Unplanned pregnancies are exceptionally common, affecting millions of American women each year. Although many women do decide to go through with their pregnancies, about four in 10 women facing an unplanned pregnancy opts to have an abortion. A medical abortion uses the so-called “abortion pill” to safely and effectively terminate an early pregnancy. Michigan Avenue Center for Health in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood offers medical abortion services to patients in the Chicagoland area. To learn more, call or book your appointment online today.
Also known as a non-surgical abortion, a medical abortion uses two different medications to terminate an early pregnancy, or one that’s within the first seven weeks of the first trimester, as determined by an ultrasound.
The first medicine, mifepristone, stops a pregnancy from progressing, while the second medicine, misoprostol — sometimes referred to as the abortion pill — makes the uterus shed the pregnancy. Both drugs are FDA-approved.
A medical abortion involves multiple steps and requires at least two office visits. You must be in good health and you should have reliable transportation in the event of a medical emergency.
Your doctor at Michigan Avenue Center for Health gives you the first pill, mifepristone, at your first appointment. This medication works by blocking progesterone, a hormone required for pregnancy to progress. During this visit, you also are given antibiotics.
You take the second pill, misoprostol, six to 48 hours later. This is usually done at home. Misoprostol empties your uterus, causing cramping and heavy bleeding. The process is very similar to what you’d experience during an early miscarriage.
Medical abortions are very effective. Although they work 98% of the time for women who are up to seven weeks pregnant, they’re significantly less effective for women who are in their eighth or ninth week of pregnancy. If you’re past the seventh week of pregnancy, you should probably opt for a surgical abortion.
When a medical abortion doesn’t work or is incomplete, a surgical abortion is required.
Bleeding, cramping, and passing large-sized clots are all a normal part of the medical abortion process. Heavier-than-normal bleeding usually lasts for about two weeks.
Your doctor at Michigan Avenue Center for Health provides instructions on how you should address any pain, nausea, headaches, vomiting, or diarrhea that may occur.
If you experience severe bleeding after a medical abortion, you should contact your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
Medical abortion is safe and effective: The FDA has tested and approved both abortion medications, and they’re currently approved for use in over 23 countries.
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 of a friend of loved one, or on your own.
Because the process is similar to a miscarriage, many women feel that a medical abortion is more “natural” and less invasive.