Deciding whether or not to terminate an unplanned pregnancy is an extremely personal decision, but it’s not uncommon. In fact, about 40% of the millions of American women who face unexpected or unwanted pregnancies every year choose to have an abortion. A medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is used to safely and effectively terminate an early pregnancy. Advantage Health Care in Wood Dale, Illinois provides medical abortion services to patients in the greater Chicagoland area. To learn more, call or book your appointment online today.
A medical abortion is carried out with a series of medications, which is why it’s often referred to as a non-surgical abortion or the abortion pill.
This procedure is only used to terminate a pregnancy that’s within the first ten weeks of the first trimester, as determined by an ultrasound.
Mifepristone, the first medicine in the process, stops a pregnancy from progressing. The second medicine, misoprostol, makes the uterus shed the pregnancy. Both medications are FDA-approved for safety and effectiveness.
Because a medical abortion involves multiple steps, requires two office visits, and partly takes place in your home, you must be in good health and you should have reliable transportation in the event of a medical emergency.
You receive your first dose of medication, mifepristone, at your first appointment. This drug works by blocking progesterone, a hormone required for pregnancy to progress. You are also asked to take antibiotics.
You take your second dose of medication, misoprostol, six to 48 hours later. Most women do this part of the process at home. Misoprostol causes your uterus to cramp and bleed heavily, a process that’s very similar to an early miscarriage.
Medical abortions are effective 98% of the time for women who are up to ten weeks pregnant. Medical abortions are only FDA-approved for use through the seventh week, so if you’re in your eighth week or beyond, you’ll require a surgical abortion.
In the rare case that a medical abortion doesn’t work or is incomplete, a surgical abortion is required.
After a medical abortion, most women can return to their normal routine within a couple of days. Heavier-than-normal bleeding usually lasts for about two weeks, and you need to use sanitary napkins (pads) during this time, not tampons.
Bleeding, cramping, and passing large-sized clots are all a normal part of the medical abortion process. You may also experience some spotting until your next period.
Your doctor at Advantage Health Care provides detailed instructions on how you should address any pain, nausea, headaches, vomiting, or diarrhea that may occur. You should avoid using aspirin to relieve pain, as it can cause additional bleeding.
If your bleeding is severe, meaning it soaks two or more sanitary pads per hour for two hours in a row, you should contact the clinic or aftercare line immediately, or head to the nearest emergency room.