How does the abortion pill work

The abortion pill has been proven successful in most cases, only if taken within the first nine weeks of pregnancy from the date of implantation

Ariba Khaliq
Written by: Ariba KhaliqUpdated at: Nov 26, 2013 11:43 IST
How does the abortion pill work

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The abortion pill has been proved to be successful in most cases, only if taken within the first nine weeks of pregnancy from the date of implantation. Let us understand how the abortion pill works.

abortion pillsAll abortion pills are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Working of Abortion Pills

  • Medical abortion requires two pills. The first, mifepristone, causes the embryo to detach from the uterine wall. Most women don't feel a thing. Two days later, a pill called misoprostol contracts the uterus to expel the embryo.
  • At least two separate visits to the clinic are required. At the first appointment the abortion pill (mifepristone) is swallowed. At the second appointment misoprostol tablets are inserted into the vagina either by the woman herself or by the healthcare professional.
  • You can expect heavy bleeding, with clotting and bits of tissue, to last about two weeks. It is normal for you to have bleeding and cramping. You might also feel dizzy, feel nauseous or have to vomit, have a headache, have diarrhoea, and have temporary flushes or sweats.
  • The bleeding is unlike a normal menstrual cycle that happens in the form of spotting. In most cases, no bleeding is experienced until misoprostol is taken. This pill seals the termination and causes uterine contractions. However, one must note that bleeding, for some, continues for weeks after the termination of pregnancy. This is a cause of concern and one must visit a medical practitioner regarding it.
  • Women having a medical history of heart diseases and extremely irregular menstrual cycles are not recommended to take abortion pills.
  • All abortion pills (produced by different pharmaceutical companies) fail to function in cases of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Fitting of intra-uterine devices or performing clinical operations to terminate pregnancies often risk infections and pose higher chances of mothers’ deaths. Abortion pills are relatively safer and do not account in complications.
  • Surgeries take help of anaesthesia to make the patient numb. Abortion pills do not require any such intervention. Pain killers often increase the chances of deaths for critical patients.
  • An abortion pill is cheap and is popular in the developing countries.
  • Women having an overtly sensitive and reactive body may take more than a week to respond to pregnancy terminations. In such cases, one must keep taking the home pregnancy tests regularly and consult a doctor at the end of the week to confirm it.

Abortion pills are only 95 percent effective. If you're in the unlucky 5 percent, you can do it again or opt to have a procedure.


Read more articles on Abortion.