Abortion pill – the most searched term, mostly by women who are looking to terminate their pregnancy at home. Before taking the abortion pills at home, you must first consult with a good gynaecologist near you for proper guidance and to know what should happen and what shouldn’t. In India, you can get abortion pills from your near by chemist (drug store or medical shop) without a prescription but trying them on your own without any doctor’s consultation can be life threatening. Here are some staggering statistics on abortion in India:
- Around a million abortions (10 Lakhs) were spontaneous or induced in the year 2016 – 2017 in India alone. Today, that number would be much higher.
- Globally, around 56 million (5.6 Crore) abortions take place every year.
- Ten women die due to unsafe abortions every day in India.
Source – Abortion in India
How does abortion pill work?
Again, please don’t try abortion pill at home without consulting your doctor. If something goes wrong (which is possible) if your bleeding doesn’t stop, you need to have a doctor on your side to help.
When you see a good gynaecologist to terminate your pregnancy, age of pregnancy will be calculated. If needed, an ultrasound may be done. If your pregnancy is less than 20 weeks old, it is legal to terminate your pregnancy in India. Read more on Medical Termination of Abortion Act 1971 to know more. You will be given two medications:
(The brand names of these medicines may vary with the manufacturer.)
Mifepristone stops the foetus from developing. Misoprostol induces cramps of the uterus so that the foetus falls off. (It’s like inducing a miscarriage.) First look for a comfortable place and better to have someone with you instead of being alone. Keep some food or snacks with you. Mifepristone should be taken first and then misoprostol can be taken along with Mifepristone or within 48 hours after taking it. This information will be provided by your gynaecologist.
What to expect after taking the abortion pills?
You should start getting periods like cramps and bleeding within 4 hours after taking Misoprostol. The pain will be heavier than usual and even the cramps. Severe cramping of the uterus squeezes it so that the foetus falls off. The size of foetus will vary depending on the age of the pregnancy. You can expect big blood clots to fall associated with severe abdominal pain. You may be advised to take pain medication such as ibuprofen (if not banned in your country) but not aspirin because aspirin can make bleeding worse.
In short, expect any or many of the following:
- Severe cramping and pain in the abdominal area.
- Heavy blood clots during bleeding that should last for 4 to 6 hours tops.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Mild feverish condition (100 degree F or 38 degree C)
Bleeding should stop within 4 to 6 hours and all the foetus parts should clear away from your uterus. Should your bleeding continue beyond 8 hours, you must call up your doctor immediately for help.
Next few days after taking the abortion pills
Expect spotting or little bleeding for a few days after aborting your pregnancy. This is common and nothing to worry about. Touch base with your doctor if need arises or to just let him/her know your health condition.
If bleeding doesn’t start after taking abortion pills?
It is possible that in some women, abortion or induced miscarriage doesn’t start even after taking the medicines. In some women, the foetus may not drop completely. In such cases, surgical procedure may have to be performed to remove the foetus from the uterus.
Risks of taking abortion pills
- Bleeding may not start after taking the second medicine.
- Excessive bleeding for longer than expected periods.
- Rare but possible – allergic reaction to the medicines. Let your doctor know if you are allergic to any medicines.
- Nausea or vomiting that continues for a day after taking the medication.
Ideally, you should feel better the next day and should be able to get back to work. If you are feeling weak, take rest and have more liquids and energy drinks. Overall, abortion with pills is a safe procedure provided you are in touch with a good gynaecologist. Please don’t try to induce abortion at home on your own, you will be putting your life at risk for skipping just one consultation with a doctor. We don’t think that’s the right thing to do.