What to Expect After Taking an Abortion Pill

Are you facing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy? If you are considering terminating your pregnancy with a medical abortion, discover the facts about what you can expect after taking the abortion pill.

What Is the Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is actually a combination of two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, which work together to terminate pregnancy.

The mifepristone pill blocks the body’s ability to produce progesterone, the hormone needed to keep the pregnancy growing. Without progesterone, the uterine wall breaks down so that oxygen and nutrients are no longer reaching the embryo or fetus. In other words, this is the pill that initiates termination.

The misoprostol pill, which is taken either directly after or up to 48 hours after taking mifepristone, softens the cervix and induces contractions so that the uterus can expel any pregnancy tissue. Misoprostol triggers bleeding and cramping in the uterus, similar to a miscarriage.

Is the Abortion Pill Safe?

As with any medication or procedure, there are risks associated with the abortion pill. Be sure to know all of the facts and consult with your doctor prior to moving forward with an abortion.

Using a Medical Abortion to Terminate an Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is one where the embryo grows outside of the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube. The abortion pill will not affect an ectopic pregnancy. However, ectopic pregnancies are never viable and can significantly threaten your health.

You may think your pregnancy is terminated after taking the abortion pill. But if it’s ectopic, the embryo will continue to grow in your fallopian tube or other areas outside of the uterus, which can become life-threatening if the ectopic pregnancy ruptures.

If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, schedule a pregnancy screening with Women’s Clinic of Atlanta to ensure your pregnancy is non-ectopic (forming in the uterus).

Taking Abortion Medication Too Far Into Pregnancy

In Georgia, it is against the law to have a surgical or medical abortion after a heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs around the 6th week of pregnancy.

If you are in a location that allows abortion beyond the detection of a heartbeat, the medication is only approved by the FDA for use up to the 10th week of pregnancy.

Taking Abortion Medication While Also Taking Certain Medications

The abortion pill does not work well with some medications or devices, such as:

  • Blood thinners
  • Steroid medications
  • IUDs

Combining abortion medication with these medicines or devices could lead to significant health complications following the abortion.

Having an Allergy to Either Abortion Pill

If you have an allergy to the components of either mifepristone or misoprostol, you could experience dangerous side effects.

Having Certain Preexisting Conditions

Certain medical conditions can disqualify you from undergoing a medical abortion because the effects of the pills could result in risky or life-threatening complications. Conditions can include:

  • Blood disorder
  • Heart disease
  • Diseases of the liver, kidneys, or lungs
  • Epilepsy or a history of seizures

What Can I Expect After Taking the Abortion Pill?

A medical abortion starts with pill #1, mifepristone. Most women do not feel any side effects from this pill. It’s rare but possible to experience a little bit of vaginal bleeding after initiating the abortion.

After taking misoprostol, you will experience uterine cramping and vaginal bleeding as your pregnancy tissue is expelled. It’s also normal to pass blood clots that are usually no larger than the size of a tennis ball.

The Day You Take Misoprostol

On the day you take the misoprostol, you’ll likely experience a range of side effects, including:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Uterine cramping
  • Blood clotting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Breast tenderness
  • Dizziness

In general, side effects of a medical abortion will last from a few hours to about 24 hours. If your nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever lasts longer than 24 hours or you experience worsening conditions, contact your doctor right away—you may have an infection.

The 1st and 2nd Day After You Take Misoprostol

It’s normal to experience light bleeding or cramping in the days following a medical abortion.

Some women who experience mild symptoms following the abortion medication often feel well enough to return to their daily activities by the next day. However, it’s normal to still feel fatigued a day or two after. But call your doctor if fatigue or feelings of illness continue beyond day three.

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What Are Signs of a Problem After Taking the Abortion Pill?

While it’s rare, it is possible to experience severe side effects after taking an abortion pill. Watch out for things like:

  • Heavy bleeding, or soaking through two sanitary pads per hour for more than 2 hours.
  • Steady bleeding that doesn’t lighten up by the 12th
  • No bleeding, which could indicate an ectopic pregnancy or a continued pregnancy.
  • Blood clots that are bigger than a tennis ball or lemon.
  • Fever above 100.4°F.
  • Fever that lasts beyond the first 24 hours.

What Should I Do After a Medical Abortion?

After a medical abortion, you’ll need to know that the abortion took, which is best indicated through a negative urine pregnancy test and the return of your menstrual cycle.

Post-abortion screenings are available through Women’s Clinic of Atlanta where one of our caring medical professionals administers a pregnancy test to ensure the test is negative. If you produce a positive test in the office, we may draw your blood to test for the amount of HCG (a pregnancy hormone). We will do that at least twice to ensure the number is trending down at a certain rate.

We also offer a mental health check with space to talk through any emotions you may be processing. Whether your medical abortion stirred up feelings of relief, stress, regret, or anything else, we are here to lend a compassionate, understanding ear as you work through the experience.

If You’re Considering an Abortion and Are Curious About What to Expect After Taking the Abortion Pill, Talk to the Team at Women’s Clinic of Atlanta.

Not only can we provide honest answers to your questions about the abortion pill, but we also can provide the necessary abortion screening to ensure you are, in fact, pregnant, that it is not ectopic, and that your pregnancy has not progressed past the point of a detected heartbeat.

Schedule an abortion screening by texting “appointment” to 404-777-4771 today.

Women’s Clinic of Atlanta is HIPAA compliant and AAAHC accredited.

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