Often confused with the morning-after pill or Plan B, an emergency contraceptive, the abortion pill is a method used to terminate pregnancies up to 10 weeks of gestation.
How Does the Abortion Pill Work?
The abortion pill is actually a series of two pills, rather than just one.
The first pill is called mifepristone, which is an antiprogestin. It blocks your progesterone levels from increasing which essentially stalls or stops the pregnancy.
The second pill, called misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours later. This second pill will force your uterus to contract so that it expels the pregnancy and uterine lining.
This early procedure is called a medication abortion and is not usually prescribed any later than 70 days (10 weeks) gestation. It comprises up to 40% of abortions in the US.
Does the Abortion Pill Have Side Effects?
Typically, the first pill, mifepristone, does not cause much discomfort but the level of pain varies from woman to woman.
Some will report intense cramping while others just report bleeding. You likely would not experience discomfort after the first pill, mifepristone, but it’s not uncommon to feel nauseous or start bleeding.
However, after taking the second pill, misoprostol, whose purpose is to empty the fetus pregnancy tissue, you can expect cramping and heavy bleeding for between 4-5 hours. It’s not abnormal to see large clots of blood.
What Are the Risks of the Abortion Pill?
Any medical procedure will always pose a type of risk. Here is a list of potential side-effects listed by the Mayo Clinic:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
Additionally, medical abortions should be avoided if you have any of the following pre-existing conditions:
- An intrauterine device (IUD)
- Allergies to the medications used in the medical abortion
- Heart, blood vessel, liver, kidney, or lung diseases
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Use of blood thinners or steroid medications
When making the decision to terminate your pregnancy with a medical abortion, it’s important to consider the gestational age of your pregnancy as well as your own physical and mental well-being.
At the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center, we offer free ultrasounds to help you determine how far along you are and can answer your questions about what to expect, no matter what you decide. We do not perform or refer for abortions, but we’re here to help you make a healthy choice with information on all your options.
Schedule a free consultation today to know what options are available to you.