Medication abortion (also called the abortion pill, MifeprexTm) is FDA approved for up to 70 days (10 weeks pregnant) after the start of your last menstrual period.
- The “pill” is actually a protocol that involves taking two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, which are taken on two different days.
- Because of the risk of complications, the FDA requires Mifeprex to only be distributed through a restricted program.1
- It is not available through a pharmacy, but is only available by a certified provider.
- The FDA strongly cautions against the use of mifepristone obtained over the Internet.1
- The abortion pill is not the same as the emergency contraception.
- For women who change their minds after taking just the mifepristone, it may be possible to rescue the pregnancy. For more information, see: The Abortion Pill Reversal.
How it works2 – The first medication, mifepristone, blocks progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone that is necessary for the pregnancy to survive. Without progesterone, the embryo eventually dies over the next several days. The second medication, misoprostol, causes bleeding and cramping, expelling the embryo and uterine contents.
Side effects2 – Cramping and bleeding are expected. Bleeding lasts an average of 9 to 16 days. Other possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, weakness, dizziness and headache.
Complications2 – In 1% of women, bleeding is so heavy a surgical procedure called a D&C is required to stop the bleeding. Life-threatening infection has occurred in a small number of women who used the abortion pill protocol. Before taking any medication, you should discuss the risks with your doctor and know what to do if complications arise.
Follow-up2 – It is important to follow-up with your doctor 1 to 2 weeks after taking this medication regime to see if an abortion has occurred and to assess for complications.
Surgical abortions are done by opening the cervix and passing instruments into the uterus to suction, grasp, pull, and scrape the pregnancy out. The exact procedure is determined by the baby’s level of growth.
Vacuum Aspiration/Suction Currettage3,4 – Up through 13 weeks LMP. Most early surgical abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia is typically used to reduce pain. The abortion involves opening the cervix, passing a tube inside the uterus, and attaching it to suction device which pulls the embryo out.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)5,6 – 14 weeks LMP and up. Most second trimester abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia, oral, or intravenous pain medications and sedation are commonly used. General anesthesia may be used, if available. Besides the need to open the cervix much wider, the main difference between this procedure and a first trimester abortion is the use of forceps to grasp fetal parts and remove the baby in pieces. D&E is associated with a much higher risk of complications compared to a first trimester surgical abortion.
D&E After Viability7,8 – 21 weeks LMP and up. This procedure typically takes 2–3 days and is associated with increased risk to the life and health of the mother. General anesthesia is usually recommended, if available. Drugs may be injected into the fetus or the amniotic fluid to stop the baby’s heart before starting the procedure. The cervix is opened wide, the amniotic sac is broken, and forceps are used to dismember the fetus. The “Intact D&E” pulls the fetus out legs first, then crushes the skull in order to remove the fetus in one piece.
Agape Pregnancy Resource Center in Round Rock, Texas understands the difficulty of facing an unplanned pregnancy. Perhaps you are considering abortion, you may have already called an abortion clinic, take time to learn more about your pregnancy options.
We provide objective, sourced information about abortion, pregnancy, and sexual health so you can make an informed decision. We understand that this is a very personal decision. We’re here to help. All services are provided at no cost to you. When you schedule an appointment, know that you are in a confidential, judgment free environment.