WHY DO PEOPLE CHOOSE MEDICATION ABORTION?
Not everyone is eligible for medication abortion care. You must be within the first 11 weeks since your last menstrual period (LMP) to qualify. Which kind of abortion you choose depends on what makes you most comfortable. Medication abortions are non-invasive and can take place outside of a medical setting or clinic. You can decide if you want to be alone or with someone during your medication abortion.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
It’s actually 2 sets of pills taken as directed by a trained provider. The first pill, mifepristone (Mifeprex TM), blocks your body’s production of progesterone, which is the hormone needed for a pregnancy to grow normally. Then, anywhere from 0 to 72 hours later, you will take misoprostol (Cytotec TM), which will cause cramping and bleeding to pass the pregnancy. Misoprostol can be used either vaginally or buccally (in your mouth placed between your cheek and gums).
Within 1-4 hours of taking the second medication, misoprostol, you will experience what feels like a heavy and crampy period, sometimes with large blood clots or clumps of tissue. The process is very similar to what people experience with an early miscarriage. The heaviest bleeding usually happens the day you take the misoprostol, but irregular, lighter bleeding can continue for a few weeks after the abortion.
ARE ABORTION PILLS SAFE?
Medication abortion care has been used safely in the U.S. for more than 20 years. The medication is incredibly effective, with a more than 95% success rate. It’s as safe as many over-the-counter medications. Complications are really rare, but can happen. These include:
- Medication abortion doesn’t work and the pregnancy continues
- Some of the pregnancy tissue is left in your uterus
- Blood clots in your uterus
- Bleeding too much or too long
- Allergic reaction to one of the medicines
These problems aren’t common. If they do happen, they’re usually easy to take care of with medication or other treatments. We are on call 24/7 for all our patients to answer questions and support you through this process, if needed.
In extremely rare cases, some complications can be very serious or even life threatening. Call us right away if you:
- Have no bleeding within 24 hours after taking the second medicine (misoprostol)
- Have heavy bleeding from your vagina that soaks through more than 2 maxi pads in an hour, for 2 or more hours in a row
- Pass large clots (bigger than a lemon) for more than 2 hours
- Have belly pain or cramps that don’t get better with pain medication
- Have a fever of 100.4℉ or higher more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol
- Have weakness, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol
You should start to feel better the day after your pregnancy passes. Feeling sick with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, belly pain, or a fever for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol (the second set of pills) can be a sign of infection or a continued pregnancy. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.
If you have complications during your medication abortion care, you may need to visit one of our clinics or another provider we refer you to. In the unlikely event that you are still pregnant, your provider will discuss your options with you. You may need another dose of medication or to have an in-clinic abortion procedure to end the pregnancy.
Like all medications, medication abortion care isn’t right for everyone. If you have certain medical conditions or take certain medications, abortion pills may not be right for you. Your provider will help you decide if abortion pills are the right option for you.
DO ABORTION PILLS HAVE SIDE EFFECTS?
There are lots of myths about the effects of an abortion. Here are some facts:
- Abortion is very common and part of essential medical care.
- Unless there is a rare serious complication that was left untreated, there is no risk to future pregnancies or overall health.
- Abortions don’t increase a risk of breast cancer.
- Abortions do not affect fertility.
- Having an abortion will not cause problems for future pregnancies like birth defects, miscarriage, infant death, ectopic pregnancy, premature birth or low birth weight.
Serious, long-term emotional problems after an abortion are rare. They are about as uncommon as they are after giving birth. In fact, five years after their abortion, 99% of people feel relief and that getting an abortion was the right move. If there are issues, they are more likely to happen to people who have to end a pregnancy because of health reasons or people who have a history of mental health problems. Please contact us for support if you need it.
Our providers can give you accurate information about in-clinic abortion side effects, risks, or any other concerns you might have. We want you to be informed, prepared, and supported.