Unplanned pregnancies are far more common than you may think, affecting millions of women in the United States every year. Although many women opt to give birth, approximately 40% of women facing an unintended pregnancy choose to terminate it with an abortion. A medical abortion uses the abortion pill to safely and effectively terminate an early pregnancy. Access Health Care in Downers Grove, Illinois, offers medical abortion services to patients in the greater Chicago-land area. To learn more, call or request your appointment online today.
Medical abortion, also known as non-surgical abortion, uses two different medications — mifepristone and misoprostol — to terminate an early pregnancy. These FDA-approved drugs, collectively referred to as the “abortion pill,” are safe and effective for ending a pregnancy within the first ten weeks of the first trimester, as determined by ultrasound. The procedure is very effective. Although it works 98% of the time for women who are up to ten weeks pregnant, it’s less effective for women who are in their eighth or ninth week of pregnancy. For the small percentage of patients in which abortion does not occur or is incomplete, a surgical abortion is required. A medical abortion involves several steps and requires at least two office visits. You must be in good health and have immediate, reliable transportation in the event of a medical emergency.
Your doctor at Access Health Center gives you the first pill, mifepristone, during your first appointment. This medication blocks your body’s own progesterone, a hormone required for pregnancy to progress normally. During this visit, you are also given antibiotics. You take the second pill, misoprostol, 24 to 48 hours later. This usually can be done at home. Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding to empty your uterus. As the process takes place, you have a really heavy, crampy period that’s similar to what you’d experience during an early miscarriage.
The FDA has tested and approved the abortion pill for both safety and effectiveness. It is currently approved for use in over 23 countries Bleeding, cramping, and passing orange-size clots are all a normal part of the process. Heavier-than-normal bleeding usually lasts for nine to 16 days. Your doctor at Access Health Center will let you know how to address any pain, nausea, headache, vomiting, or diarrhea that may occur. If you experience severe bleeding, however, you should contact your doctor immediately or head into the nearest emergency room.
If you’ve decided to end an unplanned pregnancy, the type of abortion you choose — or are able to have — depends on your situation. If you’re still in the early stages of the first trimester, a medical abortion allows you to experience the process in the comfort of your own home, either with a support person or on your own. Because the process is similar to a miscarriage, a medical abortion may feel more “natural” and less invasive. Your doctor at Access Health Center can help you decide which type of abortion is best for you.