Misoprostol taken without doctors? NO!

This post is inspired by a search term somebody used to find my blog. I hope they found what they were looking for; but just in case, let me be crystal clear in this post:

Misoprostol can be a very dangerous drug to a pregnant woman and her baby.

Used early in pregnancy, it can induce a miscarriage or abortion; the further along in pregnancy a woman takes it, the greater the risk of negative sequelae, like uterine rupture, retained placenta, and postpartum hemorrhage. All of these things, if left untreated, can kill a woman. Even if they are treated, the woman can be left with long-term consequences. For instance, a uterine rupture may necessitate a hysterectomy; a retained placenta can cause heavy blood loss and/or infection; postpartum hemorrhage is by definition a heavy blood loss. Have you ever given a pint of blood as a blood donor? One time I did, I was dragging around all day, from the loss of one little pint of blood. Imagine losing a quart! (Or possibly more.)

The use of Cytotec (misoprostol, “miso”, the “little white pill”) may be beneficial in some select circumstances — in fact, may be preferable to a D&C for miscarriage, for instance. But in my opinion, it should never be used without medical attendance — the potential side effects, though rare, can be deadly. I know some home-birthing midwives will use Cytotec and don’t see a problem with it. I think that’s dangerous. If the uterus becomes hyper-stimulated at home, and the baby can’t handle the oxygen deprivation, or if the uterus splits in two due to the hard contractions, what can be done at home? Can they make it to the hospital in time? Will the hospital be prepared to react the second the woman enters, or will it be another 30 minutes until the O.R. can be prepped?

I rather suspect, however, that the person who was searching for that information was actually wondering about it for use in an abortion. If this applies to you, I will say this to you: Don’t do it! It doesn’t work all the time anyway, can damage the baby if it doesn’t work, and damage you even if it does successfully kill the baby. Go to RealChoice for some stories about women who have died following abortions even under medical care — women whose symptoms of infection, retained products of conception, postpartum (or rather, post-abortion) hemorrhage went undetected or ignored by doctors. If you are wanting to induce an abortion so that your family or friends don’t find out that you are pregnant, and you end up with one of these dangerous and potentially deadly events, they won’t know you’re even sick, or what to do. If you do have a problem, and they take you to the hospital unconscious from lack of blood, they may not know what the problem is, or be able to take the proper steps in time to save your uterus, or even your life.

I think that taking misoprostol is playing with fire anyway, but to do so without any medical supervision is just plain dumb!

I hope I wasn’t unclear.

4 Responses

  1. I totally agree. Midwives should not use this drug to induce labor at home. I have a friend whose midwife did that during her home birth, and at the time she didn’t know anything about Cytotec. She had a PPH after the birth that, thankfully, resolved at home, but it took the midwives a while to get it under control.

    I know some home birth midwives carry it for treating PPH, although it’s usually a choice of last resort after Pit and Methergine. I am more okay with that. You don’t have the same risks once the baby is out.

  2. I have (vaginally) self-administered Cytotec. My results were fine, and I think somebody is making a fortune selling abortion pill that costs pennies for $500 to $650.

    I agree about the financial part — it is highway robbery to charge that much, even factoring in overhead and malpractice insurance fees that abortion clinics would probably have. But that doesn’t change the reality that some women will have serious problems with this drug.

    I’ve also ridden in cars without a seatbelt without incident, but I wouldn’t recommend it. My father died from not wearing his seatbelt, although millions of people in this country ride in cars every day without doing so, and without a problem. But you never can tell when you’re going to be the unlucky statistic, until it’s too late.
    -Kathy

  3. I have just found a page with several links discussing chemical abortions, with Planned Parenthood, for example, using a protocol of RU-486 in the clinic, with the woman to self-administer the misoprostol at home. There have been several women who have died from this, though not strictly from the miso. Some of the deaths were apparently caused by an infection when the entire fetus was not expelled; although I wonder if pushing a pill into your vagina (and possibly up into the cervix) may have contributed — after all, these are not sterile pills, and putting things into your uterus can lead to an infection. Food for thought.

  4. I was prescribed misprostol to remove retained products 13 days after the birth of my daughter. I had never heard of this drug before & did ask a lot of questions regarding it side effects both for me & for my baby (as I was breastfeeding). Everyone reassured me that this drug was safe for both of us & was approriate to be used for this purpose.
    After taking 2 tablets I beacme extremely ill & had to be taken to hospital. My baby then became sick that night & was also admitted to hospital.

    Women should be aware that this drug is extremely dangerous to both mother & baby & should not be used by breastfeeding mothers. I ended up having a D&C anyway to remove the retained placenta & can only be glad that I had not taken the full 6 tablets as prescibed.

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