Early medication abortion
PDF 44 KB
Women who are 9 weeks (63 days) pregnant or less can choose an early medication abortion. Current studies show that this is safe and effective up to 63 days gestation.
A small number of women may have bleeding or spotting after taking the first medication but it is very unlikely that the pregnancy will abort after that alone. Most women start to experience pain and bleeding from 30 minutes to 2 - 3 hours after using the second medication, lasting for 6 - 8 hours and tapering off over the next 7 to 14 days.
For most women the bleeding will resemble a heavy period. For some it may be minimal, while a very small number will bleed extremely heavily. As with miscarriage the woman may identify pregnancy tissue. Cramping pain may range from minimal to severe labour-like pain. Women are provided with analgesia and are encouraged to use it early so it is more effective. Other side effects occurring in a small number of women include headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, flushes, and chills.
A specialist anesthetist is in attendance. Procedures are generally carried out using a combination of paracervical block and intravenous sedation. The level of anesthesia is tailored according to the woman’s needs.
Women are required to fast on the day of operation.
Women are ready for discharge from the Pregnancy Advisory Centre when they satisfy criteria covering orientation, blood loss, pain, vomiting, and ingestion of fluids. This is usually about 2 hours post-operatively. Most women spend 4 - 5 hours at the Pregnancy Advisory Centre, longer when their gestation is higher.
Post-operative (surgical or early medication) complications are infrequent. Women having problems with pain or bleeding are encouraged to contact the Pregnancy Advisory Centre in the first instance. Wherever possible, post-operative complications are managed by the Pregnancy Advisory Centre. However, in some situations women may be referred to public hospital emergency departments.