Abortion pills are one of the most common choices for women who want to end an unwanted pregnancy at an early stage. Mifepristone and misoprostol are the two drugs utilized for this form of abortion, being both safe and successful. On the other hand, just as with any other type of medical operation, the use of medical abortion pills comes with the possibility of experiencing risks and adverse effects. In this article, we will investigate the experiences of women who have gone through medical abortion using these pills, as well as review the available literature and studies that have been conducted consider for debating whether some direction and things to think about for ladies who are debating whether or not to go with this choice.
Abortion pills are a method that has been demonstrated to be both safe and successful for women who wish to end their pregnancies in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and even at home. Moreover, in a review from the International Journal of Women’s Health (IJWH), the majority of women surveyed by the researchers stated that they were content with their decision to have an abortion using medical means, and they felt the process to be less invasive and painful than traditional surgical abortion. Nonetheless, several of the women who tried it reported unpleasant side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (Kimport et al., 2003).
In another study by the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers followed a group of women who underwent medical abortions in clinical settings. The majority of women were able to effectively terminate their pregnancies using any of those medications, and the researchers discovered that there were no substantial complications as a result of any of the terminations. However, some of the ladies reported experiencing significant bleeding, which caused them to seek medical assistance (Schaff et al., 2008).
Currently, there are many online discussion groups and forums where people talk about their experiences using medical abortion pills. Because it permitted them to stop an undesirable pregnancy without the necessity for surgery and several women report feeling very thankful that they had the choice of a medical abortion. Some, on the other hand, have characterized the event as being both physically and emotionally taxing.
One woman’s account of her experience with medical abortion can be found on the website Medium, where she describes it as “traumatic and isolating.” She reported feeling exceedingly sick and weak, and it was difficult for her to leave her house for a few days due to these symptoms. Another woman shared her story on Reddit, stating that her delivery was “far smoother than [she] imagined,” and that she only experienced light cramps and bleeding.
It is vital to keep in mind that the use of medical abortion pills will provide a different experience for every woman who uses them, and some women may experience more severe adverse effects or difficulties than others. It is essential to adhere to all of the recommendations made by medical professionals and to seek quick medical assistance if any symptoms that cause worry appear.
Two drugs, mifepristone, and misoprostol, are used to induce a miscarriage or terminate a pregnancy when performed medically. The drug mifepristone, which is given initially, inhibits the production of the hormone progesterone, which is essential for the continuation of the pregnancy. Because of this process, the lining of the uterus begins to thin out and separate from the pregnancy, which brings an end to the pregnancy’s growth. Following the administration of mifepristone, the second medicine, misoprostol, is typically taken between 24 and 48 hours later. Misoprostol induces contractions in the uterus, which results in the expulsion of the pregnancy, in a manner analogous to that of a miscarriage. After taking misoprostol, it is common for women to suffer cramping and bleeding, and these side effects can continue anywhere from a few hours to several days. It is vital to keep in mind that the process of expelling the pregnancy can be highly painful and uncomfortable for some women. However, other women may just experience slight discomfort during this time (Schaff et al., 2008).
Abortion pills offered medically provide a number of advantages over traditional abortion procedures. Abortion using medical means is less invasive than surgical abortion, because it does not require the use of anesthetic or surgery. It may be performed in a medical facility, the lady’s own home, or wherever else the woman considers being most convenient. Moreover, it provides a level of discretion that an abortion through surgical means could not. Women can get an abortion through medical means without having to tell anybody about the pregnancy, which is a benefit that can be especially useful for those residing in regions where abortion is illegal.
In recent years, there has been an increase in emphasis paid to the accessibility of medical abortion pills, particularly in settings with limited availability of resources. One study carried out in India and published in the journal BMJ Global Health attempted to design an intervention to promote the sexual and reproductive health of young women living in informal urban settlements. The study was carried out with the intention of empowering women. Access to medical abortion pills was determined to be a significant component of the intervention in the study, which was conducted because many of the women who participated in the study reported having trouble gaining access to safe and economic abortion procedures.
Misoprostol is a common choice for women seeking to terminate pregnancies in Nigeria, a country with very severe abortion laws. An information sheet created by the Guttmacher Institute and distributed in Nigeria investigated the experiences of women who had an abortion with the help of misoprostol. According to the findings of the study, even though women had a difficult time gaining access to both information and safe misoprostol, the vast majority of them were content with their choice to take the drug, and they did not report any serious side effects or difficulties.
