The Abortion Pill
Maybe you’ve heard about the abortion pill, and you’re wondering if it’s the right choice for you. It seems simple enough, right? Take a pill, and your problems are solved. Or are they? This is a big, medical decision, and it’s important to know what is involved and how it can affect you before you decide if this is the best choice for you.
What is the abortion pill?
The abortion pill is actually 2 pills, and they’re used to perform a medical abortion. The abortion pill should not be used if it has been more than 9 weeks since your last period because it can have serious side effects if it is used too far along into a pregnancy. For that reason, it’s important to be examined in person by a healthcare professional to figure out exactly how far along you are.
Why do I need an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is also important to check that your pregnancy is not outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy) and is not a tumor that developed in the uterus (molar pregnancy). The abortion pill can cause problems if you have either of these conditions, and they must be treated surgically or with a different medication (methotrexate).
How does the abortion pill work?
The abortion pill is actually 2 different pills – Mifepristone and Misoprostol.
- You’ll usually take the Mifepristone at the doctor’s office and then take the Misoprostol 24-48 hours later.
- Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, the pregnancy cannot continue to grow in the uterus.
- Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding in order to empty the uterus.
What happens after I've taken the abortion pill?
Shortly after taking the second pill, you can expect the following to occur:
- Bleeding and cramping usually begin 1-4 hours after taking the second pill.
- You’ll likely bleed very heavily – with clots – for several hours.
- You’ll experience heavy cramping for several hours.
- You may experience a low fever or chills, and this can last about a day after taking the second pill.
- Some women also report feeling tired, nauseous, dizzy, and having diarrhea.
Who should NOT use the abortion pill?
- According to the Cleveland Clinic, a well-known medical institution, medical abortion is not a safe option for those who:
- Are too far along in the pregnancy (more than 9 weeks since your last period)
- Have a pregnancy outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy)
- Have a blood clotting disorder or significant anemia
- Have chronic adrenal failure
- Use long-term corticosteroids
- Have an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Have an allergy to the medications used
- Do not have access to emergency care
- Can’t return for a follow-up visit
As with any medical procedure, it’s important to discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider before a medical abortion procedure.
Does the abortion pill have risks?
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- Ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
How can we help?
At PLL, we can confirm your pregnancy (at no cost to you) with a medical grade pregnancy test and perform an ultrasound to see where your pregnancy is located and how far along you are. We can discuss your options and help you feel more knowledgeable and comfortable with your situation. We want you to make an informed decision about your body and your pregnancy and know all the resources that are available to you.
Our woman-centered approach to unplanned pregnancy helps clear the clutter, giving peace of mind and confidence when it’s needed most. Click here to set up an appointment at your convenience. We’re here to help you choose the best next steps for your life. Please note that our office doesn’t provide or perform abortions but can provide the abortion information you need.