A medical abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy with drugs taken orally or injected. Medical abortions are most effective in the 9 weeks of pregnancy and the shorter the time a woman is pregnant, the more effective the medication. Before the medication can be administered, the woman is examined to confirm the pregnancy and how long she has been pregnant. If a medical abortion is a viable option, it will be included in the options available to her.
There are several drugs available for a medical abortion. Mifepristone, also known as RU-486, has been approved for use in the United States since 2000. The drug is in pill form and works by blocking progesterone, which causes the lining of the uterus to break down and leave the body. Methotrexate has been used since 1953, although it began as a cancer treatment. This drug is usually injected although it is also available in pill form. It stops the implantation process that occurs after the egg has been fertilized. Misoprostol tablets are either taken orally or inserted into the vagina. This medication causes the uterus to contract and empty. Dr. Tabas will provide advice to his patients on which medication will work best for each individual patient.
Once a woman takes the medication to end a pregnancy, she will wait between 1 day and 3-4 weeks for the procedure to be completed. The length of time depends on which medications were used. For example, most women who take mifepristone will abort within 4 hours. While the medications work, the woman may experience bleeding, ranging from light spotting to a heavy period. She may also experience some cramping. Depending on the medication, some women may stay in the doctor’s office while the medication takes effect while others may go home to rest. These procedures are considered safe and effective. Dr. Tabas will answer any questions his patients might have about the procedure, what to expect, and aftercare.
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