Medical abortion

Today in Italy the woman can request the voluntary interruption of pregnancy within the first 90 days of gestation for health, economic, social or family reasons.

There are 2 types of abortion:

  • medical abortion, which consists of taking medication to end pregnancy
  • surgical abortion, which involves a surgical procedure to terminate the pregnancy

In this article we see how medical abortion is carried out and what it consists of. We wrote about surgical abortion here.

Medical abortion involves taking 2 drugs: mifepristone (RU486) and a prostaglandin.

Medications are prescribed by the hospital or clinic and you usually take them 1 or 2 days apart.

The combination of these two drugs involves the cessation of viability and the expulsion of the embryo. This usually happens several hours after taking the second medicine.

He does not need surgery or anesthetic.

More in detail, medical abortion involves the following steps:

  1. First take a tablet containing a medicine called mifepristone, which blocks the main pregnancy hormone. This medication is given to you in the hospital or clinic and then you can go home and continue your normal activities
  2. 1 or 2 days later, take a second medicine called misoprostol. Depending on the progress of the pregnancy you can take this second medication at home or in the facility you have entrusted
  3. Within 4-6 hours of taking the second medicine, the lining of the uterus ruptures, causing pain, bleeding and pregnancy loss

Sometimes it is necessary to take multiple doses of misoprostol. If they are not sufficient, it is necessary to resort to surgery. Serious complications, such as severe hemorrhalgia, damage to the uterus or sepsis, are not very rare (they affect about 1 in 1000 women).


Abortions are generally very safe and most women will not have any problems.

After abortion

Having an abortion does not increase your risk of breast cancer or mental health problems.

Having an abortion will not affect your chances of getting pregnant and having normal pregnancies in the future. Many women are able to get pregnant soon after, so you should start using contraception right away if you don’t want to get pregnant.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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