Medical abortion is a popular method that’s been adopted by women throughout the world. It has now become the most common method used for terminating an early pregnancy. The decision of discontinuing unwanted gestation is a tough one and hence preparing yourself for medical abortion emotionally and psychologically is important to have a successful, effective, and safe abortion procedure.
Medical or surgical abortion is mainly the two options that a woman has for terminating her first-trimester pregnancy. Medical abortion is a term used for a safe and effective method of terminating a pregnancy for women experiencing pregnancy until 10 weeks or less (70 days).
Medical abortion is a process that involves the consumption of medications unlike surgical abortion which involves using anaesthesia or other surgical instruments. The process of medical abortion is taken into account from the day you miss your periods. It is a two-stage process; the second stage involves taking a tablet that blocks the pregnancy hormone.
Medical abortion has a low risk compared to surgical abortion as it’s a non-surgical way for the eradication of an untimely pregnancy. It’s proven to have a high success rate of up to 98%. This process is completed only when you take the two main and very important pills viz. Mifepristone and Misoprostol. The usage of these two pills completes the termination of undesired gestation.
Characteristics of Medical Abortion:
· In comparison to surgical abortion, medical abortion is reported to give a higher rate of successful results.
· Most patients have trust in medical abortion as there are no tools used in this method; it also doesn’t include any surgical procedures.
· Medical abortion is less painful
· Women choose medical abortion because in this method there is no use of anaesthesia, it’s completely based on medications.
· During this process, you might experience heavy bleeding but it reduces in a few days.
· In medical abortion, you need to have a follow-up with your concerned doctor as it’s necessary to ensure if you had a successful abortion.
Getting yourself Prepared
Women need to prepare themselves before and after for medical abortion. The most important point to be considered during this is that she should be prepared emotionally and psychologically. The doctor guides you with all the details and information before proceeding, he/she will also tell you to perform some tests that will ensure you are fit for proceeding with medical abortion.
· The most important condition of medical abortion is that women should be 10 weeks pregnant or less than 10 weeks.
· You are advised to perform a physical exam and ultrasound test for confirming the stage of your pregnancy and the baby’s growth.
· Make sure to talk to your doctor about your medical history, what disease or illness you had in the past if any.
· Get a blood urine test done.
· Take proper guidance from health care providers and clear all your queries regarding medical abortion and how the abortion pill works.
Medications Used for Medical Abortion:
For a complete and successful termination experience, it’s important to consume a combination of two pills. They are:
· Mifepristone: This primary abortion medication is a synthetic steroid that is advised to be ingested appropriately to begin the termination process. This pill should be taken orally. This pill has two other brands names viz. Mifeprex and Kolyma. It is important to consume both the abortion pill as your abortion wouldn’t be considered complete and successful if you miss a dosage.
· Misoprostol: The second most significant pill in the abortion procedure is Misoprostol. It should be consumed to complete the process of medical abortion. Doctors suggest two respective ways to consume abortion pill: orally and vaginally. Misoprostol is said to be significantly less effective than the combination of these two abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol together. It is an inexpensive prostaglandin E1 analog that can be stable at the room temperature below 25oC. Misoprostol is also known by another brand name i.e. Cytotec.
Both the medications used for terminating your early pregnancy have been certified by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Procedure of Medical Abortion:
Initially, the health provider will guide you before beginning the process and he/she will provide you the first abortion pill at the clinic. The abortion pill should be orally consumed with a glass full of water.
The Mifepristone functions to block the female hormone named progesterone which helps continue the pregnancy. It gets separated from the fetus; it also prevents the necessary nutrients followed by oxygen to the fetus and makes it difficult for the fetus to stay alive.
As you complete stage one, the doctor will ask you to wait until 24-48 hours and instruct you on how to take the second abortion pill.
After 24-48 hours you are supposed to take the second pill called Misoprostol. Doctors report that you may expect little or heavy bleeding as per your condition.
During this process, you may experience various side effects, to control those side-effects you can consume pain relievers like Flexon-MR, Ondansetron, or Zofran. Misoprostol protects the lining of the stomach and softens the cervix and creates a contraction that expels the remaining part of pregnancy through the vagina.
Adverse Effects of Abortion Pill:
After consuming both the abortion pills, there comes a stage where you might experience certain side-effects. Some women undergoing this procedure tend to experience severe bleeding and cramping. But this is an indication that the pill is working.
The most common side-effects that you may experience after consuming the Mifepristone are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, and dizziness. After taking Misoprostol you may experience side-effects like abdominal cramps, drowsiness, and weakness.
There are chances of contracting the vaginal infection and experience heavy bleeding. At this point, pain management is very essential during a medical abortion. Following are a few medications and ways to manage excessive pain and other side effects during medical abortion:
· Medication Pain Management:
Flexon-MR is a pill that provides relief from excessive pain experienced during a medical abortion. This abortion medication should be taken off about half an hour of consuming the Misoprostol.
· Pain Management without Medications:
There are a supportive environment and an application of a heating pad or hot water bottle to reduce the pain of the lower abdomen while medical abortion. You should use this method only when you feel extreme cramps.
Things You Require Throughout Medical Termination of Pregnancy
During a medical abortion, women may experience a lot of problems and side-effects. Hence there are few necessary points that she should be kept in mind regarding what is needed during a abortion.
· Some necessities during a medical abortion should be taken care of which include close access to a bathroom, mobile phone to contact in case of emergencies, and a towel.
· You must have someone close or a loved one to comfort and take care of you during the second stage as it can be very tough considering the pain and it also takes a toll on your mental health.
· Keep sanitary napkins and hot water bags/bottles with you. Tampons may cause a risk during a medical abortion, hence it’s not recommended to use them.
· Always make sure that you have everything important that is prescribed by professionals for the procedure.
· Don’t forget to keep your health care provider updated with all the details experienced by you during the termination process of your pregnancy.
Women should not opt for medical abortion if
It is strictly inadvisable for women to choose the medical process of abortion if she:
· Does not have access to a doctor: It’s important to talk to your doctor before and while you are proceeding for the termination process as the doctor will guide you in case you have any problem, or need any guidance or in case of emergency.
· If you are over the 10 weeks of your trimester period (since you had your last menstrual period), your pregnancy gets in a critical stage hence it’s highly recommended to talk to your doctor before opting for medical abortion.
· Having a history of certain diseases of liver or heart and blood clotting disorder, or adrenal failure. If any woman has suffered from these conditions, then you should talk regarding this to an experienced professional for treating your abortion process.
· If you have a IUD, it’s necessary to remove it first and then proceed for the process or it may lead to mishaps.
· Have other treatments and medications going on other than the abortion pills as it may have dangerous interactions with abortion medications.
The above information is guidance and general information that a woman should know before she chooses the process of medical abortion. But for having an appropriate and safe abortion, you should first consult a healthcare provider and follow all the directions as prescribed by him/her and perform the process under the complete guidance of a professional to avoid any mishaps.