Science

Things You Need To Know Before Taking An Abortion Pill

By Christie Abagon , Nov 21, 2016 01:21 AM EST
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Abortion is legal in the United States, but individual states can regulate or limit the use of abortion.  There is said to be three main types of abortion: chemical, medical and surgical.  Medical abortion is preferred by women who would like to do the process in the privacy of their homes, making them feel like they are more in control.  "Some women prefer medication abortion because it can be more private, since the abortion occurs at home," Caitlin Weber, M.D., a family physician specializing in family medicine said.

The Abortion Pill Has Two Medicines, And It Could Be Costly

If a woman decides to terminate her pregnancy through medication abortion, she has to take two separate medications.  The first is mifepristone, also known as the pill RU-486, which starts the process of safely terminating a pregnancy.  The second is misoprostol taken at home 24 to 48 hours later. 

"Mifepristone blocks the receptors for progesterone, which is the principal hormone in pregnancy.  Since progesterone can't do its job to continue the pregnancy, essentially, the pregnancy stops growing.  Like in a miscarriage that happens without the aid of medication, the body will start to cramp and push out a pregnancy that has stopped growing.  To ensure it's done safely, we add misoprostol so the risks of heavy bleeding and infection are reduced," Leah Torres, M.D., an ob/gyn practicing in Salt Lake City, Utah, explained. 

The abortion pills can cost up to $800, depending on where you are and where you're getting them, but different clinics may have funds to help you out.

Huge Blood Clots And Other Unpleasant Side Effects

It usually takes up to six hours for the abortion to be completed after taking the second pill.  The whole process should be completed about a few days, during which time you may expel big blood clots or tissue as the pregnancy aborts, so it's good to rest while this is happening.  Patients may also experience nausea and cramping.  "We provide medications to help control cramping, like Ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil to help with cramping," Weber says.

Do NOT Get Abortion Pills Online Without Input From A Medical Practitioner

"Obtaining the abortion pill without the guidance of a medical practitioner is dangerous, just as I would say obtaining depression medication without the guidance of a medical practitioner is dangerous," Torres says. "You could do yourself a lot of harm by not having a proper evaluation." 

"It's always best to know what your options and resources are before you have an emergency," Torres added. "I would highly recommend people at least contact Planned Parenthood or a health care professional to ask questions and have a plan in place, because birth control can fail. You want to know as quickly as possible which options and resources are available to you."

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