A medical abortion is a non-surgical option which can be performed up to 9 weeks after the last day of your most recent menstrual period.
At Stony Brook Women’s Health, we offer the medical abortion as our non-surgical abortion option. Additionally, we offer the morning after pill, however this is a different drug and falls under the emergency contraceptive category.
The morning after pill is used if you had unprotected intercourse or if you believe your birth control may have failed. The morning after pill contains an increased amount of the hormones that are in regular birth control pills. This method can only be effective if taken within 72 hours of intercourse.
What is a Medical Abortion?
A medical abortion uses pills to empty the uterus, similar to a mild miscarriage. These medications are a series of pills taken over two days, and can be used up to 9 weeks (63 days) after the first day of the last menstrual period. This dating is confirmed by an office ultrasound.
On day 1 of the procedure, the patient swallows mifepristone pills in the office. This stops the growth of the pregnancy overnight and usually has no side effects. The patient is sent home with the second set of pills, misoprostol, to be taken the following day. The medication makes the uterus contract to expel the no-longer viable pregnancy. The contractions feel like cramps and are accompanied by moderate bleeding. The cramps can be treated with ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil.) On average, the bleeding and cramping lasts 4 hours. About 50% of our patients choose the medical method.
How does it work?
The medical abortion requires two different pills to be taken on two separate days. The first pill called mifepristone is taken in the office. This medication causes the embryo to disengage from the uterine wall. Two days after taking mifepristone a second pill called misoprostol is taken at home. This will contract the uterus causing the embryo to be expelled. Many women experience heavy period-like symptoms for about two weeks.
What to Expect
Comfort and ease should be expected from the minute you answer the phone until the time you return home from the procedure. Every appointment will begin with paperwork where you provide medical history, sign consent forms, and health insurance information if covered. After initial intake, lab tests will be performed in order to confirm pregnancy. Before initiating the procedure our doctor will sit down with you to discuss your medical history, birth control plans, and any other concerns you may have.
The procedure starts by taking 1 to 3 pills and resting for 20 minutes. After the pills are taken, we will instruct you on how to complete the rest of the abortion at home. We will send you home with fully informed on what foods/drinks to avoid, at home treatments and after care.
We encourage all of our patients to schedule a follow up appointment 72 hours after taking the pills, in order to confirm it was successful. The follow up appointment will allow us to check whether the medical abortion is complete or if further treatment is necessary.
The medical abortion pill has a 97% success rate within the first 8 weeks. It is the most common method for terminating a pregnancy. At Stony Brook Women’s Health we have a very high success rate and you can rest assured the pill is very effective. We will also schedule a FREE follow up appointment after the abortion in order to make 100% certain it was effective. In the unlikely case it does not work, we may provide additional medication or schedule a surgical abortion.
Our office will arrange a follow-up exam at no cost to you about two weeks after your procedure. This consists of a internal exam and sonogram, to insure that the uterus has been emptied and the patient is back to normal. Contraception, and well-woman care, will be reviewed at this visit. Please remember that at any time before your follow-up, a member of our staff will be available to discuss any questions or problems, simply by calling our office number.
Early Abortion Options:
The Morning After Pill / Emergency Contraception Pills
Commonly known as the morning-after pill, ECPs are hormone-containing birth control pills. These should be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, especially if that occurs around mid-cycle. It is important to remember that emergency contraception is for emergencies only and should not substitute for reliable ongoing birth control. The two most common forms of ECP are called Plan B and Ella. The first is available without a prescription. An intrauterine device, or IUD, may also be used for emergency contraception.