If you’re thinking about abortion, it’s important for you to get the most accurate information possible so you can make an informed decision. RU486, commonly known as the “abortion pill,” is one of the most common methods of aborting an unwanted or unintended pregnancy. But is the abortion pill safe? Learn more below.

How the Abortion Pill Works

Though it’s called the abortion pill, a medical abortion actually requires two pills. The first, mifepristone, causes the embryo to detach from the uterus. This leads to the death of the embryo as it is deprived of blood and nutrients from the mother. After approximately two days, a second pill, misoprostol, is taken to cause contractions in the uterus to expel the embryo. These contractions can be painful and can last up to two weeks. They also often lead to spotting and bleeding, along with discharge, as the embryo, placenta and uterine lining are expelled from your body.

Taken properly, medical abortions are about 95% effective. For the remaining 5% of women, you will need to either retake both pills and undergo the process again or have a surgical abortion procedure. Retaking the abortion pill in a short time can have more serious side effects, and surgical abortions also carry their own risks. The abortion pill is also only safe to use up to about the 10th week of pregnancy – after this point, you will have to obtain a surgical abortion instead.

How the Procedure Works

When you visit a doctor to obtain a medical abortion, it isn’t a single-visit procedure. Doctors generally require three visits for the procedure.

At the first visit, you will be given the mifepristone pills and will have to take them at the doctor’s office. The State of California also requires your doctor to give you a detailed verbal description of the process and its potential side effects.

Two days later, you will come back to the doctor’s office to take the misoprostol pills. The doctor may also evaluate you for side effects from the mifepristone and give you a second set of warnings regarding side effects from taking misoprostol.

Finally, you will need to schedule a follow-up visit two weeks after the second visit to ensure the procedure worked as planned. The doctor will likely give you an ultrasound to ensure your pregnancy has been terminated. Ultrasounds are safe and simple procedures but they can take time to administer properly.

Many women also try to order abortion pills outside of their doctor’s office, but you should know that this method is unsafe and unregulated. You should never order abortion pills online or through a party who is not a doctor – this could lead to serious dangers or even death.

Side Effects and Complications

Medical abortions can have serious side effects and complications.

Mifepristone, the first pill, generally has light side effects such as light bleeding, spotting, or cramping. Some women may also experience some nausea as the medication affects their hormone balance.

Misoprostol has much more pronounced and occasionally dangerous side effects. It’s very common to experience heavy bleeding, cramping, nausea and vomiting after taking misoprostol. Some women also run a low-grade fever of around 100 to 101 degrees.

Finally, in some cases women experience infections in their cervix and uterus as a result of the medical abortion procedure. These infections can lead to serious medical conditions such as sepsis, where toxins are carried through your blood stream and cause damage to your internal organs.

Along with physical side effects, most women experience some degree of psychological effects after an abortion. This can include depression, anxiety, and a deep sense of grief or loss. We offer peer-counseling services at our center to help women deal with these emotional side effects – contact us today to learn more.

Learn More & Get Education and Help

If you have questions about your pregnancy options or need support or information, call Calaveras Door of Hope today. We’re a non-profit organization dedicated to providing accurate educational resources about pregnancy, abortion, and parenting. Call us now at (209) 736-9600 to schedule an appointment.