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The Truth About Abortion Medication: What You Need To Know

We have seen a lot of ads that promote the pills that can help to abort the pregnancy. So what are these medicines? These are the pills that help to terminate the pregnancy at a very early stage up to 11 weeks. This is a safe method which can be done at home without hospital admission. It is always advisable to take it under the doctor’s guidance to avoid any complications. Once you cross 12 weeks, you need a surgical abortion to terminate the pregnancy.

But, are these medications safe? How to get abortion pills? Do we get them over the counter or need a doctor’s prescription? Is it legal? Does it have any complications? Let’s understand what is medical abortion also known as abortion medication in this comprehensive guide.

A] What Is Medical Abortion

Medical abortion is the process of terminating the early pregnancy during the first trimester using medicines prescribed by the doctor. These medicines are the hormone prostaglandins or anti-progesterone tablets used to terminate pregnancy. You have to consume 2 tablets, the first tablet is taken orally and the second is taken after a few days either orally or through the vagina. 

The surgical abortion is legally done after 12 weeks of pregnancy if there are any complications with the pregnancy. There are different laws in different countries along with the stigma attached, which restrict the access to the right to abortion for females. This pushes them to take over-the-counter medicines without any supervision putting their health at risk. An abortion done with a doctor’s advice is always within the legal boundaries and safe.

B] What Is The Abortion Pill Process

The abortion pill process is a 2 step process where the first pill is taken either at home or at the doctor’s office and the second step is a series of four pills to be taken 24 – 48 hours after the first pill. The second step is done at the doctor’s clinic under strict supervision. You can get this done either at abortion clinics, hospitals or at home with appropriate facilities.

The first pill blocks the progesterone that is involved in the fertilization process. The second pill helps to contract the uterus and shed the uterine lining completing the abortion process. If the female has reached an advanced stage, she might need another round of this second step. This medication is either kept between the teeth and the buccal cavity or taken vaginally.

The medication abortion might have the risk of nausea, vomiting, pain, fatigue diarrhoea or even in rare cases uterine infections. At times there can be incomplete abortion which then requires surgical abortion. To avoid these risks, it is better to perform medical abortion under the guidance of an expert. Our private abortion clinic in London is one of the best clinics to assist you in safe and confidential abortion treatment.

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C] The Psychological Impact Of the Abortion Pill

 About 25% of females reside in areas that have restrictive access to abortions, leading them to use illegal methods to abort, putting their lives in danger. Maternal deaths are the fourth most common cause of death in females. Psychological factors play a major role in impacting medical abortions. These include the religious belief that abortion is a sin, unwanted pregnancies are considered taboo, lack of support from family and friends leading to distress, there are feelings of grief and loss after abortion or lack of decision making whether to get the abortion done or not. 

The other challenges that a female can go through are limited access to the correct information about the right to abort, limited access to post-abortion counselling, and the importance of the time of gestation during the abortion. This is when the health care facility needs to be sensitive, caring, and considerate, and offer counselling and support in providing medical abortions within legal boundaries.

D] Understanding The Abortion Pill Process

A female experiences many physical and emotional changes during and after the abortion pill process. There is a hormonal change when you consume the first pill, that blocks the progesterone and initiates the abortion. This can lead to breast tenderness and swelling. After the second step, the female will bleed for a few days to 2 weeks. The bleeding is accompanied by cramps and pain, which is extreme when the main abortion takes place. There is a weight loss as the body loses the pregnancy fluids. There can also be weight gain which is associated with emotional eating after abortion. 

The female might also get emotionally overwhelmed because of the abortion itself and the hormonal changes that she experiences. Abortion can lead to stress, anxiety, or depression. You can manage these symptoms with proper aftercare provided by the health care systems. Attend counselling sessions, reach out to support groups with similar experiences, share your feelings with confidants, and follow doctors’ advice to reduce post-abortion symptoms as much as possible.

E] Unlocking The Steps To Take While And After Consuming Abortion Pills

 1. Consultation And Assessment

Book a private gynaecologist appointment as you decide on an abortion. Early in the abortion, less are the complications. Share with the doctor your entire medical history, your expectations and fears. Select medication abortion at the doctor’s clinic over home medication. Do complete body assessments like weight, blood work, hormonal status, how far is the pregnancy, any complications involved, any comorbid conditions, medication allergies, and any current medication that you are on. Clear all your doubts regarding what happens when you take an abortion pill before proceeding with the medical abortion.

2. Administration Of Medication

Know your abortion pill process completely before administration. Generally, it is either 1 class of pill or a combination of classes of pills used to terminate pregnancy. The oral medication is not at all painful but the abortion pill process side effects include cramps, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness and diarrhoea. The symptoms might start after few hours after drug administration. Check with the health care professional about the medication to control the excess pain, hydration methods to avoid dehydration, and any other medication required for other associated symptoms.

3. Monitoring And Follow-Up

Self-monitoring is important to know when exactly you need a doctor’s advice and when you can manage the post-abortion symptoms at home. You might experience pain, which can be managed at home with a painkiller. There will be bleeding after the second step of medication, there might be chunks of blood you can see near the time when the foetus is being expelled, which will reduce within the next few days. This will last for a month or less. Keep a check on the amount of flow, the pattern of bleeding and the type of bleeding. Consult a doctor if there is excess bleeding, frequent dizziness, there is excess weight loss, or experience uncontrolled anxiety or depression. It is important to go for post-abortion counselling to know how to manage the physical and mental stress and get medical help immediately if required. Schedule a follow-up to know if the abortion process is completed or if you will need a second round of step 2 of abortion medication.

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Medical abortion is a right for every female who wants to undergo an abortion willingly under medical supervision. It can be done in the initial stages of pregnancy following a protocol of consuming medicines at a particular interval. Avoid taking any over-the-counter medications. 

Abortion under the guidance of the doctor helps to minimise the mortality, avoid complications and perform the abortion to completion. Contact us to help you with the necessary information regarding the process involved, safety measures and the legalities associated, to avoid any complications post-abortion.

Neha Goel

Neha Goel, a Psychology alumna and MBA graduate from CASS Business School, London, brings together her expertise as a Reiki Practitioner and Practice Manager. She integrates psychology and business strategies to foster holistic well-being and personal development.