Medical Termination of Pregnancy

Understanding Medical Termination of Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Guide


Pregnancy is a wonderful and joyous time, but there are circumstances when the termination becomes necessary due to factors like the mother’s health or potential complications. This article will discuss various aspects of the medical termination of pregnancy, including the procedure, reasons for its consideration, recovery process, advantages, and possible risks.

What is the Medical Termination of Pregnancy?

Medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) is a procedure for terminating a pregnancy using certain medications. It involves administering mifepristone and misoprostol to induce termination, typically during the early stages of pregnancy (between 6 and 9 weeks). During this timeframe, medicines alone can end a pregnancy. However, a surgical procedure is required to complete the termination process if the pregnancy continues beyond this period.

What are the Reasons for MTP?

Having an MTP is a highly personal decision based on a woman’s circumstances. Women may choose to have the procedure for the following reasons:

  • Unwanted or unexpected pregnancy caused by unprotected intercourse, contraceptive failure, or sexual assault.
  • Medical complications posing a risk to the mother’s life. Some medical conditions include pre-eclampsia, ectopic pregnancy, heart disease, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, etc.
  • Pregnancy-related maternal conditions, such as severe hypertension or gestational diabetes.
  • Presence of fetal abnormalities or genetic disorders
  • Mother’s age
  • Emotional and psychological reasons, including mental health concerns.
  • Personal or social issues, including financial restraints, lack of support, etc.

These factors can influence women to consider MTP as a viable option. However, it is essential to remember that each case is unique, and women should consult a healthcare professional who can provide appropriate support and advice to help them make informed decisions about their pregnancy.

What Happens During a Medical Pregnancy Termination?

Medical termination of pregnancy is a non-invasive procedure that can be carried out orally or vaginally without anesthesia or surgery. This procedure involves administering two medicines in combination to induce termination. The first medicine, mifepristone, acts by blocking the hormone progesterone, causing uterine lining thinning and preventing the pregnancy from progressing further. After 36 to 72 hours, the second medicine, misoprostol, is taken. Some doctors may also give antibiotics along with medications to prevent potential complications.

Misoprostol triggers uterine contractions and expels the embryo within a few hours, leading to intense vaginal bleeding over one or two weeks. A week later, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled to confirm the successful pregnancy termination and to rule out any complications.

What Do You Do to Prepare for a Medical Termination of Pregnancy?

Before undergoing pregnancy termination, you will need to visit your healthcare provider for an evaluation and examination, which typically includes:

  • A physical test to confirm the pregnancy
  • A pregnancy scan to view the pregnancy in the uterus, estimate your gestational age, and check if the pregnancy is not ectopic or molar.
  • Blood and urine tests to check specific medical concerns and the stage of your pregnancy
  • Tests for anemia and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

You should expect to experience severe bleeding and cramping after the procedure. It is best to plan on staying at home for a few days. Purchase a pack or two of pads to control the bleeding, ibuprofen for pain relief, and a heating pad to relieve cramping.

What Does the Recovery and Aftercare of Pregnancy Termination Involve?

The recovery duration following medical termination varies from person to person and depends on the stage of pregnancy. In some cases, returning to regular daily routines may require more than a month. During the recovery, women should expect the following:

  • Intense vaginal bleeding for one or two weeks following the procedure.
  • Severe abdominal or back pain, cramps, a low fever or chills, and foul-smelling vaginal discharge are possible. Some women may even experience nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea.
  • Sudden and noticeable mood shifts during the recovery period.
  • Women may need to abstain from using tampons and engaging in sexual activity to avoid infection for a certain period.
  • Following termination, they should rest, eat a nutritious diet, and avoid intense workouts to allow the body to recover.

It is essential to schedule a follow-up visit with your healthcare provider to ensure proper recovery and address any concerns.

Who Should Not Get MTP?

Women should not undergo the MTP procedure if:

  • The pregnancy progresses for more than nine weeks.
  • Have an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Have blood clotting disorder or anemia
  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Have medical conditions like a chronic adrenal failure, seizure disorder, heart and blood vessel diseases, etc.
  • Have an allergy to medications involved

What are the Benefits of MTP?

The benefits of MTP are:

  • The procedure is safe and effective for early pregnancies
  • It doesn’t require any medical intervention, surgery, or anesthesia
  • The process has lower risks of complications
  • It can be performed in secrecy, providing women with a sense of privacy
  • Once the bleeding and cramping occur, women can be in the comfort of their own homes.

What are the Side Effects of MTP?

The side effects of the MTP procedure are:

  • Excessive and painful bleeding that will not stop
  • Fever, diarrhea, and stomach ache
  • Incomplete termination
  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases
  • Medication-related allergic reactions
  • In some cases, the cervix may also be torn or cut.


Medical termination of pregnancy is a safe and non-invasive procedure. Although the decision to undergo MTP is highly personal, you should consult your healthcare provider before and after the procedure to ensure a fast and smooth recovery.

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