HOW THINGS WORK

ABORTION METHODS

Medical abortion

A medical abortion causes contractions after which the womb expels the pregnancy; it is an artificially induced miscarriage, so to speak. The pills used for this procedure cannot be purchased at any pharmacy; they can only be administered in a LUNA abortion centre.

A medical abortion consists of two phases: first a mifepristone pill has to be taken orally. One to two days later, prostaglandin tablets will have to be inserted vaginally.

The different phases of MEDICAL ABORTION 
First phase
Practicalities

During your first appointment after the six-day waiting period, we go over the different phases of the process again and you can ask any questions you might still have. Also, you will have to sign a consent form. Then you will be given a mifepristone pill to swallow. This session takes between half an hour and an hour.

The second phase of an abortion by medication is 24 to 48 hours after the first appointment. What can you expect in the period between both appointments? Approximately one in five women has blood loss the day after phase 1, this can vary from a little blood loss to a lot of blood with clots. This means most women have no blood loss when they come to the LUNA abortion centre for the second phase. A small number of women (approximately 5%) has an expulsion (ejection of the amniotic sac) before the prostaglandin tablets are taken. If you suspect the amniotic sac has already been emitted it is still important you come to the LUNA abortion centre at the agreed time. We need to establish by ultrasound that you are no longer pregnant.

How does it work?

Mifepristone belongs to a group of drugs known by the name "antiprogestogens". Progesterone is a hormone produced naturally by the female body to support pregnancy. Mifepristone is an anti-hormone which terminates pregnancy. It blocks the effects of progesterone, causes the cervix to soften and dilate and induces the contraction of the uterus.

Second phase
Practicalities

24 to 48 hours after taking the mifepristone tablet you go back to the LUNA abortion centre for the prostaglandin tablets. You need to insert the tablets vaginally. Sometimes buccal or sublingual administration is preferred (you let them melt in your mouth between your gums and your cheek or under your tongue). During this consultation you remain in the LUNA abortion centre 3 to 4 hours.

How does it work?

Prostaglandins cause the uterus to contract and therefore cause the expulsion of the amniotic sac. This ejection or expulsion usually happens within 24 hours. Take into account that you will lose considerably more blood than during a normal period and that it may contain clots. The contraction of the uterus may cause severe cramps. The blood loss can take an average of ten days. This means that for one woman it can last 5 days and someone else will have blood loss for more than 2 weeks.