Medical Abortion

Women’s Health Services provides medical abortions to 10 weeks of pregnancy. The medical abortion involves taking one medication at Women’s Health Services and taking a second medication 24-48 hours later. This causes a miscarriage, usually within 24-48 hours of taking the second medication. Patients choosing medical abortion must have a safe place to have the miscarriage (preferably in their home, without responsibility for work or childcare).

A medical abortion at WHS requires only one visit to our facility. This is different from most other facilities that provide medical abortions, which require a second visit to confirm a successful procedure. At WHS, the only follow-up necessary to confirm a completed abortion is a follow-up blood test at a Quest Lab, convenient to your home or place of work. We locate the lab, give you written directions to the lab, the necessary paperwork, and mutually decide on the date that is best for you.

Each patient coming for a medical abortion receives counseling on the medical abortion: how it is done, instructions on how to take the medications, side effects and risks, the success rate, and the required follow-up. After counseling is completed and all consents have been signed, lab-work is done to ensure medical eligibility for a medical abortion. A physician meets with each patient, reviews the procedure, how to take the medications, the side effects to expect and re-iterates the follow-up instructions.

The physician will perform an ultrasound exam to make sure that the pregnancy is within the appropriate gestational limits for a medical abortion. If all of the above are within the medical abortion guidelines, the patient will take the mefpristone pill at WHS, and will be given 4 misoprostol  pills, and the instructions for taking them, 24-48 hours after the mefpristone.

All patients receive prescriptions for pain medication, nausea medication, and a prescription for their contraceptive choice. All patients having a medical abortion must have a second quantitative pregnancy hormone level at a Quest Lab, near their home or place of work, on a pre-determined date, after taking the second medication. Patients may choose to come to WHS for a post-op exam, contraception follow-up or gynecologic care, but this is not required.

Patients scheduling a medical abortion, who ultimately decide against the medical abortion and choose to have a surgical procedure, may have the surgical abortion with local anesthesia (if they do not have a ride or have had anything to eat or drink after midnight), have the surgical procedure with anesthesia (if they have a ride and have had nothing to eat or drink since midnight the night before their appointment), or reschedule the procedure with anesthesia (and come with a ride and have nothing to eat or drink after midnight, the night before their procedure).

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