Whenever the decision for pregnancy termination is taken by a woman, it is not one taken lightly.
Pregnancy termination can be done by use of drugs when it is known as medication abortion or medication pregnancy termination.
This does not involve any surgical procedure; rather it is the administration of an abortifacient. This abortifacient could be administered orally, vaginally or may be injected intramuscularly.
Mifepristone or methotrexate is the most commonly used drug for pregnancy termination and they firstly terminate the pregnancy and then cause the contents of the uterus to be expelled from the body.
There are certain benefits of this method of pregnancy termination since it is non-surgical; however it is not without its side effects and the way that it works should ideally be discussed with one’s doctor at length.
Though this is thought to be safer than pregnancy termination by surgical methods there are limitations of this form of termination:
- The pregnancy must be less than 8 weeks because when taken after that, it can cause partial abortion.
- If incomplete abortion takes place, part of the pregnancy tissue will remain within the uterus and may require surgical intervention.
- This pill is NOT like the morning after pill; it does not prevent a pregnancy; it ends it.
- This pill can be taken only under medical supervision.
- There could be heavy bleeding.
- Many women find it profoundly unsettling to deal with the contents of the pregnancy when expelled from the uterus.
- There are several medical conditions such as anemia, cardiovascular disease, seizures, liver, renal or respiratory disease and several others when it cannot be administered. So any medical condition that a person has must be reported to the supervising physician.
- If there are problems such as blood clotting, or if a woman is HIV+ or if she has had problems of ovarian cysts etc, she is not to take this drug.
- There is a 5% failure rate among medical or non surgical pregnancy terminations.
- Other than heavy bleeding, there are other side effects such as nausea and vomiting and abdominal cramps. Sometimes there may be diarrhea and headache experiences as well.
- This could be more painful than a surgical termination.
- If the drug is taken, and it causes an incomplete abortion, and the resultant fetus is not expelled, it could have severe deformities if carried to term.
- This drug has not been around for long enough so it cannot be said with complete certainty what effect, if any it has on future fertility of a woman.
All this must be taken into account when considering a pregnancy termination and considering an option that is the best one.