Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTOP) is a non-surgical option for ending a pregnancy in the first 63 days. It is safe and effective, and has been available to women in Australia since 2012. This blog post will provide an overview of the process of seeking an MTOP and deciding whether you want to proceed with an appointment, with an appropriately trained medical professional.
Medical Termination of pregnancy is one of two options to end an early pregnancy up to 63 days or 9 weeks. This is achieved by taking 2 different medications which stop the pregnancy from growing, then cause contractions to push out the contents of the uterus.
This method id not suitable for every women and it is important to have a consultation with your doctor to discuss your suitability prior to administration of the medication. MTOP can be performed from confirmation of pregnancy, positive urine or blood tests up until 9 weeks or 63 days from the last menstrual period. If you are not certain about your dates, it is important to check with an ultrasound scan.
MTOP requires taking two medications, Mifeprostone followed by Misoprostol 36 to 48 hours later. The first medication is an anti-hormone blocking the effects of progesterone, a hormone needed for pregnancy to continue. The second is a hormone that causes the uterus to contract and relaxation of the cervix that helps to empty the uterus. Symptoms of termination include vaginal bleeding and cramping. The bleeding can be quite heavy and you may need painkillers and medication for nausea. You will be warned of adverse effects that occur rarely after termination, like heavy bleeding, prolonged bleeding, severe cramping, infection and when you should seek prompt medical attention. It is important to have a support person to stay with you especially in the first 24 hours after bleeding starts it is also very important to have a follow-up visit with your doctor.
After an MTOP, it is common to bleed, although usually not heavy, for 10-16 days. It is important to realise that your fertility can return as early as 2 weeks later and contraceptive options should be discussed at the first consultation and a plan made. There are rare complications of an MTOP that could affect your future fertility but if properly managed this should not prevent a successful pregnancy in the future.
First speak to your GP or contact a pregnancy counselling service. There are also several online services that can be accessed anonymously if that is your preference. Post MTOP, there is a 24 hour nurse available through MS Health or visit your closest emergency department.
Seeking a termination of pregnancy is a difficult decision for all women, at all different stages of fertility life. It is a very personal decision requiring a lot of practical information and psychological support to navigate the journey. It can be helpful to understand what options are available to you before seeking an appointment with a medical professional.