Updated: 2018, Sep 28

Abortion Pill: What Is It?

By - Reviewed by CHD Team
Abortion Pill

What is Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is a medicine that ends a pregnancy. The abortion pills are designed to terminate the pregnancy of women who is less than nine weeks pregnant.

In the United States, it is estimated that 1 in 4 women use abortion pill in terminations. Statistics show that more and more women are engaging to drug abortion than the surgical abortion. This article provides a sneak peek on abortion pills.

Why Women Need to Choose Abortion Pill?

As what the name implies, abortion pill is a drug used to terminate early pregnancy. The use of abortion pills is legal and ‘socially-acceptable’ in some states specifically in the United States. The most common brand name for abortion pill is mifepristone or RU- 486.

Generally, abortion pills are used up to 9 weeks from the woman’s last menstrual period although some states limit their use only up to 49 days. Otherwise, the in-clinic abortion option is advised.

How The Abortion Pill Works?

Abortion pill is a legal option in the United States. In majority of cases, abortion pill options are discussed with a doctor, and laboratory tests and ultrasound are conducted prior to taking the drug. Hence, the woman will be guided all throughout the process. Abortion pill works by stopping the production of progesterone, a hormone that forms the womb. Without this hormone, the uterine lining sheds and bleeding occurs. Resultantly, pregnancy is terminated.

How to Take Abortion Pill?

To take an abortion pill, follow these 3 simple steps:

  • Step 1: Take the first abortion pill in the clinic.
  • Step 2: Take the second abortion pill. This is to ensure no uterine fragments are left inside the womb.
  • Step 3: Do a follow-up within 2 weeks. Ultrasound and laboratory tests are repeatedly done to make sure the abortion is complete.

What to Expect After Using This Pill?

Antibiotics are administered following the administration of the first abortion pill, but bleeding normally begins after the second take of abortion pill. In addition to bleeding, a woman may also experience abdominal cramping that lasts for hours and notice blood clots.

Note: Complete abortion through abortion pill is successful between 4 and 5 hours after taking the second drug.

Bleeding and spotting are still sometimes expected up to 4 weeks after abortion. Other adverse effects of taking abortion pills are dizziness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and chills.

Abortion Pill: Safe & Effective?

Abortion pill is considered safe and effective drug for early termination of pregnancy. It is reported that it works in 97 out of 100 cases. However, if a woman is unsure that it worked and not feeling well, she needs to seek medical assistance immediately.

Are There Any Side-Effects?

Complications of abortion pill use occur if the drug was not used successfully. Abortion pill can cause birth defects in the event of unsuccessful attempt of abortion. In this case, the woman needs to consult a doctor to have an aspiration abortion.

Other possible risks of abortion pill include infection, allergic reaction, blood clots in the uterus and ectopic pregnancy.

Tips for Abortion Aftercare

  • Take antibiotics as prescribed.
  • If bleeding is heavy and incessant, report to your health care provider.
  • Caution: Do not take aspirin, it aggravates bleeding episodes.

See a doctor immediately if any of the following symptoms is experienced:

  • Consumption of 2 pads and more within 1 hour
  • Blood clots larger than a lemon
  • Unrelieved abdominal pain and cramping
  • Smelly vaginal discharges

Abortion pill is safe, effective and legal (in majority of the states). For that reason, the drug should not be self-administered without professional assistance.

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