What is a medical abortion?
Medical abortion is a procedure that uses medications to terminate a pregnancy from between 5 weeks to 9 weeks (63 days) from the first day of your last period. Medical abortions have been safely provided to women in the USA, Canada, Europe, UK and New Zealand for the last two decades and have recently been made available in Australia. Medical abortion is not considered a safer option than surgical abortion as both options are considered to be extremely low risk, but it provides women with an additional choice.
The medical abortion process occurs in at least three stages over a 2 to 3 week period. During the initial visit to the clinic, the pregnancy must be confirmed with an ultrasound scan and the first medication is taken which halts the growth of the pregnancy and causes it to detach from the uterine wall. The second stage occurs in your home, 36 to 48 hours later, where you take a second medication which will cause your uterus to contract and encourage the pregnancy tissue to pass over the following 12 to 24 hours. This stage can be painful and the bleeding will be heavy but can usually be made tolerable with pain relief medications. You should plan to be in a quiet, private place, with easy access to a bathroom, for at least 6 hours, and possibly as long as 24 hours.
The third stage requires a follow-up visit to the clinic after 14 to 21 days where we will confirm that the medical abortion has been completed successfully.