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Safe Abortion Pills - Medical Abortion

Medical Abortion - The Abortion Pill

Medical abortion is a process whereby medication is used to end a pregnancy. The treatment involves taking two types of medicine at two different times. It is the safest and cheapest abortion treatment for up to 16 weeks in South Africa.

How Do Abortion Pills Work

Medical abortion procedure is when medications are used to end a pregnancy.

In this case, 2 different medications are required to complete the abortion process.

1.    The first pill blocks an important pregnancy hormone known as progesterone which results in the breakdown of the uterine lining and stopping the growth of the embryo.

  2. Second medication helps the body push out the embryo through the vagina.

The body does this automatically by causing the uterus to contract, which leads to cramping and bleeding just as a miscarriage.

How Long Does Abortion Pill Process Take

The abortion pill comes in two separate doses to complete the process. The process usually takes 1 to 2 days to complete.

You may experience symptoms for a few weeks after taking both pills.

Safe Abortion Pills - Side Effects

After taking the second pill, you’ll likely experience abdominal cramps and heavy bleeding for a few hours.

 Depending how far along the pregnancy is, you may pass larger tissues that are brown or red in colour, and may be able to see the white pregnancy sac.

 Abortion Pill can cause:

vomiting

diarrhea

headaches

tiredness

fever-type symptoms

Look after yourself by staying in a comfortable place, whether that’s your own home or the home of family or friends.

 If you can, take a couple of days off work so you can rest.

 Lying down with a hot-water bottle on your abdomen can help relieve any pain. Some find sitting on the toilet to be a more comfortable position.

 You’ll also need highly absorbent menstrual pads for the bleeding.

 If you need pain medication, avoid aspirin, as it can worsen bleeding. Instead, take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). It may help to take pain medication around 30 minutes before the abortion pills

 If you feel that something isn’t right — especially if you’re soaking two or more pads an hour for a few hours or have a fever that lasts longer than a day — seek medical advice.

 Hospitals and clinics don’t need to know you’ve taken the abortion pill, so if you feel uncomfortable telling them. Your symptoms mimic a natural miscarriage, so staff won’t be able to tell the difference.

Risks and Complications of the Abortion Pill 

Significant unavoidable and frequently occurring risks

These are usually easy to treat and rarely have any long-term health effects.

  • Unpredictable time to complete the procedure (variable)

Side effects of drugs such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, dizziness, fever/chills (common)

  • Retained products of conception – where the pregnancy is no longer growing, but some of the pregnancy tissue is left behind in the womb (2 in 100 ≤ 9 weeks. 3 in 100 between 9-10 weeks’ gestation.)

Infection (2 in 1,000)

  • Unpredictable, irregular or prolonged bleeding after the abortion (variable)

Pain during the procedure (common)

This bellow may require transfer to hospital or surgical procedures and may have serious long-term health effects.

  • Continuing pregnancy 
  • Haemorrhage – very heavy bleeding.
  • Undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.
  • Psychological problems.

How Do You Know If the Abortion Pill Worked?

Most people experience cramping and bleeding (3 - 4) hours taking abortion Pills

This is a good indicator that this medication has worked.

Bleeding, or the passing out of large blood clots, shows that the fetal tissue is exiting the body. Cramping helps the uterus return to its usual state.

Abortion Pill treatment at home

In response to the current COVID 19 pandemic, the government has approved the use of pills by post for abortion treatment at home.

This allows clients to take abortion pills for a medical abortion up to 16 weeks in their own homes, rather than attending at the clinic.

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