What is medical abortion and how does it work?
The Medical Abortion is an option to end an early pregnancy (up to 49 days after the first day of a woman‚ last menstrual cycle) in three steps:
The medication Mifepristone (also known as RU-486) which works by blocking the hormone progesterone without which the lining of the uterus breaks down and pregnancy cannot continue. This pill is given to you by either the doctor or one of our nurse practitioners, during your first clinical visit.
Some patients begin bleeding shortly after taking this pill, others do not. Whenever you do start bleeding you will start taking the antibiotics that we send you home with. We will call you that same evening to see how you are doing, ask if you have any questions or concerns, and remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
48 hours after taking the first pill it will be time for you to take the second medication, Cytotec. Set some time aside for you and surround yourself with whatever helps you to feel comfortable. You will have four of these pills which you will need to tuck inside of your cheeks, two on each side. You will need to let them dissolve for 20-30 minutes.
This medication will cause cramping of the uterus to expel its contents. Some women experience bleeding lighter than a period and don't notice cramps. Other women have bleeding that is much heavier than their normal period and have cramps that they find INTENSE during the expulsion phase. It is important for me to know that everything within this range is normal. Bleeding and cramps should diminish once everything is expelled. Significant cramping usually will last no longer than 24 hours. You may take up to 800 mg of Motrin every four to six hours to aid with cramping and heavy bleeding.
Time for your follow up visit. We will need to see you in order to make sure your abortion is complete and that you are well. We will draw blood to make sure that your hormone levels have decreased and also do a pelvic ultrasound to give you the final "A-OK."
Why choose medical abortion?
You can complete the process of abortion in the privacy of your own home. There is no need for anesthesia if you choose to have a medical abortion. Medical Abortion (RU-486) is less invasive than the Gentle Vacuum Aspiration Abortion procedure.
What are the risks associated with medical abortion?
An allergic reaction to either of the pills, incomplete abortion (need for surgical D&C abortion, also known as Gentle Vacuum Aspiration Abortion), Infection, Undetected ectopic pregnancy, or very heavy bleeding. A second dose of mifepristone may be needed.
What is surgical abortion / D&C procedure and how does it works?
Surgical Abortion D&C Procedure (Gentle Vacuum Aspiration Abortion)
This abortion procedure is the safest and least traumatic available. The three main steps involved are:
1) An injection, to numb the cervix
2) The insertion of a small flexible plastic cannula (sterile tube) through the natural opening to the uterus, the cervix
3) Removal of the pregnancy by suction, which is created by an aspiration machine. The actual gentle suction part of the procedure normally takes about two minutes.
This procedure may cause some cramps which usually go away quickly, less than half an hour. Some bleeding and cramps are to be expected for one week or so. Surgical abortion has been legal in the U.S. since 1973 and is very effective (about 99% successful) and has a very low risk of injury or infection when done properly by qualified clinicians.
A simple local anesthetic is administered to numb the cervix. There are fewer risks with abortion performed with a local anesthetic than with a general anesthetic. General anesthesia temporarily depresses both the circulatory and respiratory systems of the body. It also requires monitoring equipment and your recovery will be longer after the abortion.
Curettage is unnecessary for early abortion. A curette is the instrument used in a D&C (Dilation and Currettage) procedure. While the D&C procedure has been used to perform abortion in the past, it is far less desirable than the vacuum aspiration abortion. Physicians that are not up to date or inexperienced may offer a D&C to perform your abortion.
California State Law does not require parental consent for pregnancy testing or abortions. Our staff members have extensive experience maintaining confidentiality for young women choosing to have an abortion.