Induction Abortion

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Treatment Overview

Induction abortion is ending a pregnancy by using medicines to start (induce) labor and delivery in the second or third trimester. This is done in the hospital. The doctor may also use a medicine to stop the pregnancy before induction.

The induction medicines may be put in the vagina, given by mouth, or given through a vein (I.V.). Different medicines may be combined to make sure that the induction works and to reduce bleeding. You will be offered medicines for pain.

What To Expect

As your body returns to its nonpregnant condition, there are some things you can expect during the days and weeks after the procedure.

  • You may have irregular bleeding or spotting for the first 2 weeks. Use sanitary pads until you stop bleeding. Using pads makes it easier to monitor your bleeding.
  • You may have cramps similar to menstrual cramps. They may last for several hours and maybe for a few days as the uterus shrinks back to its nonpregnant size.

Here are some things to do as you recover:

  • Rest as much as you can. You can return to your normal activities based on how you feel.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil). They may help relieve cramping pain. Do not take aspirin unless your doctor prescribed it. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have vaginal sex. You can get pregnant in the weeks after an abortion. If you don't want to get pregnant, talk to your doctor about birth control options.

Why It Is Done

Induction is one option for abortion in the second or third trimester. It may be done because of a severe medical problem. It may also be done if you can't get an abortion earlier in pregnancy.

How Well It Works

Induction abortion is an effective way to end a pregnancy in the second or third trimester.


Induction abortion is safe and usually doesn't cause any problems. Possible problems include:

  • Failure to end the pregnancy.
  • Tissue remaining in the uterus.
  • Injury to the cervix.
  • Rupture of the uterus if a uterine scar is present from a previous surgery.
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding.
  • Infection.


Current as of: November 27, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.