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What Are the Risks of the Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill, also called RU486, is a method used to terminate pregnancies that have progressed up to 10 weeks and shed the uterine lining

Read below to understand the science and any associated risks if you choose this option.

How Does the Abortion Pill Work?

The first step is taking a pill called mifepristone, which blocks progesterone from increasing so that the pregnancy will stop growing.

Within the next 48 hours misoprostol, the second pill that forces bleeding and cramping, is taken. This forces the uterus to contract so that it will expel the pregnancy from the uterus.

What Should I Expect? 

You likely will not experience discomfort after the first pill, mifepristone, but it’s not uncommon to feel nauseous or start bleeding. 

After taking the second pill, misoprostol, whose purpose is to empty the uterine lining, you can expect cramping and heavy bleeding. It’s not abnormal to see large clots of blood.

Most people compare medication abortion to the feeling of an early miscarriage. 

Is it Safe?

Any medical procedure will always pose a type of risk. Here is a list of potential side-effects listed by the Mayo Clinic: 

  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Additionally, medical abortions should be avoided if you have any of the following pre-existing conditions:

  • An intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Allergies to the medications used in the medical abortion
  • Heart, blood vessel, liver, kidney, or lung diseases
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Use of blood thinners or steroid medications

With such a personal decision, you should take precautions before having a medication abortion. 

For example, an ultrasound scan will help determine if you qualify for a medication abortion, or STI testing can reveal if you are at an increased risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.  

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