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Abortion Facts

If you are contemplating about abortion, here are some facts that you should know about it:

What is Abortion?

Abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy after conception. It allows women to put an end to their pregnancies, but involves killing the undeveloped embryo or fetus.

What are my options in doing abortion?

There are two (2) ways of doing abortion: Medical and Surgical

What is surgical abortion?

Surgical abortion can be done using different ways.  The most commonly known is the Dilatation and curettage (D&C).  It entails dilating the cervix and scraping off the endometrial lining (lining of the uterus) to remove the products of conception.  Another surgical procedure for abortion is the Suction Curettage in which a suction apparatus is inserted inside the uterus to take out the products of conception.  As surgical abortion procedures necessitate access inside the uterus, there are risks and complications that may arise from them including infections, lacerations of the vaginal canal and/or cervix, rupture of the uterus, and worse, infertility problem in the future.

What is medical abortion?

Medical abortion is the safer option in choosing abortion.  It entails the intake of abortifacient medications at your own convenience and in the privacy of your own home.  It has lesser chances of having complications as mentioned above.

What medications are used in medical abortion procedure?

Most commonly used medications for medical abortion are Misoprostol (Cytotec) and Mifepristone.  These two medications work hand in hand in ensuring a complete medical abortion process.  96-98 out of 100 patients have complete and successful medical abortion procedure.  In rare cases, about 2-4%, medical abortion procedure fails.  In these rare cases, patients can undergo repeat medical abortion procedure three (3) days after the first medical abortion procedure.

Medical abortion takes place immediately after taking the first medication.  Mifepristone is an antiprogesterone medication.  It blocks the progesterone hormone therefore, facilitates the breaking down of the endometrial lining and prevents the implantation of the fertilized ovum.    Misoprostol (Cytotec) makes the uterus contract to make sure that the products of conception are expelled out of the uterus.

What should you expect when doing medical abortion procedure?

Mifepristone may cause mild dizziness, nausea, vaginal spotting and mild abdominal pain.

With Misoprostol (Cytotec), you may experience cramping, vaginal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, chills and headache.

These side effects are just temporary.  Bleeding and cramping are inevitable during the process of medical abortion.  This may last for 2-3 weeks after the medical abortion procedure.  Cramping means that the uterus contracts to remove all debris of the products of conception inside the uterus, to control bleeding and to make the uterus return to its normal size and shape.  The uterus returns to its normal state in about 4-6 weeks after the medical abortion procedure.

How safe is medical abortion?

Doing Medical Abortion is generally safe.  But as with other procedures and medications, it can also carry risks of complications which may include: allergies to any components of the medications, infections, incomplete abortion, failed medical abortion procedure, profuse or heavy bleeding.  These risks and complications are generally easy to address with other medications of other forms of treatment.  It is important to be very observant of your status during medical abortion procedure and to inform your health care provider should any of the above conditions are felt.

What happens after medical abortion procedure?

Another advantage of medical abortion procedure is that it doesn’t affect your future fertility since the uterus and the endometrial lining have not been in any way manipulated.  In line with this, you can resume ovulation as soon as your pregnancy ends.  It is advised that you do not engage in unprotected intercourse without starting with birth control options after the medical abortion procedure.  The abortion starts a new menstrual cycle.  Menstruation may resume in 4-8 weeks after the medical abortion procedure.

Breastfeeding is generally not advised during the medical abortion procedure as the medications may be passed on to your baby through breastmilk.

What are the precautions needed before doing medical abortion procedure?

Precautions before taking these medications should be observed among women who have any of the following:

  • Any known allergies to the medications
  • have a known or suspected abnormal pregnancy such as a molar pregnancy or an ectopic pregnancy
  • have severe adrenal gland, heart, kidney, or liver problems
  • take any medicine that should not be combined with the medications used in medication abortion — mifepristone or misoprostol
  • take anti-clotting medication or have a blood-clotting disorder
  • currently have an IUD

It is important to have constant communication with your health care provider during and after the medical abortion procedure should you have any questions.


Complications of abortion

Heavy Bleeding

If bleeding occurs,the amount of flow should be monitored and should not exceed 2 pads per 1 hour. Too much blood loss may cause light headedness and dizziness and hypotension leading to Hypovolemic shock.

Incomplete Abortion

Products of conception are not fully expelled out of the uterus. Products of conception are still left inside the uterus.Retained products of conception inside the uterus will make it harder for the uterus to contract properly thereby causing continuous and/or profuse bleeding. Retained products of conception can also cause infection as these are considered to be foreign materials inside the body in which bacteria would like to thrive in them.


Septic shock will occur once the infection is high enough to affect the blood stream. Common signs of infection are fever, chills, severe abdominal or hypogastric pain and/or foul-smelling vaginal discharge. After the procedure, if you experience any of the mentioned signs of infection, proper intervention should be given and appropriate treatment should be started.

If you experience any of the above mentioned complications, it is important that you contact your health care provider for you to be able to receive proper management and treatment.

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