Potential risks of medical abortion include:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- Heavy bleeding
- Damage to the uterus
You must be certain about your decision before taking any medication to begin a medical abortion. If you decide to continue the pregnancy after beginning to take the medications used in medical abortion, your baby will be at risk of significant birth defects.
Medical abortion hasn't been shown to affect future pregnancies unless complications develop.
Medical abortion may not be an option if you:
- Are too far along in your pregnancy — you should not attempt a medical abortion if you've been pregnant for more than nine weeks (after the start of your last period); some types of medical abortion are not done after seven weeks
- Have a high risk of uterine rupture — for example, if you have several surgical scars that could rupture — or if you have an intrauterine device (IUD) in place
- Have certain medical conditions, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, certain heart or blood vessel diseases, severe liver, kidney or lung disease, or an uncontrolled seizure disorder
- Take a blood thinner or certain steroid medications
- Can't attend follow-up visits with your health care provider or don't have access to emergency care
- Have an allergy to the medications used
Women who want to end a pregnancy but can't have a medical abortion may want to consider surgical abortion instead.
May. 31, 2012
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 67: Medical management of abortion. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2005;106:871. Reaffirmed 2011.
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- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minn. March 26, 2012.
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