When facing an unplanned pregnancy, one option you may consider is the abortion pill.
This early procedure is also called a medication abortion and is FDA-approved up to 70 days (10 weeks) gestation.
Researching all associated potential risks is essential, so read below to learn more about its side effects and other pregnancy options you can consider.
How Does it Work?
The abortion pill is not a single pill but a series of two pills, mifepristone, and misoprostol.
After confirming your pregnancy, the first step is taking a pill called mifepristone, an antiprogestin. This means it blocks your progesterone levels from increasing, which stalls or stops the pregnancy.
Within the next two days, you’ll take the second pill, misoprostol.
Now that the pregnancy has been stopped, the second pill will force your uterus to contract so that it will expel the fetus and uterine lining.
Are There Side Effects?
The pain level for the first pill, mifepristone, varies from woman to woman.
Some will have intense cramping, while others will just experience bleeding. You likely would not experience discomfort after the first pill, mifepristone, but it’s not uncommon to feel nauseous or start bleeding.
However, after taking the second pill, misoprostol, which will expel the fetus and uterine lining, you can expect intense cramping and heavy bleeding for a few hours.
Light bleeding or spotting may continue to occur for a few weeks afterward.
Are There Risks Associated with the Abortion Pill?
Any medical procedure will always pose a type of risk. Here is a list of potential side effects 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
- Digestive system discomfort
Additionally, medication abortions 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 medical abortion
- Heart, blood vessel, liver, kidney, or lung diseases
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Use of blood thinners or steroid medications
To make an informed decision (or even see if you qualify for a medication abortion), it’s important first to confirm the status and progress of the pregnancy.