Although medical abortion pills have been demonstrated to be a safe and successful choice for terminating an early pregnancy, it is important to note that these pills are not available in all countries, and access to the drug can be restricted even in those countries where they are available. For example, in the United States of America, certain states have enacted laws that make it more difficult to acquire medical abortion pills due to political and ideological considerations. In 2022, the New York Times published a story that provided an overview of the many different abortion restrictions that have been enacted at the state level since the historic decision Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. Among these limits are mandated waiting periods, regulations to obtain an ultrasound, and prohibitions on the use of pharmaceutical abortion.
In addition to these legal constraints, women may also encounter additional difficulties in the form of practical barriers while trying to gain access to medical abortion pills, such as the cost, transportation, and stigma associated with the procedure. A study that examined vaccine hesitancy in the United States by the Journal of Community Health in 2021 found that a lack of access to healthcare and distrust in the medical system were significant factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy. The study also found that distrust in the medical system was another significant factor. Access to medical abortion pills may also be hindered by these same circumstances, which is especially problematic for underprivileged and marginalized women.
Access to reproductive healthcare, such as medical abortion pills, has been significantly hampered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The clinical symptoms, risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes of COVID-19 in pregnancy were investigated in a systematic review and meta-analysis by the BMJ in 2020. According to the findings of the study, pregnant women who had COVID-19 were at a greater risk of severe sickness and death. The researchers concluded that healthcare systems should prioritize the provision of reproductive healthcare services during the pandemic, including abortion treatment.
Furthermore, the pandemic has brought to light existing gaps in access to healthcare as well as the influence of social determinants of health on reproductive outcomes. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health among the general population were investigated in a systematic published in the Journal of Affective Disorders (2021). The fact that marginalized populations, such as women, were at an elevated risk of mental health problems during the pandemic was highlighted by the findings of this study, which calls attention to the necessity of providing equal access to medical care services.
In conclusion, it has been demonstrated that medical abortion pills are a viable alternative for ending an early pregnancy in a safe and successful manner. Most women are able to safely terminate their pregnancies with relatively few complications after undergoing the operation. However, there are some dangers and adverse effects involved with the procedure. Unfortunately, access to medical abortion pills can be limited, particularly for marginalized and low-income women. Moreover, women may be prevented from accessing this vital healthcare option due to legal and practical constraints. It is of the utmost importance that healthcare systems give reproductive healthcare services, such as abortion care, a higher priority to reduce healthcare disparities and seek to address the social determinants of health.
- Grossman, D., Grindlay, K., Buchacker, T., Lane, K., Blanchard, K., & Westheimer, E. (2013). Having an abortion using mifepristone and home misoprostol: a qualitative analysis of women’s experiences. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 45(2), 63-69. doi: 10.1363/4506312https://reproductive-health-journal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1742-4755-9-34
- Gomperts, R., Jelinska, K., Davies, S., Gemzell-Danielsson, K., Kleiverda, G. (2012). Using telemedicine for termination of pregnancy with mifepristone and misoprostol in settings where there is no access to safe services. Reproductive Health, 9(1), 34. doi: 10.1186/1742-4755-9-34
- Schaffer DeRoo, S., Pudalov, N. J., Fu, L. Y., & Stalgaitis, C. A. (2021). COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the United States: A rapid national assessment. Journal of Community Health, 46(2), 270–277. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-020-00960-x
- Pappa, S., Ntella, V., Giannakas, T., Giannakoulis, V. G., Papoutsi, E., & Katsaounou, P. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health among general population: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders, 277, 55-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.08.001
- Allotey, J., Stallings, E., Bonet, M., Yap, M., Chatterjee, S., Kew, T., … & Kc, A. (2020). Clinical manifestations, risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnancy: living systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ, 370, m3320. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3320
- Kimport, K., Perrucci, A., Weitz, T. A., & Freedman, L. R. (2003). Having an abortion using mifepristone and home misoprostol: A qualitative analysis. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 35(2), 72-78. https://doi.org/10.1363/3507203
- Dasgupta, A., Battala, M., Saggurti, N., Nair, S., & Silverman, J. G. (2020). Developing a women’s health and empowerment intervention to improve the sexual and reproductive health of young women in urban informal settlements in Mumbai, India: a qualitative study. BMJ Global Health, 5(12), e003934. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-003934
- Guttmacher Institute. (2015). Women’s Experiences With Misoprostol Abortions in Nigeria. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/womens-experiences-with-misoprostol-abortions-nigeria
- The New York Times. (2022, January 19). Abortion Laws and Restrictions Across the US Since Roe v. Wade. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/us/abortion-laws-roe-v-wade.html?auth=login-google1tap&login=google1tap
- https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/information-about-mifepristone-medical-termination-pregnancy-through-ten-weeks-gestation (Accessed on March 10, 2023).