Dr Suman Bijlani, Gynaecologist, Sonologist, Infertility Specialist, Obstetrician and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Mumbai.

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Abortion Pill



Do you have an unwanted pregnancy? Looking for a safe abortion? Indian abortion laws permit abortion (surgical or using pills) only in legalised abortion centres by a registered qualified gynaecologist.

Q. I have missed my period. I am worried that I may be pregnant. Can I take the abortion pill to get my period?

No. You have to first get a pregnancy test done to confirm that you are pregnant. The abortion pill does not work if you are not pregnant and have missed your period due to any other cause.

Q. I am 6 weeks pregnant and I don’t want the pregnancy. How do I get rid of it?

For early pregnancy (first trimester) up to 7 weeks (49 days from the date of the last menstrual period), the abortion pill is quite effective with a success rate of about 95%. Or you may choose to undergo a surgical abortion (D&C).

Q. Up to what weeks of pregnancy can I take the abortion pill?

The abortion pill is now permitted for use up to 9 weeks (63 days from the date of the last menstrual period). However, the success rate drops after 7 weeks. Also, the risk of heavy bleeding increases as pregnancy advances.

Q. Is it necessary to do an ultrasound before taking the abortion pill?

It is better to confirm the size of pregnancy and also make sure that you do not have an ‘ectopic’ pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus - usually in the fallopian tube), before prescribing the abortion pill.

Q. Where and how do I get the abortion pill? How to take it? What should I expect after taking the pills? Am I going to get pain?

The abortion pill has to be dispensed by or prescribed by a gynaecologist. It is given as two courses – one pill to be taken orally immediately and the other 4 pills about 48 hours later orally or vaginally. After the course of medication, you would start to bleed within about 24-72 hours. The bleeding may last from 3-10 days for most women. The flow could be medium to heavy, and may rarely become severe. Pain is usually quite bearable. Ask your gynaecologist to prescribe a pain-killer or you could take any OTC brand that agrees with you.

Q. How do I know that the abortion process is complete? That my uterus is completely clean?

You would pass pink, fleshy, mucus or jelly-like products along with blood and clots. That indicates that you are aborting. However, you need to do ultrasound of the pelvis after about 2 weeks of taking the abortion pill to make sure that the abortion is complete.

Q. I have had heavy bleeding with clots after taking the abortion pill. I know that everything has come out. Do I still need to do ultrasound pelvis?

Yes, you do. Even if you have had heavy bleeding, that does not ensure that the abortion is complete. Ultrasound can pick up very small retained bits of tissue that may cause infection or bleeding if left behind.

Q. What if the abortion is not complete? Do I need to get a surgical abortion? I am very afraid.

If the abortion pill has failed (no bleeding or incomplete abortion), your gynaecologist would advise you to get a D&C done or give you another course of the abortion pill. That decision would be your doctor’s only.

Q. What are the possible complications of the abortion pill?

The abortion pill is generally very safe. Very rare cases of allergy can happen as with any other drug. You may feel giddy or nauseated after taking the first or second course of the abortion pills. Some of you may get acidity or loose motions. Heavy bleeding is somewhat common. Be prepared in case you are going to be at work. Rarely, the bleeding may be severe enough to rush you to the hospital. Infection is possible, but is again rare. Your gynaecologist would decide if you need antibiotics along with the abortion pill, or later.

Q. Will the abortion pill harm my future pregnancy?

No. If taken as prescribed, and under supervision of a gynaecologist, you are very safe. Make sure you do your ultrasound after 2 weeks to confirm an empty uterus.

Q. Can I have sex after taking the abortion pill? And how soon can I resume sex after the abortion?

It is best if you do not indulge in intercourse after taking the abortion pill, till the abortion process is complete. There is a small risk of infection. After you have stopped bleeding and the gynaecologist has confirmed on ultrasound that your uterus is empty, you may resume your sexual life with proper birth control!

Q. When can I start the birth control pill after the abortion?

You may start the birth control pill pack immediately after the abortion process is confirmed complete.

Q. What if I do not want to take the birth control pill? What are my options?

Pls refer to the article on Birth Control on this website for a detailed understanding of birth control methods.

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