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We discuss safety and set your expectations if you choose to take the abortion pill

The at-home abortion process (also called home abortions, chemical abortions, or medication abortions) in the United States is a two-step process.

First, a medication called mifepristone is taken. This medication causes your body to stop giving nourishment to the fetus. You may start feeling sick after taking this medicine; nausea or bleeding may occur. In the United States, it is common that this first pill be taken at your doctor’s office or clinic.

So The Question Is: Are At Home Abortions Safe?

Taking The Abortion Pill At Home
What Happens After I Take The Abortion Pill

Here’s What Happens After The First Pill

A second medication called misoprostol is taken typically within 48 hours of taking the mifepristone. Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding from the uterus, in order to expel the fetus from the womb. In the United States, it is common that these pills be given to you for you to take home.

Effects To Your Body After Both Abortion Pills

During an at-home abortion, you may experience a lot of stomach cramping, heavy bleeding, headaches, nausea, fever, and severe pain. All of these things can be very dangerous and should be addressed by a doctor immediately. Side effects vary from person to person, and can range from just painful to incredibly dangerous, which is why it is very important that you communicate with your doctor what medicine you have taken and an accurate timeline of when you took it.

Caution About The Abortion Pills

Abortion pills also have a “black box label” from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which is the highest level of caution available for medicine. For these reasons, we do not advise that you have an abortion at home, because there are many possible complications that could arise that require immediate medical attention.

FDA Black Box Warning

You should not buy Mifeprex over the Internet because you will bypass important safeguards designed to protect your health (and the health of others). Non-FDA approved drugs carry risks above and beyond expected side effects.

More Information About What Women Experience During An At Home Abortion

Many people need pain medication for this procedure. The average medical abortion patient complained of pain higher than 6 on a scale of 1 to 11, with 2 out of 10 women saying their pain was a 10.5 Bleeding from the medication abortion may last up to two weeks, with spotting likely for a month. It is important to realize this is not just like “getting your period.” Rather, this procedure can be physically—and emotionally—traumatic.

Reasons To Tell Your Doctor You Are Considering An At-Home Abortion

Some online providers of abortion pills will encourage you to be dishonest with your doctor about what pills you took and why. If you have taken these pills it is important to seek follow-up medical care and to be completely honest with your provider. Save any packaging or order information in case they have questions or concerns. Your doctor can only help you if they have all of the information, especially in the event of a medical emergency. Being dishonest with your doctor prevents them from being able to effectively help you.

Licensed medical providers often prescribe antibiotics along with the abortion pills, but you will not have access to a prescription for antibiotics if you are getting abortion pills through the mail. This may put you at higher risk of infection. An infection might begin with symptoms like high fever and pain, but it can progress to a life-threatening condition called sepsis, which has been linked to major illness—and even death—after a medication abortion. Infection complications can also lead to future fertility problems, so it is very important that you communicate with your doctor and be honest about the medicine you took for your medication abortion and where you got the pills from.

Potential Long-Term Effects Of A Medication Abortion

A medication abortion can be harmful if you are further along in your pregnancy than you think you are, so it is vital that you not attempt an at-home abortion until you have had your pregnancy confirmed with an ultrasound.

Having a medication abortion when you are later in your pregnancy than you think can cause symptoms similar to those already mentioned, but it could even result in a life-threatening complication such as your uterus rupturing. Abortion pills may also be ineffective, and you may unknowingly remain pregnant, or you could be left with retained products of conception (pieces of placenta or fetal body parts) inside your body that can result in infection and other problems.

Conditions such as an ectopic pregnancy, in which your pregnancy is progressing in the wrong part of your body, would also make at-home abortion attempts especially dangerous. You will not know you have these conditions without a doctor’s help, which you don’t have in a self-managed abortion.

As with any medication, you may also experience an undiagnosed allergy. If you are allergic to either the active ingredient in the abortion pills or an inactive ingredient, you may have a dangerous reaction such as hives, rash, fever, or anaphylaxis (inability to breathe properly). If you are not under a doctor’s care, an allergy can more easily turn deadly.

It is important that you communicate with your licensed medical provider about your pregnancy before you attempt an at-home abortion. Make sure that your pregnancy has been confirmed through an ultrasound so that you know exactly how many weeks pregnant you are. Be honest with your provider about what medication you have taken and when you took it, so that they are able to provide you with the best care possible. Being dishonest will not help you.

At-home abortions can be physical and emotionally traumatic. They are not like “just getting your period,” but rather are medical procedures with extensive side effects and potential complications. Make sure that you have all of the accurate information before attempting an abortion at home.

Do you want to know what your options are and hear honest information about abortion? Go to optionline.org and find a pregnancy center near you.

Getting Help

Select the options below that best match your needs. There are many resources available to help you. Don’t rush this decision; an abortion of any type can have both short-term and long-term side effects.

Contact Us Any Time For Confidential Help

Please note that it may take us up to 48 hours to respond. If you need immediate assistance call Option Line at 1-800-712-4357 or text HELPLINE to 313131.

Have you already taken the abortion pill? Click here for help.

If you are in an unsafe or dangerous situation or if you are being threatened, please call 911 or go to an emergency medical facility.

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Sarah M. Bowen.

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