Medical termination

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Medical Termination of Pregnancy?

 

A medical termination of pregnancy uses two medicines to end an unwanted pregnancy (commonly known as the “Abortion Pill”).

The first tablet weakens the attachment of the pregnancy to the uterus.

A second medication is then taken 36 to 48 hours later which makes the uterus cramp and causes bleeding to expel the pregnancy. Symptoms are often described as very similar to a miscarriage.

When is Medical Termination of Pregnancy used?

 

Medical terminations can be provided from as early as a pregnancy can be confirmed, up to 9 weeks.

The length of a pregnancy is usually measured by the number of days that have passed since the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period.

How long do Medical Terminations of Pregnancy take?

 

The medication is usually effective within hours to days but it can take anywhere from about 2-4 weeks from the time a woman takes the first medication until the process is completed and bleeding stops entirely.

 

Possible side effects

 

The most common side effects of medical termination are caused by the second medication.

It causes cramping pain and bleeding usually within a few hours of using the tablets. Pain can range from mild, period-like pain and bleeding to severe pain and heavy bleeding much more than a typical period.

In addition to cramps and bleeding, side effects may include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, chills, or fatigue.

In about 5% of cases the medications do not work and the pregnancy continues to grow. A follow up appointment with a doctor is essential to ensure the termination has been complete.

In the case of ongoing pregnancy, patients may choose to take the medications again or a surgical abortion can be done to empty the uterus and complete the abortion.

Completing the termination is strongly recommended because the medications can cause birth defects in the pregnancy.

Although cramping and bleeding are expected as part of medically terminating a pregnancy, in rare circumstances serious and potentially life-threatening bleeding, infections or other problems can occur.

The use of this treatment is generally very safe and effective but is not entirely risk free.

 

Who can’t use the Abortion Pill?

 

A medical abortion is suitable for most pregnancies up to 9 weeks but there are certain conditions that may prevent women from choosing this method. A doctor will screen for and discuss these during a consultation.

 

What if I live far away from the medical centre?

 

Medical terminations are generally suitable as long as patients live within 1-2 hours from a hospital.

The initial consultation occurs at the medical centre or via Telehealth where the doctor will assess the patient, arrange blood tests and an ultrasound (unless already completed beforehand).

A follow-up assessment 2-3 weeks later is then booked.