What Is the Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill, also called chemical or medication abortion, is a regimen of two different drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol. The abortion pill is currently FDA-approved for use up to 10 weeks gestational age (70 days).

This article describes how the abortion pill works, identifies its potential risks and side effects, and lists steps you should take before seeking any abortion procedure.

How Does it Work?

The two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, each have a particular purpose.

The first drug, mifepristone, blocks the hormone progesterone to end the pregnancy. Without the supply of progesterone, the uterus cannot support the pregnancy.

Misoprostol is then taken to induce uterine contractions to expel the fetal and pregnancy tissue from the woman’s body.

Is Taking the Abortion Pill Painful? 

Some discomfort is expected from a chemical abortion. This includes vaginal bleeding and cramping. The severity of discomfort varies from woman to woman. 

One study of teens and adults who took the abortion pill regimen reported over 50% of subjects “experienced severe pain.” Another study reported 38% experiencing “severe pain.” Preexisting conditions such as anxiety or menstrual pains were factors in each study.

According to the Mayo Clinic, medical abortion drugs may also cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

Are There Risks Associated with the Abortion Pill?

Any medical procedure will always pose some type of risk. Here is a list of potential risks 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
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Additionally, the abortion pill should be avoided if you have any of the following pre-existing conditions which pose an additional risk:

  • An intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Allergies to the medications used in the abortion pill regimen
  • Heart, blood vessel, liver, kidney, or lung diseases
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Use of blood thinners or steroid medications

Next Steps

At Waterleaf Women’s Center, we offer no-cost ultrasounds, which provide crucial information about your pregnancy. 

Ultrasounds are helpful so you know how far along you are and alert you to any possible health complications, such as an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. Both of these conditions would require medical attention other than an elective abortion.

We provide a safe, confidential space for you to ask questions, learn about your options and local resources, and feel equipped to make the best decision for you.

We are here to help you navigate your pregnancy journey. Call/Text Waterleaf confidentially at 630-360-2256 today or contact us securely online. You are not alone!

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