What is the abortion pill?
The abortion pill contains the artificially produced hormone mifepristone. This counteracts the pregnancy-preserving corporal hormone progesterone, a progestin. It is therefore also called antigestagen. It causes the embryo to be released from the uterus and dies within 36 to 48 hours.
How does the abortion pill work?
After this time, the woman receives a prostaglandin. It is another drug that softens the cervix, induces contractions and thus leads to the expulsion of the dead embryo and the remaining pregnancy tissue from the uterus.
In around 95 to 98 percent of women, abortion with mifepristone is successful. In the other cases, the surgical methods of abortion such as scraping or suction must also be used.
Who gets the abortion pill?
The abortion pill is subject to the same legal requirements as any other abortion.
In some Europe countries, the abortion pill may only be used until the 9th week of pregnancy, ie until the 63rd day after the beginning of the last menstrual period. The pregnancy must be determined by a doctor.
Some women may not take the abortion pill or the additional medication prostaglandin required:
Women suffering from severe asthma or chronic liver and / or kidney disease
Women with known intolerance to one of the two drugs,
Women who have a specific suspicion of being pregnant outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy, for example)
Women with porphyria,
Women at increased risk of bleeding, for example due to placental misplacement or increased risk of uterine rupture,
Women with elevated intraocular pressure.
Where do you get the abortion pill?
The abortion pill is not over-the-counter and is not available on prescription at the pharmacy. It may only be given to gynecologists and hospitals. The doctor who carries out the abortion gives the pill directly to the woman who has to take it under supervision. The additional required prostaglandin is available as vaginal suppositories or as oral tablets.
How does an abortion with mifepristone pill work?
First, the pregnancy must be determined by a doctor. This will be followed by advice on the receipt of pregnancy by a recognized counseling center. The abortion can take place at the earliest three days after the consultation.
First, an ultrasound scan is performed to determine the duration of pregnancy. The doctor may also take blood to perform a ß-HCG determination. If the 63rd day of pregnancy has not been exceeded, the woman initially agrees to an abortion in case the medication is unsuccessful. She then receives the active ingredient mifepristone, which she takes under the supervision of the doctor. Then she goes home. Significant complaints are not expected. The next day, slight bleeding may occur. If the tablets are vomited within eleven hours after ingestion, the dose must be repeated. If the woman is breastfeeding, she should be breastfeeding for three days.
At the next visit to the doctor 36 to 48 hours later, the woman receives a prostaglandin, which softens the cervix and causes labor pains. Then it is examined by ultrasound to see if the embryo is still in the uterine cavity or has already gone off. In rare cases the embryo has already been expelled, but most of the time it is still in the uterus. The prostaglandin now accelerates the embryo’s exit and bleeding occurs with abdominal pain. In most cases, the embryo has gone off within three hours of giving the prostaglandin.
If this is not the case, then there are several possibilities. For example, a prostaglandin can be administered again. It is also possible to take mifepristone and a prostaglandin (36 to 48 hours later) up to the 49th day without a menstrual period.
Seven to 14 days after the administration of mifepristone, a check-up by the gynecologist must be carried out to confirm the departure of the embryo. With the help of ultrasound and the determination of ß-HCG (comparison to baseline before abortion), the doctor checks whether the vaginal bleeding has stopped and the expulsion has been completed.
What advantages does the abortion pill have?
The most important advantage of this method is that in 95 to 98 percent of cases no surgery with anesthesia is required.
Abortion is a mental stress situation for many women. With regard to possible emotional consequences, the medical form of termination does not differ significantly from the operative methods. Most women treat abortion well, and then have no major mental health problems, provided that they were able to make their decision to abort self-determined, counseling services were available and they receive support from friends and family.
What disadvantages and side effects does the abortion pill have?
A disadvantage of this form of abortion is that the treatment extends over several days. On average, at least four visits to the gynecologist are required. The treatment itself takes two to four days.
In about two to five percent of cases, this method is unsuccessful, requiring re-drug treatment or abortion for abortion.
Harms of abortion pills
Side effects of the abortion pill and the additionally administered drug prostaglandin are abdominal pain and bleeding. In addition, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches and rashes may occur. Severe bleeding, infection, uterine injuries and cardiovascular failure are very rare and are about as common as with the suction method.