Finally Getting Answers
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Before we launch into our third and final installment in this series, the team at HowToUse would like to thank you for making this blog initiative such a success. Because of your clicks, your likes, and your shares, reliable information about safe medical abortion has become increasingly easier for women around the world to access.
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Now, without further ado, let’s get some questions answered.
Frequently Asked Question #5: I am (fill in the blank) weeks along. Can I still use the pills?
Before we answer this question, we want to make sure that we’re all operating on the same timeline. Calculating the gestational length of a pregnancy- or how far along the pregnancy is- can be a confusing process. It’s important that you have an accurate measure of gestational length before moving forward with a medical abortion.
In order to determine the length of the pregnancy, you’ll need to remember the first day of your last menstrual period (commonly referred to as the “LMP”). Once you’ve identified the start date, you will begin to count the weeks moving forward.
For example, let’s say the first day of my last menstrual period was Friday March 30th. A week after Friday March 30th is Friday April 6th. That marks week 1. A week after Friday April 6th is Friday April 13th. That marks week 2. A week after Friday April 13th is Friday April 20th. This marks week 3.
You continue this process all the way up to the current date. If my LMP started on Friday March 30th and today’s date happens to be Thursday May 17th, then I can conclude that I am officially 6 weeks and 6 days along in the pregnancy.
Why is calculating the gestational length so important? Because medical abortion is not safe for women during every stage of pregnancy. In fact, most providers will recommend medical abortion only within the first 10 weeks of gestation. If women are having a medical abortion past 10 weeks, their health care provider will need to carefully reassess the dose of medication and may want to monitor the woman closely during the abortion process.
Frequently Asked Question #6: Is it normal to continue bleeding after a medical abortion?
There’s two parts to this answer: generally speaking, yes, it is completely normal for women to continue bleeding for several weeks after having a medical abortion. However, it’s important to monitor how much.
It’s common for providers to say that a medical abortion is “completed” within 24 hours. This refers to the 24 hours after using misoprostol, when the contents of the uterus are usually expelled and the pregnancy is considered terminated. This does not mean, though, that the woman will stop bleeding after 24 hours.
It’s common for women to bleed for one, two, or even three weeks after having a medical abortion. The important thing is that the amount of blood gradually declines with time. If a woman notices that the amount of blood is not declining, or is consistently increasing in amount, then she should seek medical counsel.
The main risk associated with bleeding after an abortion is a hemorrhage, or a profuse and rapid loss of blood. Though hemorrhage from safe medical abortion is very rare, it’s important that women are aware of the warning signs. If a woman completely soaks two menstrual pads within an hour for two hours straight (adding up to a total of 4 soaked menstrual pads), she should seek emergency medical care.
And that’s a wrap! We hope these past three blogs have helped bring some clarity to the medical abortion process. If you still have a question that you want answered, you can visit our website for information, ask us through Facebook messenger, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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