (open) the cervix to allow the abortion provider access to the pregnancy. The abortion provider uses suction and other tools to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. Painful side effects to expect from a surgical abortion can include:

●      Abdominal cramping

●      Bleeding

What Are Possible Abortion Complications?

Like any medical procedure, abortion carries risks. Not every woman will experience complications, but if they arise, they can be painful and must be addressed by medical professionals as soon as possible. Risks of abortion can include:

●      Incomplete abortion

●      Heavy bleeding that will not stop

●      Infection

●      Fever

●      Diarrhea and digestive pain

●      Allergic reaction to the medications


You should seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following during or after an abortion:

●      Severe bleeding

●      Fever that lasts more than 24hours

●      Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

●      Severe abdominal or back pain

●      Your period doesn’t return after two months

●      Symptoms of pregnancy

Will I Be In Pain?

When it comes to pain tolerance, every woman is unique. Whether a woman finds an abortion extremely painful or simply uncomfortable depends on how her body responds to pain.


Your experience is the best predictor of your pain tolerance. Pain management for abortion consists of anesthesia and pain medication for aftercare.


For a surgical abortion, the abortion provider uses a local anesthetic (numbing of the area). The anesthetic injection can be painful, but a woman will not feel anything in that area until it wears off. Some women choose general anesthesia for a surgical abortion, but this is not always offered. It depends on the clinic providing the abortion and will be an increased expense.


For pain during a medical abortion and care after a surgical abortion, it is usually suggested that a woman use over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin).

How Can We Help?

Choosing an outcome for your pregnancy is complex, but we are here to help. If you have more questions about your options, we provide no-cost appointments during which you can obtain all the information you need. Contact us today to schedule your visit.

Call: 858-397-1970
Text: 858-822-9335
Skip to content