What will happen if you do a medical abortion after the first 9 weeks?


If you have been pregnant for longer than 9 weeks and do a medical abortion anyway, the medicines still work and cause an abortion. However, the risk of complications increases and it is more likely that you will need to receive treatment from a doctor afterwards (See the table below on complications to determine the exact amounts of increased risk). Therefore, it is strongly advised that the pills are taken in the waiting room of a hospital or in a cafe very close to a hospital. In that case, should you need urgent medical attention, you will be nearby. The symptoms are exactly the same as a miscarriage. If you need emergency care in a hospital, it is important to tell the doctors you had a miscarriage, as women can be prosecuted for having an abortion. The symptoms and treatment are the same.
Realize also that you will loose a lot of tissue and blood, but also a foetus (the size depends on the duration of the pregnancy), which can be recognized as such. It can be quite distressing to see. If you have no other means, doing the medical abortion is still much safer than dangerous methods for causing an abortion, such as inserting sharp objects into the vagina, ingesting toxic chemicals such as bleach, or punching the abdomen. You should never use these dangerous methods!

More scientific information:

Medical abortion has now been shown to be effective through the first trimester (12 weeks) and has been successfully used during the second trimester 13 . However with longer pregnancies, the chance of complications from medical abortion increases. There is an increase in the number of surgical procedures performed due to a failure of the medication or due to heavy bleeding. 17 104 105

Legnth of pregancy % of women who needed further medical care
0- 49 days (0-7 weeks) 2 %
40-63 days (7-9 weeks) 2.5%
64-70 days (9-10 weeks) 2.7%
71-77 days (10-11 weeks) 3.3%
77-84 days (11-12 weeks) 5.1%
85-91 days (12-13 weeks) 8%

(Further medical care consists of vacuum aspiration for a continuing pregnancy or an incomplete abortion.)

For pregnancies from 49 to 64 days (7 to 9 weeks), 0,2% of the women might need emergency curettage for bleeding 22 ( or 1 per 500 women having an medical abortion)
This is comparable the risk to get an anaphylactic shock (which is a rare situation) after using penicillin. 57

For pregnancies from 64 till 93 days (9 to 13 weeks), 0,4 % of the women might need emergency curettage for bleeding 20
Even for pregnancies longer than 13 weeks, only 5,2 % of the women need a surgical evacuation because of continuing pregnancy or incomplete abortion 54 )

In 2004, “The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists evidence-based clinical guidelines stated that the medical regimen using Mifepristone in combination with Misoprostol would be a safe and effective alternative to surgery for women undergoing abortion at 9-13 weeks’ gestation (pregnancy) 20 .

If a woman has no other legal choices and does not use this abortion help service, it is likely she will turn to unsafe sources of abortion. A variety of dangerous methods exist for inducing abortion, such as inserting sharp objects into the vagina, ingesting toxic chemicals such as bleach, or punching the abdomen in an effort to cause abortion 32 . It is always safer for a woman to use a medical abortion than to use other means.