Therapeutic medical abortion; Elective medical abortion; Induced abortion; Nonsurgical abortion
A medical abortion is the use of certain medications to end a pregnancy. The drugs help remove the fetus and placenta from the mother's womb (uterus).
There are different types of medical abortion.
Sometimes the woman has one for a health reason. This is called a therapeutic medical abortion.
Other times, she chooses (elects) to end the pregnancy. This is called an elective medical abortion.
A medical, or nonsurgical, abortion can be done within 7 weeks from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period. A combination of prescription hormone medicines are used to help the body remove the fetus and placenta tissue. The doctor may give you the medicines after performing a physical exam and asking questions about your medical history.
Medications used to end an early pregnancy include mifepristone, methotrexate, misoprostol, prostaglandins, or a combination of these medications.
There are several reasons a medical abortion might be considered:
ACOG. Clinical management guidelines of obstetrician-gynecologists. Medical management of abortion. Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Oct;106(4):871-82.
Mischell DR. Family planning: contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy termination. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 14.
Simpson JL, Jauniaux ERM. Pregnancy loss. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2007:chap 24.
Annas GJ, Elias S. Legal and ethical issues in obstetric practice. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2007:chap 51.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885