When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, there are many decisions a woman needs to make. If you are considering using the abortion pill, you may just want to get it over with and move on. Other women feel a need to gather more information.
Important First Steps In Seeking A Medication Abortion:
- Determine exactly how far along you are
- Establish that the pregnancy is not ectopic
Abortion Pill: What To Expect
First we should explain that it is not the same thing as the “morning after pill.” The morning after pill can be used only in the days right after intercourse. In contrast, the abortion pill can be used many weeks into an established pregnancy.
The medication abortion process uses two different medications to end a pregnancy. These medications are mifepristone, sometimes called “mifeprex,” and misoprostol. Two – or perhaps three – visits to your medical provider, and close observation throughout the process, are required. Before taking the abortion pill, you will need to have laboratory tests and a physical exam, including an ultrasound.
The first medication, mifepristone, is given at the clinic. It’s possible you will be asked to take an antibiotic at this time as well. The mifepristone ends the pregnancy by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without this hormone, the lining of the uterus breaks down. This in turn causes the pregnancy to end.
The second medication, misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours after the first. It brings on uterine contractions which will empty the uterus and expel the pregnancy. Talk with your medical provider about when and where to take this medication, as it will cause cramping and bleeding. During which time, women may see large clots and tissue. The length of time for the cramping and bleeding varies, typically lasting from a few hours to a few days.
Within 1-2 weeks after taking the second medication, you must have a follow up appointment with your medical provider. This is important to make sure that your abortion is complete. If you are still pregnant, you will need to talk with your healthcare provider as you may need another dose of medication or to have an in-clinic surgical abortion to end the pregnancy.
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is important that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Embrace is not an emergency center and does not provide abortions or abortion referrals. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.
Dr. Melissa Hague
The content on this page has been approved by one of our board members: Dr. Melissa Hague, OB/GYN.