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Medical vs Surgical Abortion

Learn the differences within the Medical and Surgical abortion procedures down below 

At Brampton Abortion Women's Clinic, we make sure your questions, no matter how difficult, are answered.

What Is The Difference Between Medical & Surgical Abortion?

We answer some of the frequently asked questions about the differences between medical and sugical abortion to help you make the best choice for you. ​

Medical Abortion

  • Up to 9 weeks (63 days) with a 95-98% success rate.

The medical abortion usually requires only one visit to the clinic and a follow-up blood test at your nearest lab within one week of your appointment to confirm that the medication was successful.

The medical abortion is a two-day process with one tablet of Mifepristone taken on day 1 and four Misoprostol tablets taken within 24-48 hours later.

It usually takes several hours for the abortion to occur after taking Misoprostol with bleeding and cramping beginning within 30 minutes to 4 hours after.

Cramping can be mild to severe and can be stronger than your regular menstrual period until the pregnancy is expelled.

Stronger cramps usually do not last longer than 24 hours. Cramping can often be managed with Advil or Tylenol Extra Strength and/or a heating pad as needed. 

Bleeding can vary from light to heavy. It is not uncommon for bleeding to be heavier than your regular menstrual period with the passing of blood clots and tissues.

Bleeding usually lasts up to 11 days. Light bleeding or spotting can last up to 30 days or more, but does not usually go beyond your next menstrual period. Your next menstrual period usually returns within 4-6 weeks of your medical abortion.

The medical abortion is 95-98% successful. When it fails, a surgical abortion is necessary.

Yes, it is safe. Both medications have been formally studied and used safely. Future fertility and childbearing ability is unaffected, barring rare or serious complications do not occur. 


It may seem more natural to some women, like having a miscarriage.

It is less invasive than the surgical abortion. No anesthesia, instruments, or vacuum aspirator machine is used.

Being able to have an abortion at home may seem more comforting and private.

The support person of your choice can be with you during the abortion.

It can take several days for the abortion process to be completed. This is not always a predictable process.

Bleeding and cramping can vary for each person. Some women may experience severe cramping and heavy bleeding that can last longer than with the surgical abortion.

Misoprostol may cause side effects, including: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and dizziness.

It has a higher failure rate than the surgical abortion.

A follow-up blood test at your nearest lab is necessary within one week of your appointment to confirm termination of pregnancy.

Surgical Abortion

The surgical abortion can be performed within the first or second trimester of pregnancy with a 99% success rate. A pregnancy less than 4 weeks may increase the chance of a failed abortion.

Your appointment may take up to 2-3 hours, including wait-time, counselling, the procedure, and recovery time.

The surgical abortion is a 5-8 minute procedure.

If you wish to inform your personal health care provider of your surgical abortion, you can schedule an appointment with them 2-3 weeks later.

Cramping can vary from light to severe during the surgical procedure. An intravenous (IV) pain medication and light sedative is given prior to starting the abortion to help minimize discomfort and anxiety. You will also have the support of your nurses and doctor to help guide you through the procedure.

After the surgical abortion, cramping usually decreases and can be relieved by Advil or Tylenol Extra Strength and/or a heating pad as needed.

Bleeding can vary. Most women have light to moderate bleeding and/or spotting that can continue for up to 2-3 weeks. It is rare for bleeding to last up until your next menstrual period. Your next menstrual period usually returns within 4-6 weeks of your surgical abortion.

The surgical abortion is over 99% successful. Less than 1% of the time the surgical abortion fails, requiring the procedure to be repeated.

Yes, it is safe. First trimester abortions have complication rate of less than 1%, and are at least 10 times safer than childbirth. Future fertility and childbearing ability is not affected, barring rare or serious complications do not occur.

It has a higher success rate than the medical abortion.

Medical staff is present throughout the procedure, including nurses and a doctor.

It can be performed farther along in the pregnancy than the medical abortion.

Minimal recovery time is needed. Most women are able to return to their normal daily activities the next day.

Most women have less bleeding and cramping with the surgical abortion than with medical abortion.

It is a more invasive procedure involving a doctor using instruments inside the uterus.

Intravenous pain medication and light sedation is used to manage pain and anxiety during the procedure. These medications may cause side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and/or dizziness.

Women have less control over the abortion process and who is with her during this time.

The vacuum aspirator used during the procedure may seem noisy.

Learn very important information regarding the Medical Abortion Pills on how to take it, when and much more.

View the Medical and Surgical Forms


Get in touch with us. Call our office to speak with one of our staff members about your options now.

We are located in Brampton, Ontario. Just north of Mississauga, west of York Region (Vaughan, Markham, etc.), east of Guelph, and south of Barrie.

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