MEDICAL ABORTION PILL
Medical abortion, also known as non-surgical abortion, Abortion Pill/ RU 486, is one way to terminate an early pregnancy using medications. Medical abortion is provided by trained health care providers in private office settings, family planning clinics and hospitals.
A medical abortion can be performed from the time a woman suspects and confirms she is pregnant up until nine weeks from her last menstrual period. However, some insurance companies limit medical abortion to pregnancies of seven weeks or less.
In clinical practice, medical abortion is about 95 percent to 98 percent effective, causing a woman to completely pass the pregnancy without the use of surgery. In comparison, early surgical abortion is effective 98 percent of the time.
The medications prescribed for medical abortion at the Tshwane Women’s Clinic are mifepristone and misoprostol.
Mifepristone, also known as “Mifeprex” or “RU-486,” blocks the action of the natural hormone progesterone on the uterus. This causes the lining of the uterus to shed, as it does during a period, and stops the growth of the pregnancy. Misoprostol, also known as “Cytotec,” causes the uterus to contract and initiates bleeding and cramping.
A medical abortion results when mifepristone is combined with misoprostol.
HOW IT WORKS
A medical abortion involves at least two visits to a doctor’s office or clinic. The treatment includes giving the medication and then confirming that the pregnancy has been terminated. Sometimes more than two visits are necessary.
Day 1 — Come to the office visit for exam and counseling. You will be given and instructed to take 200 milligrams, or 1 tablet, of mifepristone.
Day 2, 3 or 4 — At home, place four tablets, or 800 micrograms, of misoprostol in your vagina. You will be given instructions on how to do this.
Day 7 to 14 — At some point during this period you will return to the clinic so we can make sure the abortion is complete. If the abortion is not complete, more follow-up visits may be scheduled.
MEDICAL ABORTION VS. EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
Medical abortion is not the same as emergency contraception, also referred to as the morning-after pill. Emergency contraception prevents a pregnancy. Therefore, once pregnancy has occurred, this is no longer effective. Medical abortion, on the other hand, is used to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
SAFETY AND SIDE EFFECTS
Mifepristone has been studied for over 20 years. Millions of women in more than 20 countries, including the South Africa, have used mifepristone and misoprostol or similar medications to have an abortion. All studies have shown the method to be safe and effective; there have been no reports of any long-term risks. Heavy bleeding requiring blood transfusion is extremely rare, occurring in less than 0.5 percent of study patients.
Short-term side effects of a medical abortion include:
Fever and chills
There is no evidence of long-term risks with mifepristone when used for medical abortion and no long-term effects have been associated with misoprostol.
One in every three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Women around the world have used abortion pills to have a safe abortion.
- It is the right of every woman to control her own life.
- We trust that you know your needs, and can make your own decisions about your own life and situation, your future.
- The World Health Organization lists Mifepristone and Misoprostol, the medicines for abortion, on the list of essential medicines that should be available everywhere.
- Mifepristone and Misoprostol can be safely used at home in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
- Abortion pills cause a process very similar to a spontaneous miscarriage and are 98% effective in ending a pregnancy when used correctly.
- Millions of women have used this method safely.
The misoprostol should be taken 24-48 hours after swallowing the Mifeprex™ tablet at AWC.
Thirty minutes before you plan to take the misoprostol tablets, take 800mg of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.).
All four pills should be left in the mouth for approximately 30 minutes to dissolve.
Anything left in the mouth after 30 minutes should be swallowed. Contractions and bleeding should begin between 20 minutes and 4 hours after taking misoprostol.