Medication-Induced Abortion

This is a procedure generally used after 16 weeks of a pregnancy. This procedure will generally require a hospital stay of one to two days. The skin on the abdomen is numbed by a pain-killer. A needle is used to inject a substance drop by drop through the abdomen into the amniotic fluid in the uterus which surrounds the fetus.

Generally one of three substances is used:

  • a salt solution (saline)
  • a drug (prostaglandin)
  • or a chemical compound (urea).

Other medicines may be given to cause contractions to begin.

Labor pains generally start within a few hours. Delivery of the stillborn fetus and placenta occurs, usually within 24 hours. This may be followed by a scraping of the uterus with a curette (a sharp spoon-like instrument) to make sure the removal of the fetus and other tissue has been completed. This procedure will generally require a stay in the hospital.

Risks and Complications

Following is a list of some of the risks which in the past have been associated with this type of abortion procedure. Not all of these risks may pertain to any one patient. This procedure should be discussed with your physician for information regarding risks which may apply to you.

Complications may include infection, heavy bleeding, and perforation of the uterus (a hole or tear in the wall of the womb).

The risks of uterine perforation and laceration are slightly greater at this stage of pregnancy than they are in an abortion done earlier due to the larger fetus and thinner uterine walls.

Other complications could include cervical incompetence (a condition in which the cervix opens up too early, increasing the risk of a miscarriage in future pregnancies) and injury to the cervix. Repeated abortions could increase the possibility of premature delivery or a low birth weight infant in future pregnancies.

While rare, some women may experience depression, feelings of guilt, anger, sleep disturbance, or loss of interest in work or sex, as a result of an abortion. If these symptoms occur and are intense or persistent, professional help is recommended..

Maternal death occurs in less than 1 of every 100,000 abortions.

Risks and Complications associated with Pregnancy and Delivery

For every 100 hospitalizations for delivery there are approximately 22 hospitalizations for pregnancy complications.

Some of the complications of pregnancy which may result in death or hospitalization include heavy bleeding or infection, preeclampsia and eclampsia (characterized by seizures, swelling and high blood pressure), blood clots, ectopic pregnancies (fertilized eggs growing outside the womb), miscarriage, death of the fetus or newborn, premature labor, urinary tract infection, excessive vomiting during pregnancy, and diabetes.

Maternal death occurs approximately eight times out of every 100,000 pregnancies.

Available Services

Many services may be available to you should you choose to continue your pregnancy. You should contact your local health department, the Michigan Department of Community Health, or your county Family Independence Agency office if you would like to know about services available in your area.

If you would like information about services available through public agencies to assist you in placing your child in an adoptive or foster home, you should contact your county Family Independence Agency office. Or, contact a local private adoption agency. Check the yellow pages of your local phone book under the listings for adoption or pregnancy services.

If you experience subsequent adverse psychological effects from your abortion, you may contact your community mental health office, your local public health office or your county Family Independence Agency office for assistance in obtaining counseling.

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