What is a medical abortion? 

When confronted with an unplanned pregnancy, one of the first options you may consider is a medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill method.

A medical abortion is an FDA-approved procedure through 10 weeks (70 days gestational age). This abortion method uses a two-step drug regimen to stop pregnancy growth and then induce uterine cramping to expel the fetus and pregnancy remnants.

How Do Medical Abortion Drugs Work?

The first drug in the two-step process is called mifepristone. It prevents progesterone from reaching the uterus. Without it, the pregnancy stops developing and ends.

The next step is to take misoprostol 24-48 hours later. This is what causes cramping and bleeding, so you expel the fetus and pregnancy tissues, similar to the process of a miscarriage.

What Are the Risks?

Typical side effects of medical abortion include cramping and vaginal bleeding. Here are a few risks to be aware of:

  • 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
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

What Should I Do Before Starting The Abortion Pill?

A wise preventative measure is to schedule an ultrasound before you have an abortion so you can screen for conditions that an elective abortion cannot treat.

For example, pregnancies located outside the uterus need to be removed and treated to protect the health and life of the woman. Healthcare providers cannot treat this type of pregnancy with an abortion.

Another possibility is that you will miscarry (one in four early pregnancies end in miscarriage). In this case, an abortion is not necessary.

In addition to location and viability, an ultrasound can also inform you of the number of weeks you’ve been pregnant, which affects your eligibility for a medical abortion procedure.

How Can Life Choices Center Help Me?

At Life Choices Center, we offer no-cost, confidential pregnancy services, such as pregnancy testing and referrals for onsite, first-trimester ultrasounds. We do not perform abortions or provide abortion referrals. However, we can offer factual information about all your options, including side effects and potential risks. 

These options consultations provide evidence-based information about your options where you can share any concerns and process your feelings in a safe, supportive environment.

You are not alone! Contact us today, and we will help you build a confident plan for your future.

Life Choices Center does not perform or refer for abortions.