Medical abortions performed in the first 9 weeks of pregnancy have a very low risk of complications. This risk is the same as when a woman has a natural miscarriage. These problems can easily be treated by a doctor.
Out of every 100 women that do medical abortions, 2 or 3 women have to go to a doctor, first aid center, or hospital to receive further medical care. In countries where childbirth is safe, 1 in every 10.000 women dies during childbirth. Less than 1 in every 100,000 women who use a medical abortion die, making medical abortions safer than childbirth and about as safe as naturally occurring miscarriages. This means that a safe abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol is always lifesaving.
What is the abortion pill?
“Abortion pill” is the popular name for using 2 medicines to end a pregnancy – mifepristone and misoprostol. In general, it’s used up to 70 days – 10 weeks – after the first day of a woman’s last period. Women who need an abortion and are more than 10 weeks pregnant can have an in-clinic abortion.
You can feel confident in knowing that medication abortion with the abortion pill is very effective. You’ll follow up with your nurse or doctor after your abortion so you can be sure that it worked and that you are well. In the unlikely case that it doesn’t work, you may need another dose of medication or to have an in-clinic abortion to end the pregnancy.
What happens during a medication abortion?
It’s common for women to be nervous about having a medication abortion – or any other medical procedure. But many of us feel better if we know what to expect. Your health care provider will talk with you and answer your questions. Here’s a general idea of how it works and what to expect.
Before taking the abortion pill, you will need to
- discuss your options
- talk about your medical history
- have laboratory tests
- have a physical exam. This usually includes an ultrasound.
- read and sign papers
You will also be given a medication guide, instructions, and other information to take home with you, including a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week telephone number you can call if you have any questions or concerns.
Medication abortion is a process that begins immediately after taking the first pill.
There are three steps:
Step one – Mifepristone
Your health care provider will give you the first medicine at the clinic. You will also be given some antibiotics.
Step two – Misoprostol
You will take a second medicine – misoprostol. It causes the uterus to empty.
You’ll take the second medicine 24-48 hours after taking mifepristone. Your health care provider will give you instructions on how and when to take the second medicine.
The second medicine – misoprostol – will cause you to have cramps and bleed heavily. Some women may begin bleeding before taking the second medicine. But for most, the bleeding and cramping begin after taking it. It usually lasts a few hours. You may see large blood clots or tissue at the time of the abortion.
More than half of women abort within four or five hours after taking the second medicine. For others, it takes longer. But most women abort within a few days.
It’s normal to have some bleeding or spotting for up to four weeks after the abortion. Only use pads for bleeding after an abortion.
For most women, medication abortion is like an early miscarriage. It is normal for you to have bleeding and cramping. You might also
- feel dizzy
- feel strong cramps
- feel nauseous or vomit
- have diarrhea
- feel temporary abdominal pain
- have temporary mild fever or chills
Acetaminophen (like Tylenol) or ibuprofen (like Advil) can reduce most of these symptoms. Do not take aspirin.
You may feel more at ease if you have a trusted loved one with you during the abortion.
Step three – follow-up
You will need to follow up within 1-2 weeks. Follow-up is important to make sure your abortion is complete and that you are well. You will need an ultrasound or blood test.
In the unlikely event that you are still pregnant, your health care provider will discuss your options with you. In the unlikely case that it doesn’t work, you may need another dose of medication or to have an in-clinic abortion to end the pregnancy.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.