Facing an unexpected pregnancy and considering your options? You will likely uncover three options in your research: parenting, adoption, and abortion. 

For abortion, you’ll see options for a surgical or medication abortion. The medication abortion is the use of the abortion pill and can be performed up to 70 days (10 weeks) gestation. This early procedure comprises about 40% of abortions in the US. 

How Does It Work?

The first in the series of two pills is mifepristone, which acts as an antiprogestin. This means that it blocks your progesterone levels (a natural hormone needed to grow the pregnancy) from increasing. This results in your body beginning to break down the uterine lining as it would during your period.

24-48 hours later, the second pill, misoprostol, is taken. This second pill will cause your uterus to contract so that it expels the fetus and uterine lining. 

Are There Short-Term Side Effects?

The level of discomfort experienced from the first pill, mifepristone, varies in different degrees from woman to woman.

Some will report intense cramping while others just report bleeding. It’s possible to feel nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or fainting.

However, after taking the second pill, misoprostol, whose purpose is to empty the uterus, you can expect cramping and heavy bleeding for between 4-5 hours. It’s not abnormal to see large clots of blood up to the size of lemons

What Are Longer-Term Side Effects?

Any medical procedure will always include some type of risk. Here is a list of potential risks 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 (with the risk of birth defects)
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Many doctors will perform ultrasounds to monitor your health (to eliminate the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, etc) and confirm how far along you are before you consider an abortion. 

When making the decision to terminate your pregnancy with a medication abortion, it’s important for your health to gauge where you are at in your pregnancy, so getting an ultrasound first is highly recommended.

At the Hope Clinic, you can schedule an ultrasound at no cost. Our nurses and trained staff can answer any of your questions and help you make the best choice in a compassionate, confidential environment.

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