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HomeUnderstanding Medical Abortion: A Complete Guide to Treatment & Care

Understanding Medical Abortion: A Complete Guide to Treatment & Care

19 Mar, 2024 | Abortion, Advice, Blog, Contraception

Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. You’re not alone. If you’re considering a medical abortion, this guide is here to provide clear information and compassionate support as you navigate this decision. It’s okay to feel a range of emotions – uncertainty, fear, or even relief. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about medical abortion, from the process itself to the emotional support available.

What is Medical Abortion?

Medical abortion is a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy using medication rather than surgery. Often referred to as the “abortion pill,” it involves two types of medication a day or two apart.

How Does Medical Abortion Work?

  • Step 1: Taken by mouth (swallowed), this medication blocks the action of progesterone, a hormone vital for pregnancy.
  • Step 2: Also taken by mouth (but placed between the cheek and gum), this medication causes the cervix to open and the uterus to contract, expelling the pregnancy tissue.

Understanding what medications are used here.

Important Note: Medical abortion isn’t suitable for everyone. During a consultation, your healthcare provider will assess your situation and determine if this option is the right fit for you.

Am I Eligible for Medical Abortion?

To determine your eligibility for a medical abortion, schedule a confidential consultation with a healthcare professional. They’ll review your medical history, conduct an examination, and confirm your pregnancy stage, usually by ultrasound. Typically, medical abortion is an option in early pregnancy – up to 9 weeks.

What’s the Process of Medical Abortion?

The medical abortion process generally involves these steps:

  • Consultation and Assessment: This confidential meeting is your chance to ask questions and ensure this option aligns with your needs. Your provider will discuss your medical history, explain the process and conduct or arrange an ultrasound examination to confirm your pregnancy and determine its stage.
  • Taking the Medications: Your healthcare provider will explain how the medications work and provide detailed instructions. The medications may be provided by the clinic or picked up from your local pharmacy. You’ll usually complete the process at home.
  • Passing the Pregnancy: Cramping and bleeding, usually heavier than a regular period, are normal as your body expels the pregnancy tissue. Your healthcare provider will offer guidance on managing this part of the process.
  • Follow-Up: Follow up is essential to check the process is complete. Depending on your healthcare provider, you may need to return to the clinic or you may be followed up by phone. Your provider will explain what’s required for follow up at your initial consult.

You can refer to Medical Abortion Services page for more details.

What to Expect: Care and Support

  • Follow-Up Care: Your healthcare provider will explain the follow up process and what to do if your worried about any symptoms your experiencing.
  • Pain Management: You’ll receive guidance on managing any potential pain or discomfort. This may include recommendations for over-the-counter pain relievers as needed. You may also be prescribed pain medication.
  • Emotional Support: This experience can bring on a wide range of emotions. Remember, your feelings are valid. Reach out to your doctor, a counsellor, trusted friends or family, or support groups if you need someone to listen or offer encouragement.

Things to Think About Before Choosing a Medical Abortion

The decision to continue or end a pregnancy is deeply personal. Here are some points to consider as you make this choice:

  • Your Health: Discuss all aspects of your physical and mental health with your healthcare provider to understand the impact of all your options.
  • Your Values: Take time to reflect on your values and beliefs about this decision. Remember, if it’s your body, it’s your choice.
  • Support System: Surround yourself with loved ones you trust and consider seeking professional guidance from counsellors or therapists.
  • Available Options: Exploring all choices – parenting, adoption, and abortion – allows you to make the most informed and empowered decision.

Side Effects, Possible Risks and Complications

For information on potential side effects, risks, and complications of medical abortion, please refer to this free online resources page provided by MSI Australia.

Where to Find Help

Choosing a healthcare provider with whom you feel safe and comfortable openly discussing this deeply personal decision is crucial. Here are some resources that offer confidential and non-judgmental support:

  • Your GP
  • Your local community health centre
  • Family planning and sexual health clinics

MSI Australia’s qualified Social Workers offer pro-choice, evidence-based and trauma informed c If you want an interpreter or have any cultural needs we can help you. Make a booking here.


You have the right to make informed choices about your own body and health. Seek reliable resources when you make the decision to choose what’s best for you. You are not alone in this journey.