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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Elective Medical Abortion: Preparation & Expectations

Elective Medical Abortion

Alternate Names : Induced Abortion, Interruption of Pregnancy

Elective Medical Abortion | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

What happens right after the procedure?

A medical abortion can take from 3 days to 3 to 4 weeks. After the first medicine (methotrexate or mifepristone) is given for a medical abortion, the woman can go home. Some women will have vaginal bleeding after the first medicine. The bleeding can range from light to heavy.

The woman will return to the doctor for a second visit to take the misoprostol. The uterine cramping caused by this medicine might result in the embryo being expelled right away while at the doctor's office. In other cases, the tissue is assed later at home. Many women will have cramps for several hours and pass blood clots as they are aborting. Most of these symptoms should start to taper off after the embryo has been passed. Bleeding can last for 1 or 2 weeks more. Headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can also be caused by misoprostol.

Finally, a third visit will be made so that the doctor can check to be sure that the abortion was complete. Of the women who take methotrexate, 80% to 85% will abort within 2 weeks. A woman who takes longer may need more misoprostol. With mifepristone, 95% to 97% of the women will expel the uterine contents within 2 weeks. About 5% of the women who choose to have an elective medical abortion require a surgical abortion because the medicine does not work.

After any abortion, a woman with Rh negative blood should be given an injection of Rh immune globulin unless the father is also known to have Rh negative blood. Pain medicines may also be prescribed. Sometimes antibiotics are needed to help prevent infection.

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Elective Medical Abortion: Overview & Description


Elective Medical Abortion: Home Care and Complications

Author: Eva Martin, MD
Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 10/10/02

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