Medical Abortion: What Is It, Types, Risks & Recovery

Medical Abortion: What Is It, Types, Risks & Recovery

May 30, 2022 Off By Kevin Richardson

Time of reading 4 mins 42 secs

An abortion done with a combination of drugs that are either taken orally or are administered vaginally is referred to as a Medical Abortion. It does this by first inhibiting the development of the fetus, which leads to the subsequent shedding of the uterine lining. This method of terminating a pregnancy is available from the moment a pregnancy is detected up to around nine weeks into the pregnancy.



What exactly is involved in a medical abortion?

A medical abortion, often known as medication abortion, is a method for terminating a pregnancy that involves using medicine in the form of prescription pills. It is possible to have the procedure done up to the ninth week of pregnancy and does not involve surgery. Mifepristone and misoprostol are the two drugs required to be taken to complete the process. Mifepristone is effective because it prevents the hormone progesterone from doing its job. The pregnancy can’t continue to develop in the uterus if progesterone is not present. Misoprostol is a medication that empties the uterus by causing discomfort and bleeding.

When is it possible to have an abortion by medical means?

Abortions may be done medically up to around nine weeks into a pregnancy. You can have the procedure as soon as you become aware that you are pregnant. Your healthcare practitioner will perform an ultrasound to determine whether or not you are pregnant and how far along in your pregnancy you are. Several methods can terminate a pregnancy beyond the ninth week of gestation if it has not yet occurred. Your healthcare practitioner will be able to discuss other choices with you and give guidance as you decide which one is in your best interest.

Who should not undergo an abortion using medical means?

Abortion by medical means is not a risk-free choice for women who:

  • Are beyond the point of no return in the pregnancy.
  • Carry a pregnancy in a location other than the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
  • Have a condition that prevents the blood from clotting properly or substantial anemia.
  • Have an ongoing problem with your adrenal glands.
  • Make use of corticosteroids for a prolonged period.
  • Have a gadget placed within the uterus (IUD).
  • Suffer from an allergy to any of the drugs that are administered.
  • Do not have access to care at times of emergency.
  • We are unable to schedule a further appointment at this time.

Before undergoing a medical abortion procedure, it is essential to have a conversation with your healthcare professional about your past medical history.

What are the reasons for having a medical abortion?

A choice to have a medical abortion is very personal and should be made in light of the individual’s unique circumstances. Women may choose for medical abortions for various reasons, including eliminating the possibility of passing on a genetic or congenital illness to their child, the termination of undesirable pregnancy, or completing a premature miscarriage. Additionally, it is a choice that may be made by women who have health conditions that make carrying the pregnancy potentially life-threatening.

What are the many kinds of abortions that may be performed?

Abortions may be performed both medically and surgically. The following are some distinctions that may be made between the various kinds of abortions:
Abortions performed medically (before the ninth week of pregnancy): A woman will often take two different medications (usually within 48 hours). The healthcare professional administers the drug, which may then be consumed either at the physician’s office or at the patient’s residence (or a combination of both). Your healthcare professional will offer you detailed instructions about taking the drugs and the schedule for doing so.
Abortions induced surgically: In this method of terminating a pregnancy, the embryo will be surgically extracted from the uterus by a medical professional. Mild sedation, local anesthesia (which involves numbing a region), or total anesthesia are all necessary for these kinds of abortions (fully asleep). Abortions performed in a clinic are also known as medical abortions, aspiration abortions, and dilation and curettage (D&C) abortions, among other names. A woman may choose to undergo a surgical abortion for various reasons, including personal desire, being too far along in her pregnancy, or having an unsuccessful medical abortion.

Procedure details of Medical abortion

Procedure details of Medical abortion


What exactly takes place during the medical abortion procedure?

Abortion by medical means may be accomplished either orally or vaginally (through the cervix). It may be done without the need for surgery or anesthesia. A combination of two medications that, when taken simultaneously, may result in an abortion makes this method effective. Mifepristone is effective because it prevents progesterone from doing its job. If progesterone is not present, the uterus lining will become thinner, and the embryo will be unable to remain connected. When ingested, misoprostol causes the uterus to contract, which in turn induces bleeding and the expulsion of the embryo.

The following types of Medical Abortions are the most common:

Mifepristone and Misoprostol (oral): You will either take the mifepristone while under your healthcare professional’s care or after you go back to your house. After that, you will take misoprostol somewhere between 24 and 48 hours later in the comfort of your own home.
Mifepristone, which is taken orally, and misoprostol, which may be administered vaginally, buccally, or sublingually, are the same medicine. The only difference is that misoprostol can be taken by dissolving it in the cheek or placing it beneath the tongue. Additionally, it is administered between 24 and 48 hours after the first drug.

After taking the second pill in a medical abortion procedure, you may begin to experience some of the more severe adverse effects. After taking both of the prescribed dosages of the drug, you should anticipate the following to take place:

  • Cramps and bleeding that begin anywhere from one to four hours after taking the second dose.
  • Continuous heavy bleeding accompanied by the formation of blood clots during the following several hours.
    Constant severe cramps over the last several hours.
  • After taking the second tablet, you may have chills or a low temperature that lasts for approximately a day. Some people have reported fatigue, nausea, and dizziness, in addition to experiencing diarrhea.
  • It has been decided to arrange a follow-up consultation to confirm no issues. Although the risk of infection after a medical abortion is low, some doctors and other medical professionals may recommend taking antibiotics.

How should you be ready for an abortion that a doctor will perform?

