Instructions for Abortion Pill Treatment: All You Need to Know

Deciding to end a pregnancy tends to be a difficult decision. How to do it? What treatment method to choose? What are the correct abortion pill instructions? And when can I have it done? These are all common questions that go through a woman’s mind when considering terminating a pregnancy. A lack of accurate information can make your decision harder, and misinformation going around on the internet can cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety. That’s why educating yourself about this topic from a trustworthy source can make this challenging moment easier for you. 

You have different legal options to end a pregnancy. The most widespread ones are surgical abortion and the abortion pill. This article will focus on the latter, providing accurate and valuable information directly from women’s healthcare professionals. 

abortion pill instructions

The Abortion Pill Treatment

The abortion pill, also known as medical abortion, is a pregnancy termination method widely preferred by women since you can perform it in the privacy of your own home. Unlike surgical abortion, you don’t need to go to a clinic and undergo a surgical procedure by a healthcare professional. However, you still must visit an abortion clinic before and after the procedure to get clear abortion pill instructions and check the pregnancy was terminated correctly.

Another crucial difference between medical and surgical abortion is that you can take the abortion pill up to around 10 weeks into the pregnancy. On the other hand, you can have a surgical abortion later on. So, if you are past the 10th week, the abortion pill is probably no longer a valid option for you. 

If you are in the early stages of your pregnancy, you can choose to go with a medication abortion. You will have to visit your doctor or nurse so they can prescribe you the pill and tell you about the following steps. 

There are two types of abortion pill options:

  • Using two different abortion pills: Mifepristone and Misoprostol.
  • Using only Misoprostol. 

The most common option is the Mifepristone and Misoprostol method (combination pill). How do these drugs induce an abortion? The first one, Mifepristone, works by blocking progesterone, a vital hormone for the development of pregnancy. Without that hormone, your uterus lining will thin, and the embryo won’t be able to stay attached. When you take Misoprostol, your uterus will contract, expelling the embryo. 

Abortion pill instructions: How the procedure works

Before taking the Misoprostol-only or combination pill, you will meet with our health center staff. During that appointment, they will assess your pregnancy stage, answer all your questions, and give you detailed abortion pill instructions to guarantee a successful pregnancy termination. If you can’t make it to the appointment, we can also schedule a phone visit. This first step is crucial to ensure you are choosing the best abortion option for your situation. 

Combination abortion pill steps: 

  1. Clinic appointment: To determine if the medication abortion is safe for you and if you feel comfortable with this method.
  2. Taking Mifepristone: The first pill you must take is Mifepristone; we recommend you take the pill at a healthcare setting or professional abortion clinic. After taking this pill, you can continue your daily activities, but we encourage you to free your schedule in case you experience side effects.
  3. Taking Misoprostol: You must take the second drug, Misoprostol, around 24-48 hours after taking Mifepristone. You can take this pill at home; the time between the two drugs will depend on whether you take Misoprostol orally, vaginally, or sublingually. Let’s dive into each one of those options:
      • Oral pill: Take it 24-48 hours before Mifepristone. This option is less recommended since it can be less effective and cause more intense side effects. 
      • Sublingual: You must also take it 24-48 hours before the Mifepristone pill. Put the pills under your tongue and level them there for 30 minutes. If there are still pieces of the pill after that time, swallow them with water. 
      • Vaginal: 0-48 hours before taking Mifepristone, put the Misoprostol tablets into your vagina. Lay down for about 30 minutes to avoid them falling out. 

This is a general guideline of how to use the abortion pill. Your doctor will give you more detailed and personalized instructions based on your case.

What to expect after taking the abortion pill

What to expect after taking the pill and what happens after the abortion are common concerns among women. Not knowing what to expect gives a lot of room to the imagination, leading to unnecessary and irrational fears about the treatment. Let’s clarify those doubts so you can confidently decide if this procedure is the one for you. 

The first pill, Mifepristone, only blocks the hormone progesterone; it doesn’t induce abortion, so you shouldn’t expect any significant physical changes. However, some women experience minor vaginal bleeding; that’s uncommon, but it’s not a problem. 

The second pill, Misoprostol, causes the uterus to contract; after taking it, you will feel cramping and experience vaginal bleeding (symptoms similar to a miscarriage). Some women start this process an hour after taking the pill, but it can take longer. It’s also expected to experience nausea, vomiting, chills, and diarrhea as your body expels the pregnancy from the uterus. The experience feels like heavier period crams allowing with having the flu. Nevertheless, not all medication abortion patients go through precisely the same symptoms; levels of discomfort can vary.

To manage the symptoms, you can take ibuprofen (over-the-counter tablets). This will help you decrease the intensity of the cramping. 

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Like any medical procedure, the abortion pill can cause some adverse effects and also comes with some potential risks. 

Regarding side effects, we already mentioned you can expect to experience cramping and vaginal bleeding. For how long? For most women, the heaviest bleeding and cramping ends once their bodies expel the pregnancy – about 3-4 hours after taking Misoprostol. Some minor bleeding is still expected in the following days, usually until you get your period (usually within 4-6 weeks). The drugs can also cause nausea, vomiting, and fever or chills. 

These are the potential risks of medical abortions:

Uterine Bleeding And Hemorrhaging

After taking the abortion pill, women are expected to experience bleeding as the body expels the pregnancy tissue. Still, you should be on the lookout for excessive bleeding; it can be a sign of a health complication that leads to hemorrhaging. So you know exactly what we are talking about, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines excessive bleeding as “soaking through two thick full-size pads per hour for two consecutive hours.” 

Serious infections

Although rare, there have been reports of infections after a medical abortion. If you feel intense pain or feel sick after 24 hours of taking Misoprostol, contact your doctor to check for infections. Typical symptoms of infection include fever, severe abdominal pain, and pelvic tenderness.

Incomplete abortion

The abortion pill method is highly effective in terminating a pregnancy. But sometimes, the drugs don’t work – even if you experienced the mentioned symptoms. A part of the pregnancy may remain in the uterus, leading to harm and infections. If that is the case, you will need a surgical abortion to complete the procedure.

Mental health 

We can’t forget to mention the potential mental health conditions that can come with a medical abortion. After an abortion, women can develop anxiety, depression, feelings of guilt, and stress, among other mental symptoms. Changes in mental health due to abortion are deeply connected to the amount of support the woman receives during this procedure and aftercare. Support from family members, partners, friends, and counseling or therapy can help women go through a successful abortion while caring for their mental health. 

Importance of Following the Instructions Carefully

Regardless of the medical treatment you have to go through or the medication you must take, following your doctor’s instructions is always essential. Following the abortion pill instructions guarantees the drugs actually do their job: terminating the pregnancy. You can compromise the results if you don’t commit to the pills schedule or take them in a different order.

Not following the instructions can also lead to health risks and increased side effects. Taking the abortion pill without medical guidance can put your health in danger. In a professional clinic, experts will instruct and guide you through the process; you are encouraged to ask as many questions as you need to fully understand the treatment and feel more comfortable with the process.

Abortion Clinic Professionals Are Here For You

Are you considering getting an abortion? The first step is to know the available abortion options. If you are eligible for the abortion pill, the next step is to know how this process works, what to expect, and learn about the abortion pill instructions. At our women’s health center, we are always ready to help women understand their options and make informed decisions regarding their reproductive health. Do you still have questions regarding the medical abortion treatment? Visit us or give us a call; with us, you will find a safe and respectful environment to learn more about your options.