No matter how careful you’re being, an unplanned pregnancy can still happen. You may have heard of the abortion pill but are wondering what it actually is and how it works. If you’re considering taking the pill, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and side effects before finalizing your decision.
What is the Abortion Pill?
The name sounds like a one-and-done process, but the abortion “pill” is actually made up of two drugs.
The first pill, Mifepristone, is typically prescribed and taken at the abortion clinic or doctor’s office. It causes fetal demise by blocking your womb from absorbing progesterone, the hormone needed for a pregnancy to grow.
The second pill, Misoprostol, is sent home with you and taken at home between 24-48 hours later. It causes your uterus to contract and then expel the pregnancy.
Does the Abortion Pill Cause Side Effects?
Yes. Some may be mild, while others can be extreme. It’s important to monitor any side effects you feel to note how long they last. If you experience abdominal pain or “feeling sick” for more than 24 hours after the abortion is complete, you’ll need to contact your doctor for follow-up care.
Here are the most common side effects from the pill:
Misoprostol can also cause vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. A fever of 100.4 or more can be a symptom of a serious infection or other complication, so contact your doctor.
What Are the Risks of the Abortion Pill?
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential risks of the abortion pill:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by a surgical abortion
- An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the abortion pill doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
Before Taking the Pill
Before deciding to take the abortion pill, you first need to know how far along you are, where your pregnancy is located, and if your pregnancy is viable.
Women are only eligible for this type of abortion through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Taking it after that time can pose health challenges and/or be ineffective at ending the pregnancy.
If your pregnancy is located outside your uterus, it is ectopic and non-viable. It also poses a threat to your health and a different medical procedure will be necessary for treatment. Contact a doctor immediately if your pregnancy is ectopic.
Finally, 20% of pregnancies naturally end in miscarriage. This means even if your pregnancy test was positive, there’s a chance the pregnancy has already ended. If this is the case, different care will be needed.
Having an ultrasound is extremely important to provide all of the above information so you can make an educated decision about the pill.
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