Be sure that you are pregnant and within the 11 week window for the abortion pill, or within the 13 week window for the carafem Procedure. You can take a pregnancy test, use our pregnancy calculator, and come in for an ultrasound to confirm.
At your visit, you will meet privately with a clinician who will review your medical history, take a blood test, and an ultrasound. You will then talk about what to expect and how to take the medications. You will then take your first dose of medication in the center and leave with your second dose to take later, at home where you will have the abortion. You will be equipped with a lot of resources for the following days.
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 of all, thank you for being there for this person! It’s wonderful that you want to be available and caring for them. Here are some great resources on how to be a good support person:
What are the benefits of choosing the abortion pill instead of the carafem procedure? What about the disadvantages?
- The abortion pill can be used in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.
- It requires no surgery or anesthesia (and less time in a medical environment).
- It has the potential for greater privacy.
- It allows for more control over your body.
- It is less invasive and may feel more natural.
- The biggest disadvantage for many is that you are still pregnant when you leave our center. Taking the abortion pill requires two steps to be successful and it takes between 24 and 72 hours for most users.
- It often involves heavier bleeding and more intense cramps.
- The pill option is only available up to 11 weeks after your missed period. If you are further along than this, the pill is not for you — but there are other options.
The big question that everyone wants to know is, does an abortion hurt? We wish we could give you a definitive answer but the truth is that having an abortion feels different for everybody — just like how periods are different for everybody. It can be painful or just a little uncomfortable. Everyone reacts differently. Thousands of people have successfully used this method of abortion for the last 20 years. Your carafem health care team can help you to feel prepared to better handle this experience. For most people, medication abortion physically feels like having an early miscarriage or a heavy period with mild flu-like symptoms. You could have cramping and aches in your belly, heavy bleeding with large blood clots, an upset stomach or vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, tiredness, and mild fever (99-100° F) or chills on the day you take the misoprostol. If you don’t have any bleeding within 24 hours after taking the second medicine, call your health center to check in about what to do next. Some people respond well after an additional dose of misoprostol. If at any time you have very heavy bleeding or have flu-like symptoms that are getting worse instead of better after 24 hours, call your doctor or health center right away. Don’t worry, carafem will provide pain medication and anti-nausea medication to help you to manage these effects of an abortion with medication.
Mentally, people can have a range of emotions after having an abortion. Most people feel relief, but sometimes people feel sad. You might have a mixture of many emotions. This is totally normal and there isn’t a right or wrong way to feel. If your mood keeps you from doing the things you usually do each day, it’s okay to call a healthcare provider for help. There are also many organizations that provide confidential emotional support, like Exhale, All-Options and Connect & Breathe, if you’d like to talk to or text someone about your personal abortion experience.
For most people, medication abortion physically feels like having an early miscarriage or a heavy period with mild flu-like symptoms. You could have cramping and aches in your belly, heavy bleeding with large blood clots, an upset stomach or vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, tiredness, and mild fever (99-100° F) or chills on the day you take the misoprostol. If you don’t have any bleeding within 24 hours after taking the second medicine, call your health center to check in about what to do next. Some people respond well after an additional dose of misoprostol. If at any time you have very heavy bleeding or have flu-like symptoms that are getting worse instead of better after 24 hours, call your doctor or health center right away. Don’t worry, carafem will provide pain medication and anti-nausea medication to help you to manage these effects of an abortion with medication.
Overall, your experience will remain confidential with only a few limitations: our staff is required to share the results of some positive tests with state health departments and are required to involve the proper authorities if we feel your life/health may be endangered. Your safety is our top priority.
First, it is important to understand that having an abortion with medication is a process, and everyone’s body reacts differently. It takes time for the uterus to empty and for the abortion to be complete. Cramping means that your uterus is contracting, and is actually a good sign that the medication is working. It is normal for the bleeding and clotting to continue for 1 to 3 weeks or even longer. If you know you had bleeding and passed some blood clots, that is a good indication that the medicine is working. Relief from symptoms of pregnancy is a good sign as well. An abortion with medications is very effective and fails less in less than 2% of all case but in order to know for sure the abortion is complete, you can return to our office for a follow up visit. You can also take a home pregnancy test, but it’s good to remember a urine test will often still show a positive result for several weeks. It is suggested that you wait for at least 3 weeks before taking a home pregnancy test.
We are always here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
After your abortion, your uterus needs time to return to its pre-pregnancy size and shape and this can take several weeks. Research has shown that most people can become pregnant again within as little as two weeks after taking the abortion pill, so we recommend starting birth control as soon as possible.
You should also be aware that your hormone levels have been affected by this process. After your abortion, you will still have the pregnancy hormone, hcG, in your system so you may be feeling a variety of emotions. Many people have said that they were feeling up and down, or felt emotions that they weren’t anticipating. This is actually normal and you’ll feel like yourself again in a couple weeks.
As soon as you feel up to it, you can return to normal activities– going to work or school, etc. Some people feel like they can do this right away and others may need to rest and relax for a day or two. Everybody is different, so do what feels most comfortable for you. Please refrain from any strenuous activities like heavy exercise, lifting, etc. while you are still bleeding. Your body needs time to heal.
Some types of birth control that carafem does not offer, such as tubal ligation, are designed to be permanent, but most methods available today (such as IUD, pills, patch, implant, ring, condoms, etc) will not affect your ability to get pregnant in the future, and many people are able to get pregnant right away after stopping consistent use of their birth control method.
For more information, please check out this link from Bedsider.
Luckily, there are also birth control methods available over the counter (no doctor’s exam or prescription needed) at most drugstores and even grocery stores. Condoms are among the most easily-accessible methods of birth control, as well as the only method that can prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when used properly. Even if you use a form of birth control such as the pill or IUD, it’s important to also use condoms in order to be protected from STIs.
If you’d like to avoid any possibility of an added few pounds, the copper IUD is an extremely effective form of birth control that last up to 10 years and is totally HORMONE-FREE!
Bedsider sums it up here: “Let’s look, for example, at how long it takes for women to get pregnant when they quit the Pill compared to when they quit non-hormonal fertility awareness methods (FAM, sometimes called natural family planning). A big study of over 2,000 women who quit the Pill after using it for an average of seven years found that 21% were pregnant in one month and 79% were pregnant in a year. Women who stopped using FAM had very similar rates of pregnancy, with 20-25% pregnant in one month and 80% pregnant in a year. In other words, women who quit the Pill get pregnant just as fast as other women, even if they’ve used the Pill for years.”