Who Can Use Abortion Pills?

If I am a very big woman (or very overweight), do I need to take more pills?

No, use the same number of pills we recommend for everyone. Studies have shown that the success of the medication (mifepristone and misoprostol) doesn’t decrease for large or heavy women. You don’t need to take a different dose or more pills.

What if I find out that I’m pregnant with twins?

You don’t need to change the dose or the number of pills if you find out you’re pregnant with twins. The same procedure is used for twin pregnancies.

Is the abortion pill less effective if I’ve used it before?

No, each pregnancy is a unique event and the abortion pill will not be less effective. If you used the abortion pill before, you don’t need a higher dose if you use it again for a different unwanted pregnancy.

Can I take misoprostol while I have an IUD inserted?

If you have an intrauterine contraceptive device in the uterus (e.g. the coil or the progesterone IUD), you must get it removed before your medical abortion with mifepristone and/or misoprostol.

Can I take misoprostol while breastfeeding?

If you are breastfeeding a baby, the misoprostol pills may cause diarrhea in the baby. To avoid this, breastfeed the baby, take the misoprostol pills, and wait 4 hours before you breastfeed again.

Can I use abortion pills if I have HIV?

If you are living with HIV, just make sure you’re stable, you’re on antiretroviral medicines, and your health is otherwise good before taking the abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol).”

Can I take the abortion pill if I have anemia?

If you have anemia (low iron levels in your blood), identify a health care provider who is no more than 30 minutes away that can help if you need it. If you are very anemic, consult a doctor before using mifepristone or misoprostol for a medical abortion.

Is the abortion pill unsafe if I have had a C-section?

No, using the abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) early in pregnancy is safe even if you had a previous C-section delivery.

If I use the abortion pill and I’m still pregnant afterwards, will the baby be born with birth defects?

There has been no link found between mifepristone and birth defects. However, misoprostol does cause a slightly increased rate of birth defects. If you take misoprostol and you are still pregnant after taking the pills, you might have a natural miscarriage. If you do not have a miscarriage and carry the pregnancy to term, the risk of birth defects increases by 1% (one baby in 100).

I had a previous female sterilization (tubal ligation). It didn’t work and I became pregnant. The pregnancy was in the tube (ectopic pregnancy). I am now pregnant again. Is it safe for me to use the abortion pills?

No, it is not safe to use abortion pills if you know that you are at risk for ectopic pregnancy. Because you had a tubal ligation, we know there is scarring in your tubes (Fallopian tubes). That’s probably why your last pregnancy was an ectopic pregnancy. The Fallopian tubes are where a female egg is fertilized with a male sperm. The pregnancy starts to grow and move along the tube to the womb. If your tube is scarred, the early pregnancy can get trapped in the tube. As the pregnancy grows, it can cause the tube to break open. If the tube breaks open, this can cause major bleeding inside you, which is life threatening. You are at risk for another ectopic pregnancy. You should not use the abortion pills on your own until a healthcare provider is sure that the pregnancy is in the womb, not in your tubes.

How can I have an abortion if I have been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy?

First, you must know that most women will not be aware of this condition unless they have had an ultrasound. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable so even in countries where abortion is not legal women could have access to a legal procedure to terminate this pregnancy.

Types of Abortion Pills and
Their Use

How do abortion pills work?

There are two types of abortion pills, and each has a different mechanism of action. Mifepristone blocks the hormone needed for a pregnancy to grow, while the ingredients used in misoprostol work by relaxing and opening the cervix (the opening to the uterus) and causing the uterus to contract, which pushes out the pregnancy.

What does misoprostol do?

Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy. Misoprostol can be taken alone or in combination with another pill to increase efficacy (Mifepristone) and is informally referred to as, “the abortion pill.”

What does mifepristone do?

Mifepristone blocks the hormone needed for a pregnancy to grow. Mifepristone can be used as an initial step 24-48 hours prior to taking misoprostol for pregnancy termination.

Can I drink water after taking misoprostol?

Do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes while you allow the misoprostol to dissolve. After 30 minutes have passed, you can drink water to swallow the remnants of the pills and, in general, as much water as you need to feel hydrated.

Can I drink water after taking mifepristone?

Yes, you can drink water to help you swallow the mifepristone.

Should I take misoprostol sublingually or vaginally?

There are two ways to use misoprostol: placing the pills in your vagina or under your tongue (sublingually). HowToUse suggests that you only use misoprostol under your tongue because it is more private (the pills dissolve faster and do not leave visible traces in your body) and has less risk of infection.

What is the difference between taking misoprostol only and taking both mifepristone and misoprostol?

Both the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol and misoprostol-only are effective options. However, if available and affordable to you, the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol should be your preferred choice.

How effective is misoprostol and how effective is misoprostol + mifepristone?

98 women in 100 will have a complete abortion if mifepristone and misoprostol are used. About 95 women in 100 will have a complete abortion if only misoprostol is used.

Why do I need to take more misoprostol if I take mifepristone first?

Mifepristone and misoprostol are used together because the pills complement each other. The medicine used in misoprostol works by relaxing and opening the cervix (the opening to the uterus) and causing the uterus to contract, which pushes out the pregnancy.

Will anybody know that I had an abortion using the abortion pill?

