If you’re experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and exploring your options, you may be curious about how medical abortion works.  

Medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is a series of two drugs taken to terminate a pregnancy.

While you may feel that abortion is the best option for you, it is critical to understand the potential health risks and limitations of the abortion pill before making a decision about your pregnancy.

How Does Medical Abortion Work?

Abortion providers should administer mifepristone, the first drug, in a doctor’s office. This drug blocks the hormone progesterone, which causes the pregnancy to detach from the uterine wall. 

Then, you take misoprostol at home. Misoprostol creates uterine contractions, and the woman experiences cramping and bleeding as she passes the pregnancy through her vagina. 

Health Risks of Medical Abortion

While the abortion pill may seem like a simple process, there is no way to predict how your body will respond. 

Abortion can have unwanted physical and mental health effects. 

Physical health risks include:

  • Incomplete abortion (meaning the drugs terminated the pregnancy but did not remove all the pregnancy tissue from the body)
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive discomfort 

Mental health risks include: 

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders 
  • Anxiety 
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Suicidal behaviors 
  • Substance abuse 

Limitations of Medical Abortion

Depending on your unique pregnancy and your health history, you may or may not qualify for a medical abortion. 

You are ineligible for a medical abortion if:

  • You are too far along in your pregnancy (if you’ve been pregnant more than 9 weeks)
  • Have an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Have an ectopic pregnancy (the pregnancy develops in the wrong location)
  • Have certain bleeding disorders, heart or blood vessel diseases, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, or an uncontrolled seizure disorder
  • You take a blood thinner or steroid medication
  • Can’t make follow-up visits to your provider or don’t have access to emergency care
  • Have an allergy to the medicine used 

Get the Help You Deserve

Before having an abortion, finding out more information about your pregnancy and talking with a medical professional about your health history is vital for your safety. 

Lilli Women’s Center is here to help. We can provide you with a lab-quality pregnancy test and follow-up ultrasound at no cost. 

Ultrasound is the best method to determine if you are past the nine-week window and the location of your pregnancy. After learning more about your pregnancy, you can discuss your questions and concerns with our trusted medical staff.  

We want to help equip you to make an informed decision that is best for your health and future.

Contact us today for your confidential appointment.