What You Should Know About Side Effects Of Abortion Medication

Side effects of abortion medication. Abortion in a conservative nation like Nigeria is been considered illegal and carries a heavy jail sentence, up to 14 years imprisonment, unless it is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman.

Nevertheless, a large number of secret or illegal abortions continue to be carried out on daily basis across a very culture and religion, often with dire consequences for the lives and health of the young lady involved.

And this very trend keeps increasing daily.

In 2017 for instance, the annual incidence of likely abortions in Nigeria was 41.1 per 1,000 women age 15 to 49 — nearly 1.8 million abortions.

When including information related to the experience of respondents’ closest confidantes, the number of likely abortions in Nigeria rose to 2.7 million.

Also, more than 6 out of 10 abortions were considered least safe, and 11% of women experienced complications for which they sought post-abortion care at a health facility.

Women living in rural areas of the country, women with no education, and women who are poor were the most likely to have the least safe abortions.


However, medication abortion offers an alternative to surgical abortion for women in the early weeks of pregnancy.

Medication abortion uses a combination of two medications, mifepristone (the first medication) and misoprostol (the second medication), to end a pregnancy up to nine weeks.

Mifepristone was previously known as RU486 and is sometimes called the ‘abortion pill’.

Medication abortion is a low-risk, non-invasive way to terminate or end a pregnancy. It is around 99 per cent effective at ending a pregnancy, when conducted properly.

Around two to five per cent of women who have a medication abortion will need some follow up treatment to complete the abortion.

What To Expect During And After A Medication Abortion

After taking the second medication abortion, misoprostol, you may experience the following:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, headache and fever
  • Pain, usually within half an hour and generally much stronger than period pain
  • Bleeding 1 to 4 hours later, heavier than a period and there may be large clots
  • After 2 to 6 hours the bleeding usually settles to the level of your normal period
  • Bleeding is usually similar to a normal period for another 3 to 7 days
  • Unpredictable, irregular or prolonged bleeding can last for up to 4 weeks after a medication abortion.

Also note that the timing of the pain and bleeding is unpredictable. It occasionally starts before taking the second medication, but may take up to 24 hours or a day to start.

How Important Is Follow-Up After A Medication Abortion?

Doctor advising young lady
Doctor advising young lady

It is important to have a follow-up appointment to make sure the procedure is complete and the pregnancy has ended without any form of complication.

Many doctors order a blood test to check that the pregnancy hormone level, human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, (HCG) has dropped. You will be given an appointment for review in two weeks’ time.

Medication abortion does not work in around one percent of cases. Around two to five per cent of women will have some pregnancy tissue remaining in the uterus or womb and will need further treatment such as additional tablets or a small surgical procedure to complete the abortion.

Your doctor will discuss this with you for clarity.

Side Effects Of Abortion Medication? Side Effects And Complications Of Medication Abortion

Your doctor will inform you about the risks and symptoms of possible complications and what to do if they occur.

Typical and frequently occurring side effects of medication abortion include:

  • Pain from uterine cramping
  • Unpredictable, irregular or prolonged bleeding.

Contact your doctor as quickly as possible if any of these side effects are worrying you.


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