Everyone tolerates a different level of pain. So, you may be wondering if your body can handle the physical pain of an abortion. At CareNet of NNY, we want to empower you to make the best decision for your future and your body. So, before you take your next step, read through this article as we talk about the pain experienced in an abortion. 

Do Abortions Hurt? 

The type of abortion will affect the level of pain. Plus, medical history, gestational age (how far along you are), emotional health, and complications all influence pain. So, before having an abortion, you’ll want to speak with a healthcare provider. Call 315-782-5433 to speak with our qualified medical team.

How Painful Is the Abortion Pill? 

During a medical abortion (or the abortion pills), pain begins after the second set of pills—misoprostol. The medication causes the uterus to contract and to expel the pregnancy. 


On average, women report a higher level of pain than they expected.  They describe the pain as worse than menstrual cramps and compare it to labor contractions. One study correlated painful periods with a more painful abortion.


Plus, preexisting medical conditions could make an abortion painful or even dangerous for you. 

Does Pain During an Abortion Mean That Something is Wrong? 

Abortion providers should educate women about when to seek urgent medical care after an abortion. They should also follow up to evaluate for any complications.


Severe abdominal pain during or after an abortion could occur with an infection or an ectopic pregnancy. When not properly treated, both could cause death. Half of the women with an ectopic pregnancy did not have any previous risk factors. So, women should have an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic pregnancy before having an abortion. Call 315-782-5433 for a cost-free ultrasound. 

Does Anxiety Make Pain Worse? 

Your pain tolerance, stress level, or current emotions affect your ability to manage pain. One study found that women with more generalized anxiety reported a more painful abortion. Plus, a painful abortion may lead to anxiety about future pregnancies or procedures.

Is an Abortion More Painful the Further Along I Am? 

During a pill abortion, one study showed that women feel pain longer when they are further along in their pregnancy. Plus, the chances of a failed abortion increase the further along a woman is in the pregnancy. If unsuccessful, then a woman will need further medical or surgical interventions.  

How Painful Is a Surgical Abortion?

There are three types of surgical abortions: 


Vacuum aspiration: Before fourteen weeks of pregnancy, a healthcare provider dilates a woman’s cervix. Then, they insert a suction and curettage catheter into the uterus to remove the contents of pregnancy. 

  • Pain management depends on the provider and could include local anesthetic around the cervix, oral pain medication, and in rare cases, general anesthetics. Women may experience cramping for a few days after the procedure. 

Dilation and Extravasation (D&E): Between fourteen and twenty-six weeks of pregnancy, a healthcare provider dilates the cervix before inserting instruments to dismember the fetus. Then, the provider pulls the contents of the pregnancy out of the uterus. 

  • Typically, this procedure is done under general anesthesia. Again, a woman may have cramping after the procedure.

Induction Abortion: After twenty-six weeks of pregnancy, a healthcare provider inserts a needle through a woman’s abdomen to inject the fetus with a medication that stops the heart. Then, the provider dilates the woman’s cervix over a couple of days and supplies medication to induce labor contractions.  

  • Pain management may be similar to labor pain management. 


Even with medication or anesthesia, one study reports that women still feel pain. Healthcare providers should educate about the risks and side effects of anesthesia and pain medication. 

How Is Pain Managed During An Abortion? 

You’ll want to know all the risks associated with your abortion options. Then, you can know more about what to expect before, during, and afterward. Call us to speak with our medical professionals about your health history, options, and concerns. 

Get the Facts about Pain in An Abortion in Lowville and Watertown, NY

We know that making a decision feels lonely and scary. At CareNet of NNY, we create a safe space for you to share your thoughts before you make an informed decision.  Call us today for a free, confidential appointment at 315-782-5433 or make an appointment online.