Abortion Pill FAQs
The Abortion Pill is an excellent option for early abortion. At MYA Network, we want to help you have all the information you need to make your decision. Listed below are some facts about the Abortion Pill. We hope you find this helpful.
What is the Abortion Pill?
The Abortion Pill is a term used for a set of pills that are taken to end an early pregnancy. The most common and effective abortion pill combination is 1) Mifepristone, followed by 2) Misoprostol.
Mifepristone is also known as Mifeprex, RU486, the “French abortion pill, and Plan C. Misoprostol is also known as Cytotec.
How does the Abortion Pill work?
Mifepristone (the first pill you take) acts by blocking receptors for progesterone (the pregnancy hormone) on the wall of the uterus, so that the pregnancy stops growing. Without progesterone, the early pregnancy tissue starts to detach from the wall of the uterus.
Misoprostol (the second set of pills you take) causes the uterus to contract, and the cervix to dilate. Together, these actions result in early pregnancy tissue being expelled by the uterus. This process is similar to having a miscarriage. In most cases, you will have cramping and bleeding after taking Misoprostol.
Some women choose to take Misoprostol alone. It is less effective this way and often requires additional doses. Misoprostol is cheaper and more easily accessible than taking both Mifepristone with Misoprostol. If you are in a situation where you only have access to Misoprostol (Cytotec), here is a guide for how to take it alone.
How Effective is the Abortion Pill?
When Can I Take The Abortion Pill?
The Abortion Pill is taken after you are already pregnant and are certain you want to end your pregnancy. Your pregnancy test would be positive. Research shows that the abortion pill can be used up until 11 weeks of pregnancy. However, some clinicians may choose to prescribe the pill up to 9 or 10 weeks of pregnancy. If you are further along in your pregnancy, you can still choose to get an abortion with a procedure at a medical practice or clinic.
How Do I Take the Abortion Pill?
There are usually two types of pills used in The Abortion Pill: Mifepristone and Misoprostol.
Taking Mifepristone and Misoprostol Is A 3 Step Process:
- You swallow the first pill, Mifepristone. After this, you usually don’t notice any symptoms.
- You take the second pill, Misoprostol, 6-72 hours after taking the Mifepristone. You can either place these pills in your vagina or in your cheek, and allow them to dissolve completely. Your clinician will talk with you about the best way to take these pills. These pills cause the miscarriage, so you will begin to have cramping and bleeding several hours after taking the Misoprostol.
- You will need some type of follow-up (like a pregnancy test, an ultrasound or a discussion with your clinician) to make sure the process was complete and the pregnancy is over.
What is it like to go through the “miscarriage” step of The Abortion Pill?
You will bleed, and most likely you will have some cramping. This is good news; it means the pills are working and your uterus is contracting back to its normal size. Most commonly, the “miscarriage” step will occur within hours after taking the Misoprostol (the second pill). Sometimes it can take up to 24 hours for the bleeding to start.
There is a wide range of experiences with cramping. It is important to take pain medication as directed. Some women simply start to bleed with only minor cramping. Some women have cramping similar to their period. And some women have more severe cramping. Here is a podcast where women talk about their experiences with the abortion pill.
There is also a wide range of experiences with bleeding. The amount of bleeding often depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy. If you’ve just missed your period, the amount of bleeding can be minimal.
If there is no bleeding, you might need to repeat the Misoprostol and have some other type of follow up to confirm that the pregnancy has passed.