FAQ About Abortion / Termination of Pregnancy
What is a medical abortion?
Pregnancy terminated by taking medications. Alternative is surgical abortion by using instruments and suction curettage.
What are the medications and How do they work?
The 1st medication administered is the mifeprex (abortion pill). It stops the embryonic or fetal cells from dividing therefore the pregnancy stops growing. The 2nd drug is misoprostol or cytotec, which comes in the form of a pill and is inserted into the vagina. The misoprostol causes the uterus to contract and empty. This ends the pregnancy.
Is this method safe?
These medications have been used for 40 years usually in higher doses and for longer periods of time. They are approved by the FDA Agency (Food and Drug Administration) for other uses. The abortion pill (Mifeprex) is FDA approved misoprosol and has not been approved for pregnancy termination. There are many cases in which drugs are used for reasons other than those for which they were initially approved for, example, aspirin used to prevent heart attacks. A drug becomes FDA approved if a drug company applies for it after studies are completed. With the controversies of the abortion issue this hasnít happened yet.
Will this effect my future ability to have children?
Long-term studies show that women, who have medical abortions, did not have a more difficult time becoming pregnant and did not have increased rates of birth defects. These drugs pass out of your body within hours. There is no evidence that they affect fertility or future pregnancies.
How will I know when the abortion is complete?
The only way to be certain that the abortion is over is to come back to the clinic for your follow-up visit.
What will the embryo (baby) look like?
The embryo is usually a small amount of white tissue, and sometimes it is inside a blood clot. Even if you see it close up, it doesnít look like a baby, it is much too small to have any real shape. If you donít see it, there is no need to worry, since it is very early and easy to miss. A pregnancy of 49-63 days the embryo is 1/5th of an inch. An early pregnancy would be even smaller.
How effective is this method?
If used within 63 days after the 1st day of the menstrual period, the combination drugs have reported being 96-98% effective. A small percentage of abortions occur before the administration of the misoprostol medication and 70-80% of the women abort within six hours after its administration.
What are the side effects of the medications?
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hot flashes/cold chills, and dizziness are common side effects that usually last only a few hours but can last longer. An elevation in your temperature may be a sign that an infection is developing. For this reason if you feel feverish, take your temperature. (Do not take your temperature immediately after smoking, drinking, or eating).
Will this method be painful?
If choosing the medical abortion, you will receive the pills that day and then you will need to wait 24-48 hours before you insert the tablets into the vagina. It is unlikely that the first medication you take will start the abortion right away. You can expect cramping that will probably begin in the 4-6 hours after you insert the tablets in the vagina. This medication causes cramping as the pregnancy tissue is being expelled from the uterus and cramps and the pain mean that the medicine is working the way it should. If little or no bleeding occurs, you will need to call the clinic. Itís the same kind of cramps that you would experience with your period, but usually stronger. You will be given an RX for pain medication.
How much will I bleed?
Although bleeding after an abortion is perfectly normal, the amount of bleeding you will experience is difficult to predict since womenís bodies react differently. Some women have some bleeding after using Mifeprex alone. We recommend using misoprostol even if you do begin to bleed after the mifeprex. For most women, heavy bleeding will occur within hours of inserting the tablets. Expect a flow that is heavier than your normal menstrual period. You may pass large clots (sometimes the size of a lemon or larger) or thick, jelly-like blood. It is important to monitor your bleeding by using maxi pads. Some women will not bleed right away after using the misoprostol. Bleeding onset can sometimes take longer and may begin in a day or two. While the heaviest bleeding usually occurs the day you take your misoprostol, some women may have a second episode of heavy bleeding a few days later.
What if the medication does not work?
There is a 96-98% chance the medications will be successful in bringing on an abortion. But in the rare event the drugs do not work for you, the embryo can be severely damaged and you will need to have a surgical abortion.
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