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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!

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.

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 bleeding and cramping that forces the embryo out.2

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

The abortion pill doesn’t always cause an abortion.

A small percentage of women are still pregnant after completing the abortion pill regimen5. 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.

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

Serious physical risks include total body infection (known as sepsis), undiagnosed tubal (ectopic) pregnancy, and failure to abort, (which typically means a surgical abortion will be done.)6 After surgical abortion, some