You will be required to make an appointment with your healthcare practitioner to undergo testing and assessment. Typically, this entails the following:

  • A checkup by a medical professional and a diagnosis of pregnancy.
  • The pregnancy may be seen with ultrasound technology inside the uterus.
  • Establishing the baby’жв gestational age and ensuring that the pregnancy is not ectopic.
  • Examinations of the blood and the urine.
  • A description of the process, including its potential dangers and adverse consequences.

Because you will have bleeding and cramps following the procedure, you should plan to spend the next several days at home or in another comfortable setting. A supply of absorbent pads, acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain treatment, and a heating pad for cramps should be purchased as soon as possible.

What should you anticipate after having an abortion using medical means?

The most significant adverse effects will be bleeding and cramps in the genital area. Other possible adverse reactions to a medical abortion include the following:

  • Symptoms of nausea and vomiting;
  • Fever;
  • Chills;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Headache

Is the pain of a medical abortion comparable to the anguish of labor?

Abortion by medical means feels almost like having excruciating period pains. There is a wide range of cramping and discomfort experienced by women. You may get relief from most of the despair and pain you are experiencing by using pain medicines that are available over-the-counter. Inquire with your healthcare practitioner about the many drugs that may be used to assist in pain management.

Risks / Benefits

What are the advantages of having an abortion performed medically?

A medical abortion offers the following benefits:

  • As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, you can receive one.
  • There is no need for surgical incisions or anesthesia with this procedure.
  • As soon as the cramps and bleeding begin, you are free to return home.
  • It may perhaps have a more natural feel.
  • It is possible to bring a support system with you.

What are some of the drawbacks of having an abortion by medical means?

The following are some of the drawbacks associated with medical abortion:

  • The bleeding was heavy and excruciating for the next several days.
  • After the ninth week of pregnancy, it is no longer possible to perform.
  • The procedure is more time-consuming (over days versus a few hours).

What are the potential side effects of having an abortion done medically?

Check that you are willing to finish all of the doses of the abortion medicine that your doctor prescribes for you before you start taking the drug. Skipping a dosage or not following the directions carefully might pose significant dangers to one’s health.

Medical abortion has the following risks:

  • Abortion that is not finished.
  • Uncontrollable and heavy bleeding that won’t stop.
  • Infection.
  • Fever.
  • Symptoms include abdominal ache and diarrhea.
  • The drugs triggered an allergic response in me.

After having a medical abortion, what are the warning indications of an infection?

After having a medical abortion, the most obvious warning signs of an infection include a fever that lasts longer than 24 to 48 hours and any unpleasant smells coming from the vagina.


How successful is an abortion performed by medical means?

It has been discovered that the effectiveness of the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol increases to around 98 percent. Its point is often at its peak in pregnancies that have not yet reached the seventh week of gestation.

When you have an abortion, do you have to go back for a follow-up appointment?

Your primary care physician or another healthcare practitioner will want to schedule a follow-up appointment for you to come in within two or three weeks. They are likely to do the following at this appointment:

  • Perform a pelvic exam.
  • Examine the patient for any symptoms of infection.
  • Talk about how much bleeding you experienced, when it ended, what color it was, and whether or not there were any clots.
  • Have an ultrasound done to examine your uterus.
  • If you want to prevent becoming pregnant in the future, you should discuss your options for birth control with your partner.

How long does it take to go back to normal after having an abortion by medical means?

There is no set length of time necessary to go back to normal after having a medical abortion. It’s possible that you’ll be able to go back to your routine within a day or two in certain instances. Steer clear of any actions that give you a painful experience.

There is a good chance that you may experience various feelings, including relief, grief, anxiety, and guilt. These are quite typical sentiments to have. Discussing your current emotions with a trained specialist in mental health, such as a therapist or counselor, could prove beneficial. Your healthcare practitioner may be able to provide some suggestions for mental health specialists in your area who can assist you.

How long does it take for the bleeding to stop after having a medical abortion?

The quantity of bleeding you should anticipate may vary from person to person and will also be determined by how far you were in your pregnancy. For the next one to two days, more bleeding is anticipated. Over the next two to three weeks, there will be a slight but steady decrease in the amount of bleeding. Your healthcare practitioner may advise you to use sanitary pads until the bleeding stops.

This makes it easier for you to see the amount of blood and the clots there. When you wear tampons at this period, you put yourself at a greater risk of contracting an infection.

How soon after having a medical abortion can you resume sexual activity?

After having a medical abortion, you shouldn’t engage in sexual activity for at least two to three weeks. This is done to protect the vaginal area from becoming infected. You should not place anything—not even a tampon—into your vaginal canal under any circumstances during this period.

When will it be safe to try for another pregnancy after having a medical abortion?

When your next ovulation has taken place, you will once again be in a position to conceive a child. Following a medical abortion, you may expect to resume your regular menstrual cycle within four to six weeks at the earliest. Because of the hormonal changes that the surgery causes, your first period might be somewhat unpredictable. Abortion by medical means should not impact subsequent pregnancies unless there are problems.


When should I get in touch with my primary care physician?

During the whole procedure of medical abortion, you and your healthcare provider should maintain close communication with one another. Talk about all of your worries and double-check that you comprehend the procedure and what to anticipate.

After that, you should get in touch with your healthcare practitioner if you experience any of the following:

  • Extreme bleeding, as shown by more than two thick pad saturation within an hour.
  • Fever that has lasted more than twenty-four hours.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • a severe ache in the abdomen or the back.
  • After two months, you will no longer have your periods.
  • There is a possibility that you could be pregnant.

A word from Us:

The choice to undergo a medical abortion is a very private matter. Your healthcare professional will be able to assist you during this process and ensure that you are aware of what to anticipate both before and after the surgery. The healthcare team members are there to ensure that you are well taken care of and do not experience any discomfort.