What is a Medical Abortion?

Felicia Dye

A medical abortion is a pregnancy termination option that involves the use of drugs. The medication, which can vary in different parts of the world, completes the task by inducing a miscarriage. Some women choose this option because it feels like the most natural termination method. Another benefit for many women is that they can undergo the process at home. When compared to other methods, however, medical abortion can be very slow, and there is nothing that a doctor can do to increase the pace or to determine when the process will occur.

A medical abortion terminates a pregnancy through use of a drug.
A medical abortion terminates a pregnancy through use of a drug.

Many people have heard that a medical abortion allows a woman to undergo the process in the privacy of her home. This does not mean that it is a do-it-yourself procedure. A doctor should be involved in a woman’s initial and post-abortion care.

The abortion pill is the main medical-based method of abortion used today.
The abortion pill is the main medical-based method of abortion used today.

Performing a medical abortion generally involves using drugs that are administered in pill or injection form. These drugs are usually available only from a doctor. In some instances, a person may be given part of the medication while in the doctor’s office, and she may have to administer the remaining drugs to herself later.

When the medical abortion drugs begin to have an effect, a woman will usually start to experience cramping. As time progresses, she should start bleeding. This is the beginning of the process where the body begins expelling the fetus. The severity of both the cramping and the bleeding can vary from one woman to another.

Having a medical abortion may not be suitable for every woman. This method is usually considered an early pregnancy option. It is not generally recommended for women whose pregnancies have progressed more than seven weeks.

It is also not an ideal option for someone looking for a quick and immediate termination. One of the drawbacks of a medical abortion is that a doctor cannot determine when the process will actually occur or be complete. For some women, it may take weeks for the abortion to be completed.

While medical abortions are considered by many health professionals to be one of the safest pregnancy termination options, there are risks. One of them is the risk of failure. The success rates are extremely high, but there is a small percentage of women for whom this method does not work. When this happens, a surgical abortion is usually needed. Other risks that women using this method face are excessive bleeding and the development of an infection.

Cramping is common during a medical abortion.
Cramping is common during a medical abortion.

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