There are two kinds of abortion: in-clinic abortion and medication abortion, also known as the abortion pill. You can usually take the abortion pill during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant, ask your nurse or doctor about in-clinic abortion. When you use the abortion pill, you actually take two different medicines to end a pregnancy: mifepristone and misoprostol.
- First, you’ll take mifepristone. Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which stops your pregnancy from developing.
- Then you take the second medicine, misoprostol, 1 to 2 days later at home, or wherever you feel most comfortable. Your nurse or doctor will give you written instructions and a number you can call with any questions, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Misoprostol, the second medicine, causes cramping and bleeding that empties your uterus.
The cramping and bleeding can last for several hours. Taking a hot shower, using a heating pad, or taking ibuprofen or medicine from your nurse or doctor can help with cramps. For most people, the process takes about 5 hours, but it may take up to 24 hours to be totally finished.
The abortion pill process is very similar to an early miscarriage. It’s normal to have lots of cramping and bleeding, and to pass clots and tissue like a really heavy period. You may also have an upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, or a mild fever. You may be tired and have a little cramping for a day or two afterwards, but you can go back to work or school the next day if you feel up to it.
The last step is an ultrasound or blood test a week or two later to make sure your abortion is complete and that you’re healthy. Before your abortion, you’ll have an exam and lab tests, and possibly an ultrasound and you’ll meet with a nurse, doctor, or other staff to talk about your options, and make sure abortion is the right decision for you. Sometimes the decision to have an abortion is simple, other times it’s more complicated. But either way, it’s your decision.
Only you know what’s right for you. Abortion is very common. It’s also very safe, and serious problems are extremely rare. Laws about abortion are different depending on the state you live in. There may be waiting periods or other restrictions before you can get an abortion. So if you’re considering abortion, talk to a health care provider as soon as you can, so you can have as many options as possible.