What Is a Medical Abortion?

A medical abortion involves taking two powerful drugs that work together to terminate and then expel a pregnancy through the vagina.

If you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy and considering a medical abortion, it’s essential to understand how it works and the associated risks to make an informed decision.

Do you want to talk to someone about medical abortion and your other pregnancy options? Contact Attleboro Women’s Health to be connected to our caring team. We’re here to answer your questions and provide information. All appointments and resources are free and confidential. 

How Does Medical Abortion Work?

A medical abortion is an option if your pregnancy is under ten weeks gestation. It involves taking two drugs at home. These drugs are mifepristone and misoprostol

Mifepristone is taken first. It interferes with your body’s absorption of progesterone, an essential hormone during pregnancy. Without it, your pregnancy will be starved of nutrients and end. 

Misoprostol is taken next. It causes uterine contractions which forces your pregnancy from your uterus.

How Might Medical Abortion Affect Me Physically?

After taking the medical abortion drugs, you will experience vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. However, you might also experience the following risks:

  • Incomplete abortion, which is when parts of the terminated pregnancy remain in your uterus
  • An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

You’re more likely to experience these risks if your pregnancy is over ten weeks gestation when you take these drugs. This is why mifepristone is only FDA-approved if your pregnancy is under ten weeks gestation. 

Ultrasound Can Protect Your Health

Before seeking a medical abortion, taking steps to protect your health is essential. Getting an ultrasound is the best way to ensure you have all the information you need to decide how to move forward. 

An ultrasound can reveal:

  • The gestational age of your pregnancy. This is vital since taking the abortion pill drugs when your pregnancy is past ten weeks gestation puts you at a greater risk for complications.
  • The location of your pregnancy. This ensures that you’re not experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, which is when the embryo attaches and grows outside the uterus—and it’s a life-threatening situation that a medical abortion can’t treat.
  • The viability of your pregnancy. Roughly 26% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, so it’s essential to know whether you’ve had one—if so, you will need follow-up care and not a medical abortion.

We’re Here to Help

At Attleboro Women’s Health, we understand what you’re going through and are here to help. We offer pregnancy resources, like free limited ultrasounds and information, that can help you make an informed decision about how to move forward. Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential appointment.