What is medical abortion?

Medical abortion is the procedure to terminate or end pregnancy using medication. A medical abortion does not involve surgical procedure or the use of an anesthesia and can be done either in a doctor’s clinic or at home with follow-up visits to the doctor. Medical abortion is safer and most effective during the first trimester.

Having a medical abortion is a major decision involving emotional and psychological consequences. If you are considering medical abortion, make sure you understand the procedure, any possible side effects, risks, and discuss them with your doctor prior to the procedure. 

Also Read- Medical termination of pregnancy pills or Abortion pills in India

How does medical abortion work?

In a medical abortion, the female is given two abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) to terminate the pregnancy.

Medical Abortion- First Pill

After diagnosis and physical examination, the gynecologist will give two pills to terminate the pregnancy. The female is suggested to take the first pill in the doctor’s clinic and can take the second pill at home. The first pill in medical abortion is mifepristone. During pregnancy, the levels of the hormone progesterone get very high to support the pregnancy. Mifepristone blocks the female’s body to produce progesterone, stopping the pregnancy from developing further.

Medical Abortion- Second Pill

The female can take the second pill misoprostol, 24 to 48 hours after the first pill. This pill causes cramping and bleeding to remove pregnancy tissues from the uterus. The female will then have vaginal bleeding, which expels out the pregnancy tissues from the uterus. This bleeding is like a heavy period and may cause mild to severe cramping. If you do not start bleeding within 24 hours after taking the second pill, call your doctor.

Also Read- Is Abortion painful?

What happens during and after a medication abortion

female having abdominal pain after abortion

After taking the second abortion pill at home, the female may experience the following:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea, dizziness, headache and fever 
  • Headache
  • Hot flashes
  • Pain (starts within half an hour after the second pill and is generally stronger than period pain)
  • Bleeding – heavier than a period and may have blood clots
  • Bleeding remains similar to a normal period for 3 to 7 days after medical abortion
  • Irregular bleeding for spotting can last for up to 4 weeks after after medical abortion

Also Read- Safe and Legal Medical Termination of Pregnancy

A female may experience bleeding (including passing blood clots) and cramping for up to two weeks after a medical abortion. Most females have an abortion from a couple of hours to 1-2 days after taking the second pill. However, it is normal to experience light bleeding, spotting, and cramping for up to 4 weeks following a medical abortion. 


Next Steps 

After a medical abortion, the female will need a follow-up visit with her doctor to make sure she is healing properly and to evaluate her uterine size, bleeding, or any signs of infection. To minimize the risk of infection, do not have vaginal intercourse or use tampons for 2 weeks after a medical abortion. It is very important that the abortion is carried out safely by an expert doctor. In case you have more doubts, queries or concerns, or are looking forward to having an abortion, consult our gynecologist online.



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