ABORTION PILL (MEDICAL ABORTION/RU 486)
Approved by the FDA to be used as late as 7 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP).
With a medical abortion, certain drugs are taken to cause an abortion.
It can only be done early in pregnancy. ‘Ru486′ is the common name for one of the drugs used for medical abortion.
The FDA approves the use of the medical abortion drug mifepristone up to 49 days (7 weeks) after the first day of the last menstrual period.
It is common and approved practice among physicians, however, to prescribe it for medically inducing abortion up to 63 days (9 weeks) after the first day of the last menstrual period.
A medical abortion does not require surgery or anesthesia, but multiple visits to the doctor are needed. For some types, the drugs can be taken at home.
In this case, it is important that a woman understands the process. She needs to know what is normal and what is not.
The most common way a medical abortion is done is with two separate drugs: one drug to stop the development of the pregnancy and cause the death of the embryo and another drug to cause the uterus to contract (cramp) and expel the embryo and placenta, often referred to as “pregnancy tissue.”
The passing of the embryo usually occurs while the woman is at home.
Medical abortion will cause bleeding and cramping. They also may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills.
The doctor will explain what can be expected in terms of pain, bleeding, and passing tissue.
Signs that may require care include heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain, or fever.
If a woman is still pregnant after she has tried a medical abortion, she will have to have a surgical abortion.
Menstrual aspiration can be done within 1-3 weeks after a missed period.
A long, thin tube is inserted into the uterus. A large syringe is attached to the tube and the embryo and placenta are suctioned out.
Done between the approximate gestational ages of 6 and 14 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP ).
This is the most common surgical abortion procedure.
Because the fetus is larger, the doctor must first stretch open the cervix using metal rods.
Opening the cervix may be painful, so local or general anesthesia is typically needed.
After the cervix is stretched open, the doctor inserts a rigid plastic tube into the uterus, and then connects this tube to a suction machine.
The suction pulls the fetus’ body and the placenta apart and out of the uterus.
The doctor may also use a tool that looks like a hollow spoon with sharp edges (called a curette) to scrape the fetus, fetal parts and placenta out of the uterus. (The doctor may refer to the fetus, fetal parts and placenta as the “products of conception.”)
DILATION & EVACUATION (D&E)
Done between the approximate gestational ages of 13 and 24 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period.
This part of pregnancy is also referred to as the the second trimester of pregnancy.
At this point in the pregnancy, the fetus is too large to be broken up by suction alone and will not pass through the suction tubing.
In this procedure, the cervix must be opened wider than in a first trimester abortion.
This is sometimes done by inserting numerous thin rods made of dried seaweed (called laminaria) a day or two before the abortion.
The laminaria expands as it absorbs moisture thereby opening up the cervix. Once the cervix is partially open the doctor removes the laminaria and then pulls out the fetal parts with forceps.
The fetus’ skull is crushed to ease removal. A tool that looks like a hollow spoon with sharp edges (called a curette) is also used to scrape out the placenta and any remaining tissue.
LATE TERM ABORTION: 20 WEEKS TO FULL TERM (5-9 MONTHS)
These procedures typically take place over three days and are performed using local anesthesia.
On the first day, under ultrasound guidance, the fetal heart is injected with a medication that stops the heart and causes the fetus to die.
Also over the first two days, the cervix is gradually stretched open using laminaria (see Dilation & Evacuation).
On the third day, the amniotic sac is ruptured.
The remainder of the procedure is similar to the D&E procedure described above. An alternative procedure involves inducing labor.
Abortion is not just a simple procedure; it may have many side effects. Abortion has been associated with preterm birth, emotional and psychological impact and spiritual consequences. Please call us so that you can make an informed decision.
The clinics listed on this site offers client advocacy and accurate information about all pregnancy options. They do not provide abortions or refer for abortions.