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14.05.2016

Facts about Medicinal Termination of Pregnancy

Medicinal termination is a safe procedure. However it can give rise to complications if not taken under medical supervision. Following are some instances which I had to manage as the patients were misguided:

  • An unmarried girl took medicines to terminate pregnancy on her own. She did not consult a doctor nor got any ultrasound done. She had an ectopic pregnancy which ruptured and she collapsed in her house. Emergency operation had to be done and blood transfused to save her life.
  • An overseas patient who was 10 weeks’ pregnant went to a chemist to procure pills for termination of pregnancy at an exorbitant price. She flew back the same day and thankfully her friends dissuaded her from taking the pills unsupervised. Good sense prevailed and she came over for a surgical termination of pregnancy and flew back the same day.

The take home messages from the above incidences are:

  • Medicinal termination is a safe option till 6 weeks of pregnancy.
  • It is better to have an ultrasound before these procedures:
    • Gives a proper assessment of the duration of pregnancy.
    • Rules out tubal pregnancy which is a life threatening condition.
    • If pill is taken in case of a tubal pregnancy it can cause internal bleeding which can be life threatening.

Important information that one needs to keep in mind regarding medicinal termination of pregnancy are:

  • Medicine for termination of pregnancy is given in two doses about 48 hours apart. After taking the 2nd dose there can be severe pain and bleeding in a few cases. Hence as an abundant caution it is preferable to take the medicines in a medical setup rather than taking it unsupervised at home.
  • In some cases termination may remain incomplete and cause prolonged bleeding and infection. To rule out such a complication it is advisable to do a repeat ultrasound between 10 to 15 days of taking the medicines.
  • Taking pills may sound simple but it is always better to take it under supervision. If there is a time constraint then it is better to go for a surgical procedure.

Dr Rekha Khandelwal MS
Chief Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Vardaan Hospital

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