What is the abortion pill?
The abortion pill, often referred to as medical abortion or medication abortion, is actually two different pills taken in sequence: the first one, mifepristone, is taken at our center, and then the second one, which is actually 4 pills called misoprostol, is taken the same day (at the earliest) up to 72 hours (at the latest) at home.
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How does the abortion pill work?
The abortion pill is actually a combination of what is usually two kinds of pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) that are taken in sequence. In the U.S. these are most often used before 13 weeks of pregnancy. The first pill, mifepristone, blocks a hormone necessary for a pregnancy to continue to develop. Most people swallow this first pill in our office. A small number of people see some vaginal bleeding after taking mifepristone, but it’s not common. The second pill, misoprostol, causes cramping and bleeding from the vagina so that the pregnancy will leave your body (similar to a miscarriage). It is usually taken at home within 72 hours after taking the first pill.
These pills are not available through pharmacies or at most regular doctor’s offices. carafem staff has specific training to help you through this process. These pills are different from birth control pills or emergency contraception pills (Plan B). Learn more about if the abortion pill is right for you, and what to expect in this helpful video here.
Take the first pill Mifepristone at carafem
Most people feel fine after taking this first pill. Some will have nausea, and fewer will experience bleeding.
After taking your first dose at carafem, you can proceed with normal activities until you take the 2nd medication.
Same day to 72 hrs later, take 2nd pills – Misoprostol at home
We will go over how to do this in detail before you leave our center.
You will let the pills dissolve into your cheeks or insert them into your vagina.
The abortion begins within 1-4 hours after step 2
You will experience bleeding and cramping that can last 6-8 hours.
You should plan to rest for at least 24 hours.
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MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PILL
While it varies from person to person, if you had unprotected sex, missed a period, or are experiencing some common signs of pregnancy, it’s probably a good idea to take a pregnancy test – even if you are using birth control! For most accurate results, your best bet will be to take the home pregnancy test early in the morning, 7 days after your first missed period.
If your home pregnancy test is positive, you may know right away what option is right for you. But if you don’t, that’s ok. Some people need to take more time to carefully weigh their options of abortion, adoption, or parenting a child. If you find you need to talk more about your options, there are several non judgemental resources we recommend such as All Options, an organization dedicated to peer counseling and support.
A final consideration. There are a number of Crisis Pregnancy Centers out there that pretend to be abortion clinics. They use deceptive marketing tactics, very religious themes, and often offer free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. These places are known to be aggressive in trying to persuade people to not have an abortion – often through shame and judgment. If you’re unsure if the place you are calling is legitimate, always ask what services a clinic offers and make sure you feel comfortable before disclosing your personal information. Here’s a little more information about CPCs.
We will also want to know the names of any medication you are taking. Be ready to discuss any medical issues or allergies you may have.
We will always offer you the first available appointment at carafem that works with your schedule. We will make every effort to schedule as soon as possible, within a few days.
We take medical insurance. If you have it, please provide your insurance information to our staff when making an appointment. If you do not have insurance, our staff may be able to provide you with a reduced rate. The out of pocket cost is varies by location — please see our location page for specific price information. Our staff will work with you to review all possible options.
The abortion pill is actually a combination of what is usually two kinds of pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) that are taken in sequence. In the U.S. these are most often used before 11 weeks of pregnancy. The first pill, mifepristone, blocks a hormone necessary for a pregnancy to continue to develop. Most people swallow this first pill in our office. A small number of people see some vaginal bleeding after taking mifepristone, but it’s not common. The second pill, misoprostol, causes cramping and bleeding from the vagina so that the pregnancy will leave your body (similar to a miscarriage). It is usually taken at home within 72 hours after taking the first pill.
Most people start to see cramping and bleeding within about an hour after taking the misoprostol, though some take longer. It’s normal to feel chills, nausea or even have diarrhea along with bleeding and cramping while your body is pushing the pregnancy from your uterus. It’s kind of like having a really heavy, crampy period along with mild flu like symptoms. It is good to have some thick overnite type maxi pads ready along with a heating pad to help with cramping. carafem provides anti nausea and pain medication to help handle these symptoms. For most people, the heaviest bleeding and cramping ends once the pregnancy has passed, usually within 3-4 hours. It is important to plan for possible vaginal bleeding to continue after any type of abortion. Some see light bleeding that lasts up until their next period starts, which is usually within about 4-6 weeks.
- First you will fill out some paperwork (like you will find in any doctor’s office!)
- Then you’ll talk to your clinician about expectations, concerns, and any other questions you may have. They might also have questions for you.
- Then you’ll take a pregnancy test (peeing in a cup)
- You may need a blood test to determine Rh factor, something we may need to give you extra medication for depending on the result. This is a finger poke. But if you know your blood type, just let us know.
- We’ll then do an ultrasound to confirm you are early enough to take the abortion pill.
- Then you’ll take the first pill (mifepristone) at the carafem center. Most people feel fine after taking this first pill. Some will have nausea, less will have bleeding. After taking this pill, you can proceed with normal activities until it is time to take the 2nd medication.
- Start your birth control method! You can become pregnant again within one week of an abortion, so it is best to consider your options. At carafem, you discussed your birth control options and have decided which one is best for you. Now is a good time to start!
Bleeding usually begins in 1-4 hours after step 2.
You will experience bleeding and cramping that can last up to 12 hours, but usually takes 6-8 hours. You should plan to rest and take it easy for about 24 hours. You will have pain medication and anti-nausea medication and information to help manage any discomfort. We will also provide you with plenty of information so that you will know what to expect each step of this process: you are in control, but if you have any questions we are always here to help.
We will follow up with you to check in with you and to make sure everything went smoothly.
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