The abortion “pill” is generally more than just one pill. It is a two-step regimen intended to end an early pregnancy (10 weeks or less).
Sometimes referred to as a chemical abortion, medication abortion, or DIY abortion, this process is 93-98% effective at ending a pregnancy (“2-7% of women will need a surgical procedure to end the pregnancy or stop heavy bleeding”).
How does the abortion pill work?
According to the FDA, step one of the regimen is to take 200 mg of the drug mifepristone, commonly referred to as RU486, or by its brand name, Mifeprex. Mifepristone blocks the body’s naturally producing progesterone which is needed to sustain a pregnancy.
Step two utilizes the drug misoprostol, also known as Cytotec. 24-48 hours after taking Mifeprex, 800 mcg of misoprostol should be taken buccally (in the cheek pouch) or vaginally at a location where the patient feels most comfortable. Misoprostol softens the cervix and causes uterine contractions (cramping), which will expel the pregnancy from the body.
You should follow up with your provider 7 to 14 days after completing the abortion pill regimen to ensure the abortion was completed successfully and no infection exists.
Should I have an ultrasound prior to taking the abortion pill?
Ultrasound is the most reliable way to determine how far along you are in your pregnancy. Additionally, an ultrasound is the only way to confirm you do not have an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus. The abortion pill is not a reliable way to end an ectopic pregnancy. While it may successfully terminate the pregnancy, it cannot remove the embryo, therefore increasing your risk of serious infection.
Care Net of Puget Sound is a network of clinics offering both free pregnancy testing and viability ultrasounds. All ultrasounds are performed by medical professionals. If there is any reason for concern, we will refer you to the local hospital for further evaluation.
What will happen to my body after taking the abortion pill?
During a chemical abortion, particularly after taking misoprostol, you will likely pass large blood clots – up to the size of a lemon – as well as the embryo. It is important to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for this process, particularly if your pregnancy is eight weeks along or later.
There is no right or wrong way to feel so it is important to have your trusted support system in place to help you process your emotions. If you need someone to talk to after your abortion, we offer confidential post-abortive support.
What side effects are possible with the abortion pill?
Side effects include:
- Cramping and vaginal bleeding
What should I do if my side effects persist?
Go to the nearest emergency room if:
- You are bleeding through two regular-sized sanitary pads per hour for more than two hours
- You are passing blood clots larger than a lemon
- You have a fever of 100.4˚ F or higher for longer than four hours
- You have persistent nausea, stomach pain, or weakness
In order for emergency room personnel to properly diagnose and treat you, it is important that you be upfront and honest about taking the abortion pill.
According to an article published by the Charlotte Lozier Institute and backed by the research of Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology, abortions miscoded as miscarriages in the ER were more likely (by as much as 78%) to result in hospitalization. Furthermore, they were twice as likely to be admitted for surgery for retained products of conception (RPOC).
Where can I get more information?
You are not alone. At Care Net of Puget Sound, we’re here for you. We provide real answers to your questions regarding abortion, adoption, parenting and more so you can leave feeling confident to make the best decision for YOU. All our services are completely free with no insurance required. We do not provide or refer for abortions. Instead, we offer medically accurate information on all your pregnancy options so you can feel empowered in your decision.
Our services include pregnancy testing, viability ultrasounds, limited STD testing, and parenting support. We are a healthcare facility with an extensive referral network available to help you. All at no charge.
Learn more about the abortion pill and schedule an appointment today.