Abortion Pills | Everything You Need To Know


Medication abortions, also commonly known as “abortion pills” are an effective way to terminate an implanted pregnancy. There are two kinds of abortions – medical abortions and surgical abortions. This article answers all the important questions regarding abortion pills.

“Aspiration abortions” is another name for surgical abortions. The initial 14 weeks after the last period is the best time to perform these. Only a trained medical health professional should perform a surgical abortion.

Abortion pills should only be obtained through trusted abortion clinics and doctors, and not through unreliable sources like the black market. Their costs might vary according to your location.

1. What are Abortion Pills?

Mifepristone and misoprostol are the two abortion pills that are used to end a pregnancy. It is a completely safe alternative to surgical abortions. Abortion pills can be used to terminate a pregnancy after up to 11 weeks from the first day of the last period.

Mifepristone should be taken first and should be followed by misoprostol (also called Cytotec). When taken together they increase the efficacy of medical abortion and can decrease the severity and durability of the adverse effects.

2. Are Abortion Pills the Right Option For Me?

Under certain circumstances, abortion pills might not be the safest option for you. This mainly includes women with pre-existing health concerns. Abortion pills might not be ideal for women who:

  • Have an ectopic pregnancy (implantation outside the uterus)
  • Have a molar pregnancy (abnormal placenta development)
  • Are on necessary steroids
  • Have bleeding disorders
  • Are on medications that treat or inhibit blood clots
  • Have a pelvic infection
  • Are allergic to mifepristone or misoprostol
  • Might be unable to access emergency medical care, if needed
  • Have adrenal failure
  • Are on medicines that reduce the action of the immune system (prednisone or cortisone)

If your pregnancy has exceeded the 10-week mark, consider talking to a doctor about the risks it can entail.

3. Why do People Choose Abortion Pills?

The kind of abortion you want is a completely personal choice based on the circumstance. However, some people opt for abortion pills due to benefits like:

  • They can be used in any place where you feel the most comfortable
  • Anyone you would like to can accompany you

Another common reason is that abortion pills basically induce a miscarriage. Thus, they feel a lot less invasive and more natural than surgical abortion.

4. How do Abortion Pills Work?

As mentioned above, a medical abortion involves taking two medicines – mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone inhibits the production of progesterone in a woman’s body.

Progesterone is a particularly important sex hormone, especially during pregnancy. It is responsible for letting the pregnancy flow. Therefore, by inhibiting its production, you also inhibit the growth of the pregnancy.

The next medicine to take is misoprostol. You can take it immediately after or before 48 hours of taking mifepristone. This medicine is responsible for causing contractions in the uterus.

These contractions lead to a breakdown of the uterine lining which means that you might experience some heavy bleeding. This completely hollows out the uterus.

The bleeding might feel a lot like a very heavy and clumpy period. You are likely to notice huge blood clots as well. This heavy bleeding is the reason why abortion pills make it feel a lot like an early miscarriage.

If you end up saturating 4 large pads in 2 hours or less, contact the clinic immediately. This might mean too much bleeding. On the other hand, if you do not experience bleeding at all after the second medicine, visit the clinic to check with a doctor.

5. How Long Does it Take for Abortion Pills to Work?

On an average, the pregnancy passes within 48 hours. It takes somewhere between 30 minutes to 4 hours for it to pass after the second medicine. The woman might experience some light bleeding and cramps for a few days after.

6. What is the Efficiency of Abortion Pills?

These pills have proven to be successful 96 – 98 times out of 100. It is important to take both the pills to ensure maximum efficacy.

However, there are a few factors that can affect the efficiency rate. These are – previous pregnancies, how far along is the pregnancy, and the dose and administration of the pills.

The older the pregnancy, the lower will the effectiveness rate be. To give you a rough idea, here is an example of how this can work:

  • Pregnancy time: 8 weeks or less
    Efficacy: 94 to 98 out of 100 times
  • Pregnancy time: 8 to 9 weeks
    Efficacy: 94 to 96 out of 100 times
  • Pregnancy time: 9 to 10 weeks
    Efficacy: 91 to 93 out of 100 times

An extra dose of medicine can result in efficacy 99 out of 100 times

  • Pregnancy time: 10 to 11 weeks
    Efficacy: 87 out of 100 times

An extra dose of medicine can result in efficacy of 98 out of 100 times

Even though the efficiency rate of abortion pills is high during early pregnancy, it is still possible that it might not work. In that case, the doctor might ask the woman to retake the pills or go through a surgical abortion as per the circumstances.

7. Are There Any Complications to Look Out for When Taking Pills?

The chances that a woman might experience complications are extremely rare. However, it is not impossible. Some of the possible complications are:

  • Extreme bleeding
    Light bleeding is normal but if you have saturated 4 large pads within 2 hours of taking the pills, immediately contact a doctor.
  • Infection
    If your fever lasts for more than 4 hours after the second pill or if it begins after 24 hours, it might be an infection. You can also get infected if you participate in intercourse soon after the abortion pills.
  • Incomplete abortion
    Very few people face an incomplete abortion after taking both the pills. If you face an incomplete abortion the doctor might suggest the surgical route.

8. Is it Safe to Take Abortion Pills During Breastfeeding?

Yes. Abortion pills have no severe effects on the infant or the mother if taken during breastfeeding. But Misoprostol might cause diarrhea in the infant after 24 hours.

9. Is There a Right Way to Take Abortion Pills?

Yes, the only correct way to take the pills is to place them between your cheek and gums inside your mouth. You should not suck on them or place them below the tongue.

10. Can I Change My Mind After Taking the Pills?

The process of abortion begins as soon as you take the first pill. However, since it lacks efficiency when taken alone, there are chances that it might not work. There is still a high risk of the child having birth defects if the pregnancy is carried to term after the first pill.

Thus, it is important to be sure of your decision before you start with the medical abortion to avoid any complications later. Consult a counselor if needed.


An important thing to understand is the distinction between abortion pills and morning-after pills. The former terminates an implanted egg while the latter prevents pregnancy. The morning after pill has to be taken within 48 hours after the sexual activity for maximum effectiveness.

Abortion pills are considered a completely safe method to terminate a pregnancy. It has been used by millions of women over the years with few to no complications.