Medical termination of pregnancy or medical abortion is a procedure where medication is used to end a pregnancy. It is the safest and most effective when the woman is in the first trimester of pregnancy. This procedure does not need surgery or other techniques and can be performed in a clinic or at home under a doctor’s supervision.

Why is it done?

The reasons behind choosing the medical termination of a pregnancy are usually highly personal. In most cases, women prefer to have an abortion to end an unwanted pregnancy. It is also a recommended treatment if the person has suffered an early miscarriage. Medical abortions are sometimes the suitable option if the expectant mother has a medical condition that can adversely affect her or the baby’s health. A medical abortion is treated as a last resort. Doctors will conduct several tests to determine if the pregnancy may be dangerous for the mother or child.

Who is eligible for medical abortion?

Before choosing to undergo a medical termination, patients are requested to be completely certain about their decision as reversing the effects can be dangerous. Medical abortions are suitable for women who want to end an unwanted pregnancy as long as they are in their first trimester. If the patient has suffered a miscarriage, a medical abortion is conducted to remove foetal and placental tissue.

Medical abortion is not suitable for:

  • Women who have been pregnant for over nine weeks
  • Suspected cases of ectopic pregnancies
  • Individuals who have an intrauterine device (IUD) in their system
  • Individuals who have certain health conditions such as bleeding disorders, heart diseases, lung diseases, seizure disorder or certain genetic diseases
  • Women who are on blood thinners or long-term steroids
  • People who cannot make follow-up visits to their doctors or do not have access to emergency medical treatment

What are the side effects of a medical abortion?

Medical abortions are known to cause cramping and bleeding for up to two weeks, so patients are advised to speak to their doctors about possible side effects. Some common ones are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hot flashes

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