A medical abortion uses two medicines to end an unwanted pregnancy (commonly known as the Abortion Pill). The first tablet weakens the attachment of the pregnancy to the uterus. A second medication is then taken 36 to 48 hrs later, which makes the uterus cramp and causes bleeding to expel the pregnancy.
The most common side effects of medical abortion are caused by the second pill. In addition to cramps and bleeding, early side effects may include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, chills, or fatigue. It causes cramping pain and bleeding, usually within a few hours of using the tablets. Pain can range from mild, period-like pain to severe, disabling pain.
In about 5% of cases, the medications do not work and the pregnancy continues to grow. In these cases, a suction procedure (surgical abortion) must be done to empty the uterus and complete the abortion. Deciding to continue the pregnancy to term is not an option after taking medications because the medications can cause birth defects in the pregnancy.
Although cramping and bleeding are expected as part of ending a pregnancy, rarely, serious and potentially threatening bleeding, infections or other problems can occur following a medical abortion. The use of this treatment is not risk free.
A medical abortion may be suitable for most pregnancies up to 9 weeks but there are certain conditions that may prevent women from choosing this method. These conditions are listed below:
- Women who wish to minimise participation in their abortion
- Women who are anxious to have the abortion over quickly
- Women that can’t return for follow up visits
- Women who can’t communicate easily with the provider due to language or comprehension barriers
- Women who are unable to access phone services or Emergency medical treatment
- Women who are unwilling to undergo a surgical abortion procedure should the medical method fail, or in case of an incomplete abortion, heavy bleeding
The following medical conditions also make her unsuitable.
- Allergy to the medications in the abortion pills
- Severe anaemia
- Bleeding disorders
- Inherited porphyria (rare blood disorder)
- Long term anti-coagulant therapy (blood thinning agents) (Warfarin, Heparin)
- Chronic adrenal failure
- Corticosteroids therapy (eg. cortisone)
- Irritable bowel disease (chronic diarrhoea and Crohn’s disease)
- Serious systemic illness (eg. Heart disease, severe liver disease, kidney failure, uncontrolled seizures)
- Serious pelvic infection
- Confirmed or suspected ectopic pregnancy (Pregnancy growing outside uterus)
- Presence of an intrauterine device. This must be removed before proceeding with abortion.
- Women who are breastfeeding may be eligible, provided the woman is prepared to stop breastfeeding from Day 1 (taking the first tablet) until Day 4 (24 hours after taking the four tablets).
What if I live far away from the clinic?
Yes, we can help you as long as you live within 1 hour from a hospital. Your first consultation will happen at the clinic where the clinic doctor will assess you and do an ultrasound. We will initiate treatment and liaise with your GP of choice for your follow-up assessment 2-3 weeks later. Any further questions please discuss when making your appointment.
Making Your Choice
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