Evaluating complications of self-intake of abortion pills among reproductive age group women

Diptika Dodiya, Maitri Shah, Neethi Nagdev


Background: Abortion is termination of the pregnancy before the period of viability. Induced abortion in most of the cases, is an outcome of unwanted pregnancy. Unsafe abortion is “The termination of unintended pregnancy either by persons lacking the skills or lacking minimum medical standards or both.” and it is strongly associated with Complications. The objective of the study was to evaluate different types of complications (incomplete abortion, failed abortion, septic abortion, ectopic pregnancy) among women with self-intake of abortion pill among women of reproductive age group.

Methods: 70 reproductive age group women with history of self-intake of abortion pills within a period of last one month were included in the study. Socio demographic characteristics, obstetric and menstrual history of these women was recorded. This was followed by diagnosis with help of clinical and transvaginal sonography of these women. All of them were managed according to their diagnosis. Their reply was recorded in pre structured performa.

Results: Majority (70%) presented with incomplete abortion requiring surgical evacuation. Anemia was most common associated co-morbidity in women and 17% women required blood transfusions. Four percentage women presented with life threatening shock. Sepsis was noted in 3% of women.

Conclusions: Incomplete abortion was the major complication after self-intake of abortion pills which had resulted into blood transfusion in 17% of the cases.


Self intake of abortion pills, Reproductive age group women, Complications

Full Text:



Cunningham FG, Leveno KJ, Bloom SL, Haulh JC, Gilstrap LC, Wenstrom KD, editors. Abortion. Williams Textbook of Obstetrics, 24th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2014;215-35.

Moseson H. Self-managed abortion: A systematic scoping review, Best Practice &Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2009;2(2):110-12.

Haddad LB, Nour NM. Unsafe abortion: unnecessary maternal mortality. Reviews in obstetrics & gynecology. 2009;2(2):122-6.

Jani PS. Use of MTP kit (Mifepristone and Misoprostol combination pack) for 1st trimester MTP (up to 63 days) at GMERS Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India. Int J Reprod Contracept Obstet Gynecol. 2018;7:3615-8.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Rajya Sabha passes The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill. 2021.

Giri A, Srivastav B, Sharma B. A Study of Complications following Self-administration with Medical Abortion Pills. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2015;11:12-4.

Hirve SS. Abortion law, policy and services in India: a critical review. Reprod Health Matters. 2004;12:114-21.

Nivedita K, Shanthini F. Is It Safe to Provide Abortion Pills over the Counter? A Study on Outcome Following Self-Medication with Abortion Pills. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9(1):QC01-4.

National Institute for Health and Welfare. Induced abortions 2008 -Preliminary data. 2009.

Bhalla S, Goyal LD, Bhalla S, Kaur B. Self administered medical abortion pills: evaluation of the clinical outcome and complications among women presenting with unsupervised pill intake to a tertiary care hospital in Malwa region of Punjab, India. Int J Reprod Contracept ObstetGynecol. 2018;7:1537-42.

Potdar J. Medical abortion with mifepristone misoprostol in previous caesarean section, up to seven weeks gestation-a retrospective analysis of data. Indian Obstet Gynaecol. 2011;1(4):330-1.

Sarojini, Ashakiran TR, Bhanu BT, Radhika. Over-the-counter MTP Pills and Its Impact on Women's Health. J ObstetGynaecol India. 2017;67(1):37-41.

Thaker RV, Deliwala KJ, Shah PT. Self medication of abortion pill: women’s Health in Jeopardy. NHL J Med Sci. 2014;3(1):26-31.

Kumari R, Sharma A, Najam R, Singh S, Roy P. Mortality and morbidity associated with illegal use of abortion pill; a prospective study in tertiary care center. Int J Res Med Sci. 2016;4:2598-602.

Grossman D, Holt K, Pena M, Lara D, Veatch M. Self- induction of abortion among women in the United States. Reproductive health matters. 2010;18(36):136-46.

Rajal VT, Kruti JD, Parul TS. Self-medication of abortion pill: Women`s health in Jeopardy. NHLJMS. 2014;3:26-31.

Hausknecht R. Mifepristone and Misoprostol for early medical abortion: 18 months experience in United States. Contraception. 2003;67:463-5.

Deshpande S, Yelikar K, Deshmukh A. Comparative study of medical abortion by Mifepristone with vaginal Misoprostol in women <49 days versus 50–63 days of amenorrhoea. J Obstet Gynecol India. 2010;60(5):403-7.

Bajwa SK, Bajwa SS, Ghai GK, Singh N, Singh A, Goraya SPS. Medical abortion: is it a blessing or curse for the developing nations? Sri Lanka Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2011;33:84-90.