Are you considering the abortion pill?
You have probably heard reference to a self-managed abortion, DIY abortion, at-home abortion, or medical/chemical abortion. These terms all reference the abortion pill which is the abortion process that combines 2 different prescribed drugs taken at 2 different times.
There is a lot of information about the abortion pill, how it works, how to get it, and how much it cost. You can find multiple websites providing you information about the pros and cons of taking the abortion pill. Some common questions you may have been listed below.1 Please note, this information is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be used to diagnose or make an abortion decision. We recommend seeking in-person medical diagnosis before making any medical decision about your body or health.
Just remember, it may sound simple enough, but you cannot be too careful about your health. The abortion pill is a combination of prescription drugs that should be taken under the supervision of a certified medical provider, as prescribed, and only after proper medical verification of pregnancy.
Why do I first need proper medical verification of pregnancy before taking the abortion pill or starting a self-managed abortion?
- To evaluate your overall medical history
- To confirm you are pregnant
- To confirm the pregnancy is or is not viable (ectopic)
- To confirm the gestation age (number of weeks you are pregnant)
Why do I need to know gestation age?
The abortion pill is prescribed according to the FDA guidelines for up to 10 weeks of your pregnancy.2 At home pregnancy test are mostly accurate and a great first step, but not something you should use to make decisions about your health. At home pregnancy tests cannot tell you how far along you are into your pregnancy or if you have an ectopic pregnancy. Since the abortion pill is not prescribed if you have an ectopic pregnancy or outside the recommended FDA guidelines, you would want to know this information first.3 While telehealth options have come a long way, the truest and best answers, like the exact number of weeks you are into your pregnancy, confirmation you have a viable pregnancy and not an ectopic, can only be found when you are seen in-person by a medical professional.
Is the abortion pill, the same thing as the ‘Morning After Pill’ (or Plan B)?
No, the abortion pill is very different. The abortion pill is considered a self-managed, at-home abortion and is intended to end an already confirmed pregnancy. To learn more about the “Morning After Pill”, click here.
How does the abortion pill work?
The abortion pill combines 2 different prescribed drugs taken at 2 different times. The first drug is Mifepristone and is generally taken in person under the direct supervision of the prescribing medical provider. The second drug is Misoprostol and is taken at home to be self-managed with a scheduled follow-up appointment with the abortion provider.
- What is Oral Mifepristone (the first drug) and how does it work?
- Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone which is needed for a pregnancy to survive and grow.
- The uterine lining will thin and prevent a pregnancy from staying connected to the uterine wall.
Per the FDA, Mifepristone is most often taken in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified provider after conducting a proper medical screening to include your personal medical history; 4
- What is Oral Misoprostol (the second drug) and how does it work?
- Oral Misoprostol is taken at home 6 – 48 hours after the first drug Mifepristone.
- Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy.
- This drug may cause bleeding, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and other symptoms that usually begin within 2 to 24 hours after taking it. The amount and severity of symptoms are different from woman to woman. It is important that you know the signs of when something is wrong so you can seek immediate medical attention. 5
- Most women will pass the pregnancy at home within 2 to 24 hours after taking the misoprostol tablets (second drug).
What should I expect when at home and self-managing after taking the abortion pill?
The abortion pill may make you nauseated, cause cramping, bleeding, induce vomiting, fever, chills, diarrhea and/or a headache. It is important to properly prepare yourself and discuss your personal medical history with a medical professional in advance of taking these or any prescribed drugs.
According to the Mayo Clinic,6 if you have heavy bleeding which is defined as soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours, severe abdominal or back pain, a fever lasting more than 24 hours, these are not normal reactions and you should seek medical care immediately.
Do I need to take both prescribed drugs for it to work?
Yes. The process is a 2-drug prescription regimen. As part of the dosing schedule, the FDA lists a follow-up with your abortion provider 7-14 days after taking the abortion pill to ensure the pregnancy has been expelled properly and there are not any on-going complications.7
What if I change my mind after taking the first drug, Mifepristone?
If you have taken the first drug and are regretting your decision, time is of the essence. With proper timing and treatment, there is a chance you could reverse the effects of taking the first drug (Mifepristone) and successfully carry your pregnancy to term. Abortion Pill Reversal is not effective after the second drug (misoprostol) is taken.
To learn more about abortion pill reversal click here.
Can you order the abortion pill online?
Yes you can, but your health and safety matter. There are sites that have not been approved by the FDA to dispense the abortion pill. The FDA has a warning that you should not buy the abortion pill online or you are bypassing important safeguards designed to protect you.8
All significant oral prescription drugs should be taken after medical consultation and under the direct supervision of the prescribing medical provider.
Having an abortion is a major life decision.
If you are considering taking the abortion pill, remember this is a combination of two different prescription drugs and should be done with direct medical supervision like any other prescribed drug you would take. This is not like an over-the-counter cold remedy. Your health and safety are too valuable for self or peer evaluation. To make an informed decision, you should start with in-person medical verification of pregnancy with a medical professional.
We can provide a FREE pre-abortion screening with our licensed medical professionals which would provide you with a full medical verification of pregnancy to include lab quality pregnancy testing, limited obstetrical ultrasound and consultation to answer your questions. Make an appointment today.
Sourcing: The information on this page has been taken from, KFF, Mayo Clinic, Abortion Pill Reversal and FDC US Drug & Food.