Mothers and abortion: A reality
A recent study in the US found that 59% of American women who aborted a pregnancy were already mothers to at least one child. For these women, and for those who may be caretaking for children, having a child at home may raise specific concerns during the medical abortion process. Today we tackle some of the most common questions about abortion that we receive from mothers and child caretakers.
Can I have a medical abortion if I’ve had a cesarean section (c-section) before?
Yes. A medical abortion within the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy is a safe option for women who have had prior vaginal births and c-section births.
Can I use the abortion pills if I’m still breastfeeding?
Yes. The mifepristone pill should not be problematic while breastfeeding. However, misoprostol (also commonly known as cytotec) can cause diarrhea in breastfeeding infants. To avoid this, you can breastfeed the baby, take the misoprostol pills, and wait 4 hours before breastfeeding again.
Can I keep my abortion private if I have a child in the house?
Yes, but it is important that you plan accordingly. Understanding the medical abortion process and managing your symptoms will be key to a discreet, private abortion.
If you are using mifepristone as part of your medical abortion, you should not experience significant side effects. Some women may have light bleeding following mifepristone. This is normal and should not disrupt your typical routines of the day.
Misoprostol, however, will trigger more severe symptoms. Abdominal pain and cramping can begin within 30 minutes after using misoprostol. You can help manage this pain by using over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or diclofenac. You can begin these medications before or at the same time as using misoprostol to help lessen pain. The most intense cramping should gradually subside once the pregnancy tissue has passed, usually within five hours of using misoprostol.
Misoprostol also triggers heavy bleeding. Unlike cramping, bleeding can continue for multiple weeks after the abortion. There is no medication available to lessen the bleeding; it should gradually decrease over time.
With cramping and bleeding in mind, some women with children at home may choose to have a close friend or relative watch their children during the more symptom-intensive phase of the abortion. If that is not possible, planning the abortion around quieter home activities, such as naptime or a movie, may allow for more relaxation and discretion.
If you are looking to learn more about safe medical abortion, you can visit our website. For information specifically about abortion care support, you can read our blog, A DIY Medical Abortion Care Kit.You can also follow us on social media: we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.