What to Expect Before and After a Medication Abortion
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek emergency care if you experience any of the following:
- Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours.
- Severe abdominal or back pain.
- Fever lasting more than 24 hours.
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.1
Before a Medication Abortion
Prior to taking the abortion pill, it is vital that you see a licensed medical provider, in person, during a private appointment. A licensed medical provider can prevent or diagnose potential complications before you even take the medication, but you won’t have that help available without a medical checkup.2,3 Please be aware that abortion clinics and online providers of medication abortions make a profit when women choose abortion.4 You may want to choose a licensed medical provider or pregnancy medical center that does not profit from the decision you make.
Note: Abortion pills are different from emergency contraception, sometimes called the “morning-after pill”. Ask your licensed medical provider to explain the difference between the two or visit optionline.org if you have questions.
Your Medical History Matters
One of the first steps a licensed medical provider takes before giving a patient any medication is to get a medical history. This helps rule out conditions that might make the medication abortion dangerous specifically to you.
For example, you need a licensed medical provider to check if any of your current or former medications and/or supplements will interact dangerously with the medications used for abortion. The medications used in an abortion react negatively with numerous medicines and even with certain foods.5 You need a licensed medical provider to tell you what you can safely consume with the pills.
You also need to discuss other situations that would make medication abortion dangerous. For example, you cannot take abortion pills if you use an intrauterine device (IUD) as contraception.6 Your provider will ask the necessary questions to rule out any other unsafe practices.
Pre-Existing Conditions to Consider
Bear in mind that only a licensed medical provider can examine you to check for any physical issues that would prevent you from safely taking a medication.7 There are many circumstances that would make a medication abortion unsafe, including (but not limited to) the following conditions:
- Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
- Adrenal failure
- Bleeding disorders
Please note: there are a variety of circumstances that could make a medication abortion unsafe, and only a few are listed here. Your licensed medical provider will be able to discuss your situation with you.
Doctors Can Help With Other Things, Too
A licensed medical provider will not only help you stay safe physically but will also help you get any emotional help you need before making a medical decision. Having an abortion could have serious emotional side effects, and you may want to consider discussing an unplanned pregnancy or potential abortion with loved ones, clergy, and/or a professional therapist.
All About Ultrasounds
Women sometimes wonder why an ultrasound is needed when considering a medication abortion. An ultrasound is essential as it will determine the following:
How far along you are
If, during an ultrasound, the medical team finds that your baby is older than you think he/she is, the difference in age may affect your decision. Further, a medication abortion could be very dangerous for you if your pregnancy is further along than you know.8
Whether or not your pregnancy is located in the uterus
If the pregnancy is ectopic (in which your pregnancy is progressing in the wrong part of your body), you will require immediate medical treatment.9
Whether your pregnancy is viable or not
One in three pregnancies will miscarry naturally, and if this is your situation, there is no need to consider an abortion.
After Taking an At-Home Abortion Pill
It’s Not Too Late
If you already took one or more of the abortion pills, contacting abortionpillreversal.com may give you a chance to still have a healthy pregnancy and baby. It is important that you contact them and follow their instructions as soon as possible. The earlier you begin the abortion pill reversal treatment, the more likely it is to be effective. Be sure to answer any questions honestly, so they can best assist you. They are there to help you, not to judge.
See a Licensed Medical Provider
Even if you have not changed your mind, you need to see a licensed medical provider as soon as possible if you have attempted any type of abortion without medical supervision. Until your appointment, don’t use tampons or have sexual intercourse.10 When you go to your appointment, bring any medicine or supplement packaging with you. Be honest about where you purchased any pills or supplements. Licensed medical providers are there to make sure you are safe and healthy, but for them to do their job, you have to give them all the information they need.
Your licensed medical provider will need to check to make sure the abortion is complete and has not harmed you physically. Only a licensed medical provider can assess your uterus, perform an ultrasound, and interpret any symptoms that might indicate that you are still pregnant or experiencing physical problems.11 Note that bleeding and other typical symptoms are not a guarantee that the abortion has occurred, nor is “feeling fine” a guarantee that you don’t have any serious complications.
Are You Feeling Regret?
Sometimes women feel regretful, sad, depressed, or anxious after an abortion. If you feel this way, you are not alone. There is help. You can talk to your local pregnancy center and see if they have a post-abortive healing program.
You can also visit supportafterabortion.com, which is an organization to help women and their families connect with resources to experience emotional healing after an abortion.
Remember that negative feelings are common and need to be taken seriously. Seek immediate care if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or contemplating hurting yourself in any way. Dial 988 on your phone, or visit 988lifeline.org for help.