What is the Abortion Pill – aka Medical Termination?
- By Dr Rose Wang
- ● 19 Mar 2018
The Abortion Pill, also known as “Medical Termination”, is an effective and safe way to terminate an early pregnancy. It is an alternative to a surgical abortion and can, at least partially, be done in the privacy of your own home.
The medications mimic the process of a miscarriage, and involves a simple 2 step process followed by an important follow-up visit, to ensure that the termination has been successful.
Who can safely use the abortion pill?
The Abortion Pill is safe up to 9 weeks (63 days) of gestation.
There are only a few medical indications, where medical termination would not be recommended.
- if you are currently breastfeeding
- if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinning medications
- if you have a medical condition for which you need to take high doses of steroids such as severe asthma, adrenal failure
- if you have any previous allergy to mifepristone, misoprostol or prostaglandins
- if you have or are suspected of having an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus)
- If you have an IUD (must be removed before the termination)
What does the medical termination involve?
The abortion pill for a medical termination is administered in 2 steps followed by an important ‘follow-up’ 3rd step.
You will receive the first tablet on your booking visit. This tablet blocks the hormone that maintains the pregnancy.
Most women do not get any side effects from this tablet, but some may get a little bit of spotting or bleeding.
Your doctor will do an ultrasound to confirm the gestation of pregnancy and take a blood test.
This is also a good time to discuss your future contraception plans with your doctor.
24 to 48 hours after the first step, you will take the second lot of 4 tablets at home. These tablets help to contract the uterus to essentially force your body to miscarry the pregnancy.
Most women will start experiencing heavy bleeding and cramping within 4-24 hours of taking the tablets.
The cramping will be the worst within the first 24 hours. The bleeding will be heavier than your usual period and will continue for an average of 10-16 days.
It is very important that you attend for a follow-up visit in 3-4 weeks.
At the follow-up visit, your doctor will perform another ultrasound to make sure that the abortion has been completed. This is necessary because there is a small (2-7%) chance of having retained some of the pregnancy inside the womb.
In 1-2% of the cases, the medical termination will be unsuccessful and a surgical abortion will be necessary.
Your doctor will also discuss your future contraception plans if this has not been done previously.
What happens after the medical termination? What about my future fertility?
The abortion pill medications for medical terminations does not impact on your future fertility. In fact, you can conceive immediately after a medical termination. So it is very important to use effective contraception that will enable you to plan your next pregnancy or prevent an unplanned pregnancy from happening again.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Clinic 66 on (02) 9411 3411 and have a chat with one of our medical termination specialists or submit your question via our online form and we’ll get back to you asap. It is important to act fairly quickly if you’re considering a medical termination.
- Medical vs surgical termination of pregnancy – The procedures
- Abortions: Making your appointment and what to expect
- Abortion FAQs
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