If you use misoprostol pills under your tongue, no one will be able to tell you used abortion pills, as you will swallow everything after 30 minutes. If someone asks, you can say you had a natural miscarriage. If you use misoprostol vaginally, the coating of the pill may not dissolve completely for a day or two. If you need to seek urgent medical care within 48 hours since you used misoprostol vaginally, the healthcare provider may see the white coating of the pill in your vagina. This is why HowToUse suggests using misoprostol under your tongue and not inside your vagina.

Abortion Pill Contraindications

Under what circumstances should I avoid taking abortion pills at home?

You should avoid using abortion pills at home if you are more than 11 weeks pregnant; if you are allergic to mifepristone or misoprostol; if you have serious health problems, including blood-clotting problems; or if you believe or know that the pregnancy is growing outside the womb (ectopic pregnancy).

Side Effects and Complications
of Abortion Pills

How much bleeding and cramping is normal after taking misoprostol?

For some women, after taking misoprostol cramping is very strong – much more painful than menstrual cramps (if you have menstrual cramps) and the bleeding is much heavier than a menstrual period. You might pass blood clots up to the size of lemons in the first few hours after taking misoprostol. For other women, cramping is mild and bleeding is like a normal menstrual period.

What if I don’t bleed after taking misoprostol?

Seek medical care if you don’t bleed or have little bleeding followed by severe pain (particularly in the right shoulder) that is not relieved by ibuprofen. This can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that is located outside of the uterus). While this is rare, it can be life threatening. You can also contact our friends at www.abortpill.com to speak to a trained abortion counselor if you are concerned that the abortion was not successful.

What if I bleed too much after taking the abortion pill?

Seek medical care if ou have taken the abortion pill (misoprostol and/or mifepristone) and soak through 2 regular pads per hour for 2 hours in a row after you think you have passed the pregnancy. Soaking through means that the pad is saturated with blood front-to-back, side-to-side, and through-and-through.

What can I do to manage any pain after taking the abortion pill?

Take 3-4 pills (200 mg) every 6-8 hours to help alleviate your pain after taking the abortion pill(s). Remember that you can also take ibuprofen before using misoprostol, too.

Can I eat normally after taking the abortion pill?

After the misoprostol has dissolved, you can eat as you like. Dry food (e.g. crackers or toast) may help with the nausea, while green leafy vegetables, eggs, and red meat can help recover the minerals lost during the abortion.

Can I drink liquids normally after taking the abortion pill?

After the misoprostol has dissolved, you can drink any liquid you like (except alcohol).

Can I drink alcohol during and after taking the abortion pill?

Alcohol should be avoided during the treatment to avoid affecting the efficiency of misoprostol and/or mifepristone. Alcohol may also cause increased uterine bleeding in some cases and decrease the effectiveness of other medicines taken to reduce pain or infection (for women dealing with complications). In general, it is recommended to avoid alcohol until you confirm the abortion is complete and you are feeling in good health.

How long does it take for the side effects of the abortion pill to go away?

Most women will pass the pregnancy within about 4 – 5 hours after taking the abortion pills and feel better in less than 24 hours. It is normal to continue to see light bleeding and spotting until your next period in about 3 – 4 weeks after taking the abortion pills.

Is it normal to feel sick or nauseous after taking misoprostol?

It is normal to feel sick to your stomach, have diarrhea, chills, or even feel like you have a fever after taking misoprostol. Most women report they know when they have passed the pregnancy because the bleeding slows down, and they start to feel much better.

What should I do if I am still pregnant after taking the abortion pill?

Some women may need to have a surgical procedure if they’re still pregnant after taking the abortion pills. Remember! Treatment for an incomplete abortion is widely available around the world. You have the right to this service, even if abortion is legally restricted in your country.

Abortion and Future Fertility

How soon can I get pregnant again after a medical abortion?

You can get pregnant again as soon as 8 days after a medical abortion with the abortion pills. If you have sex, you should consider using contraceptives to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

Will the abortion pill cause birth defects in a baby I have in the future?

No, abortion pills do not cause birth defects in future pregnancies.

Will taking the abortion pill make it harder for me to get pregnant in the future?

No, having an abortion with pills (misoprostol and/or mifepristone) will not make it harder to get pregnant in the future.

Other FAQs

Is abortion a method to prevent pregnancy?

Abortion methods should not be confused with methods to prevent pregnancy (contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception). Contraceptive methods work by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg) or by stopping the egg and sperm from meeting. Contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception, cannot be used to terminate or interrupt an established pregnancy. You can visit www.findmymethod.org to learn more about contraceptive methods.

What is the difference between the abortion pill and the morning-after pill (emergency contraception)?

Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are a safe and effective means of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. They work by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg) or by stopping the egg and sperm from meeting. ECPs will not terminate or interrupt an established pregnancy. ECPs are different from medical abortion regimens (which include mifepristone and misoprostol). Both treatments are of critical importance for women’s reproductive health globally.

Is medical abortion the same thing as abortion pills? Is medical abortion the same as surgical abortion?

There are two common types of abortion methods:
1) Medical abortion: Medical abortions use pharmacological drugs to terminate the pregnancy. Sometimes the terms “non-surgical abortion” or “abortion with pills” are also used.
2) Surgical abortion: In surgical abortion procedures, a qualified professional will empty the uterus through the cervix to terminate the pregnancy. These procedures include manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and dilatation and evacuation (D&E).

How can I contact you for more information?

For additional information, you can contact our team at [email protected].

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