The Abortion Pill (Medical Abortion)

[Mifegymiso (mif-ih-guy-mee-so)]

According to the NS Health Authority, the abortion pill is typically used up to 9 weeks gestation - (counting from the first day of your last normal menstrual period) and will take at least four appointments (one to talk with the doctor and get the prescription, one for an ultrasound to make sure you are less than 9 weeks and then two weeks after taking the medication and one two weeks afterward to ensure the abortion was successful). Some doctors may not require ultrasound but we strongly urge you to request it to rule out a tubal pregnancy. The medication is a combination of two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol. The first pill, mifepristone, causes the death of the embryo by blocking the effect of the hormone progesterone (a hormone necessary for nurturing the embryo).

 

The second drug, misoprostol, is 4 pills tucked between the cheek and the gums for 30 minutes or inserted vaginally, and is taken one to two days after the first pill. Sometimes bleeding can occur after taking the mifepristone but before taking the misoprostol. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract, and very strong cramping and heavy bleeding then occurs as the embryo and placenta are expelled from the uterus.   This commonly occurs within 4 hours but in some cases may occur anywhere between 30 minutes and 48 hours after taking the misoprostol tablets. It is recommended to rest for 3 hours after taking the misoprostol tablets. The bleeding may be very heavy, and you may pass clots as small as quarters, or as big as lemons (or the size of your fist). The manufacturer of this medication warns that you should contact your health professional for immediate medical attention if you experience heavy vaginal bleeding (soaking two (or more) thick sanitary pads per hour for two consecutive hours or have large fist-sized clots).

 

The embryo will be expelled within 24 hours 90% of the time. That means that for 10% of the women, this takes longer than 24 hours (or it has failed to work). 

While all this is going on, these possible side effects can also be experienced: headache, breast tenderness, fainting, fatigue, hot flashes and chills. Misoprostol tablets can also add these symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness. Patients who are less than 18 years old often get more vomiting and pain. These side effects slow down after Day 3 and are usually gone by Day 14. Although cramping and bleeding are expected as part of ending a pregnancy, rarely, serious and potentially life-threatening bleeding, infections or other problems can occur following a medical abortion. The use of this treatment is not risk free.

If you experience problems or are at all concerned about side effects you should contact your health professional, clinic or the Info-Health telephone line (811).

 

You will not know if the abortion was successful until a follow-up appointment 1-2 weeks later. The abortion pill will fail for 1 in every 20 women. This means that the dead or damaged embryo will either remain in the uterus or be only partially delivered and in these cases, surgical abortion would be required. Fever and chills after 24 hours may be a sign of infection. Soaking two (or more) large sanitary pads an hour for more than two hours may indicate hemorrhaging (problem bleeding). These signs of possible infection or hemorrhaging require immediate medical attention by calling 811.


The above is a gleaning of information available about this medication. For complete information, you may refer to these references :

 

ABORTION PILL RISKS & CONSIDERATIONS

(from Cleopharma Brochure)

  • A medical termination of pregnancy may not be suitable for you, so you should tell your health professional if any of the following apply to you:

    • you are pregnant and wish to continue with your pregnancy

    • your pregnancy is assessed as being more than 63 days duration

    • you are unable to access emergency medical care within 14 days following the administration of mifepristone

    • you have a known or suspected ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy growing outside the uterus)

    • you have known or suspected bleeding problem

    • you are taking anticoagulants (drugs that prevent or treat blood clots)

    • you suffer from severe disease where it is necessary to take steroids (e.g. asthma uncontrolled by treatment)

    • you are taking corticosteroids (medicines such as prednisolone and cortisone, which reduce the activity of your immune system)

    • you have adrenal failure

    • you have an allergy to either mifepristone and/or misoprostol or prostaglandins

    • you have an IUD in place – this must be removed before the termination of pregnancy process is started

    • If your blood group is Rh negative, the use of Mifegymiso requires your health professional to take measures to prevent Rhesus factor sensitization. Please ask your health professional if you are not sure about your blood group.

    • Mifegymiso is not recommended to be taken if you are breastfeeding

 

AMBIVALENCE

  • Do you know what “ambivalence” is? "Ambivalence" is when you have mixed feelings about something. Abortion is an irreversible process.That's why on the packaging of the abortion pill it says that ambivalence is an "absolute contraindication" for the abortion pill. An "absolute contraindication" means that it could cause a life-threatening situation. A procedure or medicine that falls under this category must be avoided. So this means that if you are experiencing ambivalence (mixed feelings), that the procedure must be avoided. We specialize in helping people work through their mixed feelings so they can make an informed health decision.

  • When considering your options, it's important to note that up until 2019, the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education described abortion as a "negative outcome", and all the women who have shared their abortion experience with us have supported that statement.

  • After a medical abortion, you'll likely experience a range of emotions — such as relief, loss, sadness and guilt. These feelings are normal. It might help to talk to a counselor about them.

 

References 

This pregnancy center is a Christian charity offering many services to anyone facing unplanned pregnancy or forced abortion. Our services include free pregnancy tests, unplanned pregnancy informed decision-making tools and support as well as offering personal support in related matters such as sexual abuse recovery and sexual integrity. This center does not provide or refer for or assist with abortion or contraception. The information on this website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice.

We work diligently to provide the most accurate and current information. However, because new information is constantly being brought forward, if you see any errors or inaccurate or outdated information on our website, please let us know so we can make the changes needed. Thank you for helping us be the best at what we do.

 

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