Having an abortion is a difficult decision to make; physically, mentally and emotionally. But when you have the proper guidance, you can decide for yourself, since you are the one in control of your body. Unlike surgical abortion, medication abortion does not need to take place in a hospital, this makes it a suitable option for many women. It is important to have a follow-up appointment to make sure the procedure is complete and the pregnancy has ended. Abortion can be an emotional experience, so make sure you take utmost care of yourself. This can include using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to help manage the cramps, hot packs and massaging the painful area can be helpful, talking to someone you trust and gaining knowledge about abortion pills from an expert.

TC46 connected with Dr Neha Bothara, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital to give a detailed analysis on abortion pills. Here she explains how these pills function, what to expect, risks and success rate.

1. Abortion pills are medications that induce abortion

Abortion pills or more correctly abortifacients, are medications that can be administered orally or vaginally, which induce abortion. Administered in the right way under medical supervision, they are one of the options for termination of pregnancy in the first trimester.

2. Termination of pregnancy by medical method uses two types of drugs

Abortive medications are of many types. Typically, the commonly used method for medical termination of pregnancy by medical method uses two types of drugs.

  • One class of drugs are anti-Progestogens (the hormone which sustains a pregnancy in the uterus). This class of medications stops the hormonal support to the foetus and causes the pregnancy to become non-viable.
  • The second class of medications are Prostaglandins. They cause contractions in the uterine muscles and help in expelling the products of conception out of the uterus.

3. Medical termination of pregnancy should be done under the strictest supervision of an Obstetrician-Gynaecologist

Like any other medical or surgical procedure, medical termination of pregnancy should also be done under the strictest supervision of an Obstetrician-Gynaecologist. The patients for whom medical termination of pregnancy by the medical method is a suitable option, have to be carefully selected. It is a safe and effective method for most patients who have been properly selected. At the same time, it must be understood that retained products and incomplete abortion are known complications of medical termination, and the patient has to be monitored post-procedure with ultrasonographic evaluation.

4. Medical termination of pregnancy is granted by law

Medical termination of pregnancy is granted by law for various indications, including failure of contraception or when the continuation of pregnancy deems a high risk to the mother or the baby or in case of gross structural anomalies in the baby. Termination of pregnancy using medical methods is permitted in the first trimester. It is further deemed safest in the first 7-8 weeks of gestation because increasing gestational age comes with the risk of more haemorrhage.

5. Bleeding and cramps are common

One must never consume an abortion pill without medical supervision. Bleeding, the passage of clots vaginally, uterine cramps are common and expected after taking medical pills for the termination of pregnancy.

6. Women are advised to wait a month or two before trying to conceive again

Generally, the process of abortion results in blood loss and abdominal discomfort. It is usually advisable for the women to wait a month or two before trying to conceive again. However, this may vary depending on the circumstances and the indications of the termination in the first place.

7.  Unsupervised termination of pregnancy can have disastrous complications

Improper, unsupervised termination of pregnancy can have serious and disastrous complications. Pelvic infections, excessive bleeding and severe abdominal pain can be some of the complications. Incomplete expulsion of products of conception can result in retained products over a long time, secondary infections and irregular bleeding.

8. A thorough evaluation is necessary before administering the pills

Advanced pregnancy, gestational age or structural anomalies of the uterus are not suitable for termination by the medical method. At the same time, a thorough evaluation of the patient by an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist is necessary before administering the pills.

9. One must visit a doctor if facing excessive bleeding, excessive abdominal pain 

Excessive bleeding, excessive abdominal pain or cramps, abnormal vaginal discharge, or irregular vaginal bleeding are signs of retained products of conception or infection, and one must visit a doctor at the earliest for the same.

10. A surgical method can also be used

Termination of pregnancy can be safely and effectively done by a surgical method called the ‘evacuation of the uterus’. Depending on the gestational age and the patient’s evaluation, the doctor will advise about the suitable method for termination.

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