Sep 22, 2023
To undergo an abortion, you can opt for an in-clinic abortion or use abortion pills. When taking abortion pills, there are two key medications that you may take. These medications, misoprostol and mifepristone, each play a key role in executing an abortion successfully. This article will discuss these medications in the context of abortion.
What is mifepristone and misoprostol?
Both mifepristone and misoprostol are abortion medications. Depending on the protocol you use, you may take both mifepristone and misoprostol, or you may take just misoprostol. Each pill serves a different role in the abortion process:
● Mifepristone. If you take mifepristone, it will be the first medication you take. Mifepristone works by blocking progesterone, a hormone critical to sustaining a successful pregnancy. When mifepristone blocks progesterone, it causes the uterine lining to breakdown. Without a viable uterine lining, the pregnancy cannot continue.
● Misoprostol. Misoprostol is taken second to mifepristone or alone. Misoprostol works by emptying the uterus of pregnancy contents.
What can I expect from each of these medications?
If taking mifepristone, you likely will not experience many effects afterwards. Misoprostol, however, can and will cause some side effects.
As your body begins to expel the pregnancy tissue, you will likely experience cramping and bleeding. This experience works very similarly to how your body would respond to an early miscarriage. These symptoms typically start between one to four hours after taking misoprostol and manifest as tissue clumps and large blood clots. The cramping and bleeding process will likely continue for around four to five hours or longer. You may continue to feel cramping for up to two days afterwards and spotting for a few weeks.
How can I minimize the side effects of misoprostol?
To minimize the pain associated with cramping, you can take ibuprofen 30 minutes prior to having misoprostol. However, it is important to avoid aspirin, which can increase bleeding. A heating pad or shower may also help to relieve some pain. If you feel nauseous, you can also take anti-nausea medicine.
In terms of bleeding, you can use your method of choice to manage the bleeding. This means using pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup, whatever works for you.
How else can I prepare for a medication abortion?
Because of the side effects associated with misoprostol, it is best to schedule in some time to rest. You can expect side effects on the day you take misoprostol. Therefore, make sure to be in a comfortable environment where you can prioritize rest. Be prepared with things like ibuprofen, anti-nausea medication, a heating pad, and feminine hygiene products to minimize discomfort in the hours following misoprostol.
You may feel well enough the next day to return to your normal day-to-day activities. Your symptoms should go away within a few days if the abortion was successful.
What are the advantages of a medication abortion?
An abortion with misoprostol and/or mifepristone offers several advantages over in-clinic abortions. First and foremost, the abortion pill is a much more accessible option than in-clinic abortions. Many individuals may not have access to an abortion clinic, be it because of transportation, childcare, or other reasons. Additionally, abortions are illegal and restricted in many regions around the globe. Likewise, in-clinic abortions may not be available. Abortion pills allow you to access an abortion at home, allowing for confidentiality and privacy.
Additionally, a medication abortion allows you to undergo an abortion in the comfort of your own home. The abortion process may be uncomfortable, so being at home in private can ease the process. This method also allows you to access to your support system if you wish to have people present.
Although there are benefits to a medication abortion, there are also benefits to an in-clinic abortion. Ultimately, the method you choose is dependent on your personal preferences and situation.
How effective is the abortion pill?
A medication abortion is a very safe and effective way to end pregnancy. In fact, studies show that a medication abortion is up to 99 percent effective, but this is dependent on certain factors such as how late you are in pregnancy and how many misoprostol pills you take.
How do I get mifepristone and misoprostol?
You can get abortions pills from a health clinic. If you have questions about getting an abortion pill or are concerned about restrictions in your area, reach out to safe2choose. Safe2choose offers several services, including abortion counseling that can help connect you to safe and effective abortion pills and abortion care.
Overall, misoprostol and mifepristone are excellent options for those seeking an abortion. They provide an accessible yet private way to undergo an abortion. If you have questions about misoprostol and mifepristone or about abortion in general, reach out to our counselors at safe2choose.
Michell Mor, eHealth Content Specialist at Women First Digital, an organization helping women about contraception and sexual health.