Early Abortion Pill (Medical Termination of Pregnancy)

The Contraceptive Pill

In response to the current COVID 19 pandemic, the government has approved the use of pills by post for abortion treatment. This allows you to take both pills for a medical abortion up to 10 weeks in your own home, rather than attending a clinic.

What is the abortion pill?

The abortion pill is a safe way to end an early pregnancy. It is a combination of two medications – mifepristone and misoprostol. You can have an early medical abortion (EMA) using an abortion pill up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Early abortion pill treatment process

The first tablet is called Mifepristone and is taken orally (swallowed with water).  Mifepristone works by blocking the action of progesterone, a hormone needed to maintain the pregnancy.

The second stage of treatment is 4-6 Misoprostol tablets. 4 tablets should be either be inserted into the vagina or in the mouth against the gum (buccal). These contain a hormone called prostaglandin. Prostaglandins occur naturally in the body and help the uterus to contract. If there is no bleeding after three hours the 2 remaining tablets should be used.

Acting together the combination of Mifepristone and the Misoprostol will bring on an abortion.

Potential Risks/ Side Effects

EMA has a very good safety record, however, every form of medical treatment carries some risks or side effects. With this treatment, the main risks/ side effects include:

  • Excessive vaginal bleeding
  • Incomplete abortion
  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions
  • A feeling of light-headedness
  • Feeling feverish
  • High temperature
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea or sickness

Visits To The Abortion Clinic

Staged EMA

First visit:

  • You will be given a Mifepristone tablet to swallow with a glass of water.
  • You will be given your next appointment time and a number to call if you are worried or have any questions.

Second visit:

After your first visit, you will be asked to return to the clinic between 24 and 48 hours later. You must keep this appointment. There is a waiting room for your supporter whilst you are having treatment.

  • Any symptoms that you may have experienced since your first appointment will be discussed with you by a nurse. If all has been well, your early abortion-pill treatment will continue.
  • You will be given pain relief to be administered rectally.
  • A nurse will insert Misoprostal pills either vaginally or buccally or you can choose to put them in place yourself. The Misoprostal helps your body to expel the pregnancy so you will start to bleed and have period-like pains.

Simultaneous EMA

One visit

We also offer simultaneous administration of early medical abortion.  This involves taking both parts of the early medical abortion medication at the same time, in one clinic visit.

  • Your pregnancy should be dated at 9 + 0 weeks or under to have this type of abortion.
  • This involves an oral tablet (mifepristone) and four vaginal tablets (misoprostol).
  • The vaginal tablets are preferably administered by a nurse to ensure correct insertion, however they can be self-administered if you feel confident to do so.

You can leave the clinic after the treatment. You should take it easy for a couple of hours. After this time you may find that moving around will ease any discomfort.

The abortion usually takes place between 4 and 6 hours following the insertion of the tablets however in some cases the abortion can take place earlier or later (up to 7 days later).

Medical Abortion Aftercare

Please see Aftercare page.