To have a medical abortion (“abortion pill”), the pregnancy must be less than 10 weeks from the first day of your last period. We will confirm this with you at your first appointment. It’s good to know ahead of time what to expect from a medical abortion and make an informed choice about whether it’s the best option for you.
There are some important things to know about having an abortion with Mifegymiso (a medical abortion). You can find a comparison between the two different kinds of abortion here.
This page explains detailed information about the process and the advantages vs disadvantages of medical abortion.
With valid BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage, the cost of the procedure and the medical abortion medication is covered There is an additional cost of about $50 for the pain medicines and the second dose of misoprostol but this cost may be covered at least partly by an extended health plan or by Fair Pharmacare. If you have First Nations status the cost is covered. Bring your card with you if you are coming to the clinic or have it handy if you are having a virtual appointment (i.e. Blue Cross, Green Shield, Manulife, Fair Pharmacare, First Nations status card or number).
Without valid BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) the procedure and medication appointment will be about $785 altogether, which includes the medications and the one week follow-up appointment. If you have medical insurance from another province other than Quebec, the cost will be about $410 for the medications unless you have insurance as listed above. Please note: without MSP an aspiration abortion is $500. With either a medication or aspiration abortion, if additional testing or appointments are needed there would be additional charges. We accept credit (Visa, Mastercard), debit, or cash payments.
The first medication, mifepristone, disrupts the pregnancy. If you have a lot of nausea from the pregnancy you can take Gravol before you swallow the pill.
If you are vomiting a lot because of the pregnancy you might be better to have an aspiration abortion procedure because with a medical abortion you need to keep the mifepristone pill down for at least 30 minutes.
The second medication, misoprostol, makes the pregnancy come out. It must be used between 24 hours and no later than 48 hours after the first one. This is when the heaviest bleeding and cramping is likely to happen. You will be prescribed medications to help manage pain.
3. Side effects
There can also be other side effects such as chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or headache. You will need to be somewhere comfortable during this time and it is best to have someone close by in case you need help. It’s great if you can have everything ready that you need to be as comfortable as possible – such as a heating pad, medications, food – before you use the Misoprostol. You may also need to rest for one or two days after using the Misoprostol.
Menstrual-like cramping pain is normal after a medication abortion. Use Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) if needed. Do not use aspirin (A.S.A., Entrophen) as it may increase bleeding. Heat from a hot water bottle or heating pad can also be very helpful for cramps.
Mood swings or emotional upset often accompanies the drop in pregnancy hormones and may last for a few days or even weeks. Morning sickness should disappear within two days after taking the first medication and breast changes usually settle by the end of the first week but both may persist if you are on hormonal birth control.
The amount of bleeding varies. It is likely to be heavier than a period at first, and stay at least as heavy as a period for a few days. Ten days is the average time of bleeding, although some people bleed on and off or continuously until their next period comes in 4-6 weeks. It is also possible that you may only have a few hours of heavy bleeding or lighter bleeding.
5. Your next period
Your normal period should begin three to six weeks after the abortion, unless you are on birth control pills, Depo Provera (the shot) or have a Mirena inserted.
Do not drive, operate hazardous equipment if you use Gravol, Tylenol 3 or Oxycodone. You should also avoid alcohol if you take these medications.
Free post-abortion counselling is available by phone from the clinic for those who feel it would be helpful. If you experience prolonged sadness or emotional turmoil you may benefit from this counselling. There is no charge for this. To make an appointment for this service please call 604-322-6692 during normal clinic hours.
1. First appointment
Your first appointment will take about 1 to 1.5 hours and you will speak with the counsellor first, and then see the nurse and doctor for tests and an ultrasound.
About 95-97 percent of the time the pregnancy will be gone and the abortion complete one week after starting the medications. If you are in the 3-5 percent where the abortion is not complete, you may need more medications or an aspiration abortion. There is no cost for an aspiration whether or not you have BC medical coverage.
2. Follow-up appointments
You must also have a short telephone follow-up appointment 1-2 weeks afterwards so we can check to make sure the abortion is complete. This appointment is very important for your safety. The doctor will check with you to make sure the abortion is complete. There will be another short follow-up phone appointment with the doctor 4 weeks after using the medications.
Fertility / birth control
Fertility returns very quickly after a medical abortion. If you do not wish to become pregnant soon after, it is recommended to start on birth control the day after taking the misoprostol pills (the second medication). Research shows that those who do not start a birth control method at the time of an abortion have about a 50% chance of having another pregnancy within two years.
We will speak with you about birth control options during your appointment. If you want an IUD we can insert one for you after a medical abortion is complete or at the end of an aspiration abortion.If you want an IUD we can arrange the insertion appointment at our clinic. If you are eligible and want to get an IUD for free through the Safe Methods program, it needs to be put in within two weeks of your final follow-up appointment.
If you do not have MSP coverage the cost of an IUD insertion is $160, plus the cost of the IUD itself.
Find out more about birth control in Birth control options.