New Zealand College of Sexual & Reproductive Health

Abortion Training

Module 2: Early Medical Abortion

1. Learning objectives and module overview

What is an Early Medical Abortion (EMA)?

An EMA is the evacuation of the uterus using the medicines mifepristone (an anti-progesterone) and misoprostol (a prostaglandin) in early pregnancy. EMA usually occurs in the community, most often in the pregnant person’s home

An EMA can be carried out from 28 days to 70 days after the last menstrual period (LMP).

Some possible reasons for choosing a medical instead of a surgical abortion

  • It usually requires no surgery
  • It requires no sedation or anaesthesia
  • It has the potential for greater privacy
  • Some people feel it gives them greater control over their bodies
  • It may feel more “natural” for some people

Module overview and learning objectives

In this module you will learn about supporting patients through the EMA process. The first section describes the medicines used, and is followed by details of the process, including the pre-abortion assessment (also covered in Module 1 but present here with a focus on EMA), doses used and pain management recommendations.

The next sections describe aftercare and management of complications, and the final section summarises information to be communicated to the patient to ensure that they are fully informed about what to expect during the EMA and afterwards.

A review of key learning points and further reading options and resources are included with this module, along with a short quiz to revise your knowledge and understanding of providing EMA in New Zealand.

Learning objectives

  1. Support patients through the EMA process
  2. Describe the range of what to expect during EMA with the patient
  3. Assess for completion of EMA
  4. Assess and manage common complications of EMA

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