Also known as medical abortion, the abortion pill is a method of terminating an early pregnancy through the use of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol.
How Does the Abortion Pill Work?
The abortion pill is actually a series of two drugs.
The first drug, mifepristone, ends a pregnancy by blocking the pregnancy hormone progesterone. Without this hormone, the pregnancy can’t continue or develop.
The second drug, misoprostol, causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo or fetus and the accompanying pregnancy tissue. This happens through cramping and bleeding.
This process can take a few days, depending on the prescription. Misoprostol is usually taken up to 48 hours after mifepristone and begins what may be compared to a heavy period.
What to Know About the Abortion Pill
Here are five things to know before starting the abortion pill.
It Comes with Medical Risks.
If considering this option, you will want to know all the risks. These can include incomplete abortion, infection, fever, digestive system discomfort, and an ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work.
Certain Health Conditions Impact Safety.
Since the abortion pill triggers bleeding, the abortion pill isn’t a safe option for women with bleeding disorders or certain heart or blood vessel diseases.
There are also other health conditions that make this unsafe, such as uncontrolled seizure disorders or currently having an IUD.
It’s Only FDA-Approved for Up to 10 Weeks of Pregnancy.
The FDA has only approved the abortion pill through ten weeks of gestation. After this window of time, another procedure may be necessary.
Access to Follow-Up Visits and Emergency Care Is Necessary.
Having a physician’s supervision is crucial, especially in cases of incomplete abortion, severe bleeding, or infection. Women who suspect complications must be able to seek care quickly.
The Drugs Have Special Safety Restrictions on Distribution.
The FDA regulates abortion pill drugs and how they are distributed to protect women.
Obtaining drugs through online overseas pharmacies or other unregulated ways can be dangerous as you don’t know the contents of the drugs or if they’re in the proper dosages. This can bypass FDA safeguards.
Take Precautions to Protect Your Health
If considering the abortion pill, you will want to receive an ultrasound and STD testing first. The ultrasound can tell you how far along you are if the pregnancy is viable, and if it is located inside your uterus.
STD testing and treatment can prevent existing bacteria from spreading further into your reproductive system, which can cause pelvic inflammatory disease.
At North Care Women’s Clinic, we can provide many of the screening steps recommended to protect your health. We will also provide a safe space for you to process your emotions and receive information and resources.
Schedule a free and confidential appointment at our clinic and we can provide the services you need without any insurance requirements.
“Medical Abortion.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 July 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/medical-abortion/about/pac-20394687.
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Mifeprex (Mifepristone) Information.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information.
Medical Abortion: What Is It, Types, Risks & Recovery.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/21899-medical-abortion.
“Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 30 Apr. 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352594.