What are your medical options in the case of abortion?

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What are your medical options in the case of abortion?
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Even in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, it can be difficult to make the decision to go for an abortion -a voluntary termination of pregnancy. After having discussed it with your doctor, the decision is yours and yours alone to make. So what does a termination involve? There are two methods, one which can be carried out at home, the other in hospital. 

1) Medical abortion

With this method, also called ‘the abortion pill’, there is no hospital stay necessary, and it can be used up to the end of the 5th week of pregnancy.

During an initial consultation with the Family Planning Clinic or your gynaecologist, you should take a mifepristone pill. This interrupts the pregnancy, causing the uterus to contract and the cervix to open.

36 hours later, you consult your doctor or gynaecologist a second time, who will prescribe another medication, misoprostol, which triggers the expulsion of the embryo in the following 4 to 72 hours. 15 days to 3 weeks after this happens, you need to go for tests to ensure the success of the termination.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method?

Medical abortions are 98% effective and easy to access. Family planning clinics, the majority of hospitals with maternity wards and GPs can prescribe a medical termination.

The pain associated with the expulsion of the embryo can be very intense on the 3rd day, affecting around 27% of women. People who have already had children tend to experience less pain, because their cervixes dilate faster. However, fatigue, nausea, vertigo and headaches are common in the 2 to 3 days after taking the first pill. Bleeding is minimal, but can last for 3 to 4 weeks.

Certain parts of the process can be difficult to go through on your own -the expulsion, the bleeding, the hygiene care required, the fatigue and the need for rest, which is why ideally you should look to your loved ones for support.

2) Vacuum aspiration

Abortion via vacuum aspiration can be carried out until the end of the 12th week of pregnancy. After having consulted a gynaecologist and a hospital anesthetist, an appointment will be made for the intervention.

In 75% of cases, the termination is completed under general or local anesthetic. In the case of local anesthetic, an injection is administered near the cervix. The procedure should take about 10 minutes.

The gynaecologist will gently open the vagina with a speculum in order to dilate the cervix, vacuum out the egg and clean the uterus. You will then be monitored for a few hours. 15 days to 3 weeks later, you will need to go for testing to ensure that all is well.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method?

This type of procedure has a success rate of 99.7%.

The advantage is that when the procedure is completed, the entire abortion is done. The anesthetic numbs the pain during the procedure. However, pain caused by uterine contractions can follow afterwards.

Most of the time, your doctor will prescribe painkillers to help with the pain. 20% of women who experience intense pain are young women who don’t have any children. Bleeding can be fairly significant and can last 4 to 5 days. 

Remember to take into account the waiting times that may be necessary, especially for getting an appointment with the family planning clinic, which can often be very busy. Up until the 5th week of pregnancy, you can have a medical abortion, but between 5 and 12 weeks, the vacuum aspiration method is the only possible option.