Medical abortion is one of the most common methods used to terminate an early pregnancy. Medical abortion as the name suggests, is a non-surgical method to induce abortion. It involves the usage of certain medicines also referred as “abortion pills” that work together to terminate the premature pregnancy.
Who is eligible to take an abortion pill?
For an effective medical abortion, abortion pills should be taken within 8-9 weeks of conception. Abortion pills are not effective for advanced pregnancies.
The physical health conditions of the woman should also be taken into consideration before going for an abortion pill. A woman should never for a medical abortion if she suffers from any of these physical conditions:
- Pregnancy advanced more than 2 months
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Heart problem
- Liver problem
- Kidney problem
- Blood clotting problems
- Heavy smoker
- Frequent user of steroids or aspirin.
Steps involved in medical abortion
There are a series of steps involved to induce an effective medical abortion.
1) Get a confirmed pregnancy test:
First and the foremost, one needs to get a conformed pregnancy report. Women who miss their periods often assume they have conceived and rush for abortion pills prior to the pregnancy confirmation. Remember, this is not safe. It can lead to serious uterus and vaginal disorders in the future.
2) Meet your gynecologist for the prescription:
Once the pregnancy is confirmed and is less than 8-9 weeks, the gynecologist will prescribe 2 different abortion pills: Mifeprex (RU-486) and Misoprostol to be taken in steps.
How does an abortion pill works?
The gynecologist will prescribe 3 dose of “Mifeprex (RU-486)” each 200 mg, to be taken orally.
Mifeprex (RU-486) detaches the fertilized egg from the uterus lining by blocking the release of progesterone hormone required for a successful and safe pregnancy to occur. Restricted progesterone release causes the uterine lining to shed and bleeding occurs.
In case, the bleeding does not occur, another abortion pill “Misoprostol” will be given within 2 days of Mifeprex (RU-486) that can be taken either orally or inserted inside the vagina.
Misoprostol contracts the uterus and expels the fertilized egg, tissues and other uterus contents followed by bleeding. One may find large tissue pieces and blood clots which may last a few weeks.
It may take 6-10 days to completely remove the fetus from the uterus.
3) Follow up:
After taking both the abortion pills, a follow up with the gynecologist is a must to ensure that the pregnancy has successfully been terminated. The gynecologist will also look if there is any infection or bleeding disorder that has occurred after taking the pills.
A follow up will also suggest if any fetal part is left inside the uterus (incomplete abortion) that needs to be removed by surgical procedure.
How much time does medical abortion take?
A complete medical abortion may happen either in a day or may take around 4-5 weeks after taking the fist abortion pill.
Bleeding after taking abortion pill?
The bleeding can start 3-4 hours after taking the first medicine Mifeprex (RU-486). It could either be like small spots or heavy enough similar to during the first days of menses. However, bleeding increases after the intake of the second tablet Misoprostol. A woman may experience heavy bleeding with passing of clots and tissues that may last for more than 3 weeks.
Bleeding can be very heavy and lasts longer than with a surgical.
How effective are abortion pills in terminating pregnancy?
Abortion pills: Mifeprex (RU-486) and Misoprostol are around 95 % to 98 % effective when used within 8-9 weeks of conception.
However, in some cases, some fetal tissues may remain inside the uterus (incomplete abortion) that calls for a surgical procedure.
There are chances that the fetus survives the abortion pills and the pregnancy continues. In this case, the pills will have some serious impact on the developing fetus. It could cause serious deformities in the baby. To avoid such complications, a surgical abortion is required to complete the abortion.
Side effects / Risks of an abortion pill:
Besides heavy bleeding which is the most obvious after effect post abortion, a woman may also experience certain health conditions such as:
- Severe cramping
- Allergic reactions
- Mild fever
The above side effects are considered normal and they gradually go away with time. However, one needs a medical attention if:
- The bleeding is very heavy accompanied by severe cramping
- A high-body temperature
- Larger clots and tissues
The above symptoms could possibly be either due to an undetected Ectopic pregnancy (where the fetus attaches to the fallopian tube wall rather than the uterus wall) or incomplete abortion.
Affect of abortion pills on menstrual cycle:
Medical abortion / abortion pills can also affect your menstrual cycle. You may experience skipped or irregular menses. It will take a few months for your body to get back normal and regular periods.
Is abortion pill safe while breast feeding
If a woman who is already breast feeding her infant, gets pregnant and wants to go for a medical abortion, she should stop breast feeding for a few days. Breastfeeding, after taking the pills, can cause the medicines; Mifeprex (RU-486) and Misoprostol enter the milk causing health complications to your baby.