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A medical abortion is the use of medicines to end a pregnancy. Usually two medicines are used. You take one medicine. Within 2 days after taking the first medicine, you take the second medicine. The timing depends on how the doctor tells you to use them. The second medicine takes about 1 to 24 hours to work, with bleeding usually starting within a few hours.
After the abortion, you may have bleeding, spotting, and cramping for the first 2 weeks.
You will take a pregnancy test at home or have an ultrasound or a lab test to make sure the abortion worked. You will be told when to do this. If the medicine didn't work, you may need to take a second dose of medicine or have a surgical abortion.
If you got and used abortion pills without working with a doctor (self-managed abortion), you should take a pregnancy test about a month after the abortion to make sure it worked.
You can get pregnant in the weeks after an abortion. If you don't want to get pregnant, talk with your doctor about birth control methods.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
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Adaptation Date: 8/17/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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