5 Things To Know Before Taking The Abortion Pill

 

Most women have heard about the abortion pill, but not all women totally understand exactly what it is or how it works.  And it’s easy to see why! Did you know the abortion pill has many names and descriptions? They include RU-486, Medication Abortion, Medical Abortion, Chemical Abortion, Mifepristone, and the brand name, Mifeprex®.  With that many names, it makes sense that there could be some confusion. 

 

These 5 things to know before taking the abortion pill will introduce you to the basics of this type of abortion.  As you learn, you can call us for more help. We are here for you!

 

1. The abortion pill is medication that can be used to abort an early pregnancy.

The regimen includes drugs called mifepristone and misoprostol and was approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in women up to 10 weeks after their last menstrual period (LMP).1 Because the abortion pill has specific safety restrictions as to how it is distributed to the public, it so should never be purchased online.  Doing so can be risky.

 

2. It’s actually not just one pill.

The procedure typically takes a few days and starts with a visit to a participating doctor’s office or clinic.  On the first office visit, the first medication (mifepristone) is swallowed, which eventually causes the death of the baby over the next several days.  One to two days later, the second medication (misoprostol tablets) is taken which causes cramping that forces the embryo out.2

 

3. The embryo comes out after the doctor appointment, and bleeding typically lasts one or two weeks.

The misoprostol tablets cause cramping and bleeding that can be heavy.  When the baby is expelled by the cramping, it is possible that the woman may see identifiable parts if she is beyond 8 weeks LMP.  By 10 weeks LMP, the developing baby is over one inch in length with clearly recognizable arms, legs, hands, and feet.3 Vaginal bleeding lasts for an average of 9–16 days after taking the misoprostol tablets.4

 

4. The abortion pill doesn’t always cause an abortion.5

A small percentage of women are still pregnant after completing the abortion pill regimen.  Women should follow-up with the abortion provider one to two weeks after taking the first pill to determine if the procedure is complete and to check for complications.  The abortion provider decides if the follow-up is a phone call, a blood test, an in-office exam, and/or an ultrasound.

 

5. There can be physical complications, but the emotional side-effects are largely unknown.

Physical risks include total body infection, undiagnosed tubal (ectopic) pregnancy, and failure to abort, (which typically means a surgical abortion will be done.)6 After surgical abortion, some women say they initially felt relief and looked forward to their lives returning to normal.  But other women report negative emotions after abortion that linger, unresolved.  Surgical abortion is more likely to be associated with negative psychological outcomes when compared to miscarriage or carrying an unintended pregnancy to term.7 Information is lacking about the long-term mental health effects of medical abortion, particularly, how women feel about giving themselves an abortion, and seeing baby parts expelled.

 

What are your questions about the abortion pill? If you have questions or have started the procedure and do not want to complete it, please give us a call.

 

Call our abortion information hotline to talk to someone. We can answer you questions about the abortion pill, as well as other types of abortion procedures, how much abortions typically cost, and potential side effects of abortion. We are here for you!

 

877-791-5475

The woman I spoke to listened to me. You could tell in her voice she truly cared about what I was going through and didn’t push me to make a decision.

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (2016, March). Mifeprex® medication guide. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Postmarket Drug Safety Information for Patients and Providers. (2016, March 30). Mifeprex® (mifepristone) information. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (2016, March). Mifeprex® medication guide. Retrieved from
    http://www.fda.gov
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Postmarket Drug Safety Information for Patients and Providers. (2016, March 30). Mifeprex® (mifepristone) information. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov
  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (2016, March). Mifeprex® medication guide. Retrieved from
    http://www.fda.gov
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Postmarket Drug Safety Information for Patients and Providers. (2016, March 30). Mifeprex® (mifepristone) information. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov
    O’Rahilly R, Gardner E. 1975. The timing and sequence of events in the development of the limbs in the human embryo. Anat Embryol. 148(1):1-23.
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016, March 30). Full prescribing information Mifeprex® (mifepristone); Warnings & precautions: Uterine bleeding. Retrieved from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov
  5. Spitz, I., Bardin, W., Benton, L., Robbins, A. (1998). Early pregnancy termination with mifepristone and misoprostol in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine, 338(18), 1241–47.
    Stubblefield, P., Carr-Ellis, S., Borgatta, L. (2004). Methods for induced abortion. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 104(1), 174-185. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000130842.21897.53.
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016, March 30). Full prescribing information Mifeprex® (mifepristone); Clinical studies. Retrieved from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/
  6. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016, March 30). Full prescribing information Mifeprex® (mifepristone); Warnings & precautions: Infections and sepsis. Retrieved from http://www.accessdata.fda. gov/
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (2016, March). Mifeprex® medication guide. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016, March 30). Full prescribing information Mifeprex® (mifepristone); Warnings & precautions: Ectopic pregnancy. Retrieved from http://www.accessdata.fda. gov/
    Spitz, I., Bardin, W., Benton, L., Robbins, A. (1998). Early pregnancy termination with mifepristone and misoprostol in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine, 338(18), 1241–47.
    Stubblefield, P., Carr-Ellis, S., Borgatta, L. (2004). Methods for induced abortion. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 104(1), 174-185. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000130842.21897.53.
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016, March 30). Full prescribing information Mifeprex® (mifepristone); Clinical studies. Retrieved from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/
  7. Coleman, P.K. (2011). Abortion and mental health: Quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 199, 180–86. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077230.
    Thorp, J.M., Hartmann, K.E., Shadigian, E. Long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: Review of the evidence. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003;58(1):67–79.
    Coleman, P.K. Resolution of unwanted pregnancy during adolescence through abortion versus childbirth: Individual and family predictors and psychological consequences. J Youth Adolesc. 2006;35:903–11.
    Reardon, D.C., Coleman, P.K., Cougle, J. Substance use associated with prior history of abortion and unintended birth: A national cross sectional cohort study. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2004;26:369–83.
    Broen, A.N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A.S., Ekeberg, O. Psychological impact on women of miscarriage versus
    induced abortion: A two-year follow-up study. Psychosom Med. 2004;66(2):265–71.
    Broen, A.N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A.S., Ekeberg, O. The course of mental health after miscarriage and
    induced abortion: A longitudinal, five-year follow-up study. BMC Med. 2005;3:18.

 

NOTE: We offer accurate information about all your pregnancy options; however, we do not offer or refer for abortion services or emergency contraception. The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.