Medical abortion is recognized as a safe, effective, and minimally invasive method of abortion. In fact, it’s statistically safer than bringing a pregnancy to term and giving birth.
Nevertheless, it’s common for a woman to experience feelings of anxiety or apprehension as she prepares for a medical abortion. Whether she’s having her abortion in a clinic or at home, she may be uncertain about what to expect during the process.
Thankfully, with a little research, forethought, and planning, there are clear steps that a woman can take to help ease stress and boost comfort during her medical abortion. Below is a tried and true Medical Abortion Care Kit assembled just for you by the team at HowToUse.
1) Know What To Expect
To help alleviate feelings of anxiety, be sure to do your research before having a medical abortion. Knowing what to expect during the process will give you piece of mind. Bleeding? Cramping? These symptoms can be alarming if they take you by surprise. But to the woman who’s done her homework, she’ll know that these signs, uncomfortable as they may be, are indications that the pills are working and the abortion is underway.
2) Get Ahead Of The Cramping
Cramping is an inevitable part of a medical abortion; it signals that the deep musculature of the uterus is working to expel the pregnancy. Ibuprofen is a good medication to help cope with the pain. You can use 3-4 tablets of ibuprofen (200 mg each) every 6-8 hours, or as instructed by a health care professional. Also remember that you can start taking the ibuprofen about an hour before using misoprostol to help curb cramping before it even starts.
3) Stock Up On Menstrual Pads
Heavy bleeding is normal during a medical abortion. (Just make sure to watch out for extremely heavy bleeding, which could be a sign of complication.) Have enough pads on hand to deal with the blood flow. Do not use tampons during a medical abortion. Although blood flow should gradually decrease over time, it is very common for women to continue bleeding for a week or two after having a medical abortion.
4) Stay Hydrated
It’s important to stay hydrated during a medical abortion. Water and tea are two great options to sip on. If you’re feeling nauseous, consider sucking on crushed ice to help settle your stomach and keep fluids down.
5) Choose Easy, Comforting Foods
To keep your energy up and your stomach settled, sticking with light, bland foods is a good idea. Avoid spicy or greasy meals and instead opt for snacks like crackers, toast, or simple broths.
6) Warmth, Warmth, Warmth
Any woman who deals with regularly painful menstrual cramps can tell you that a heating pad or warm water bottle applied to the abdomen makes all the difference. The same is true during a medical abortion. Applying warmth to your lower tummy can significantly cut back on cramping discomfort. Just be careful not to apply too much heat directly to the skin. It should soothe, not burn!
7) Build Yourself A Nest
Not all women will have access to a completely private space for the duration of the medical abortion, but try to find somewhere you can settle in for a few hours with minimal disturbance. Being in a quiet, calm area will help you relax during the abortion process. A good movie, a favorite tv show, or an engaging podcast will also help you pass the time and minimize stress.
8) A Trusted Friend, If You’re Up For It
Maybe all you want is to be left alone during your medical abortion. We get it. But for those of you who may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, consider asking a trusted friend or partner to keep you company during the process. An extra set of hands to get you a blanket or refill your tea can go a long way. If your support person can’t be physically present, ask if they can stick by their phone in case you need to get in touch. Knowing that someone is just a phone call away can be reassuring and help combat feelings of isolation.
What do you think about our recommended care kit? Are we missing anything? Send us your thoughts or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.