If you’re searching for pregnancy options, you may have heard about the abortion pill. Everything you’ve read online and heard makes it sound simple and straightforward. Just order the pills and complete the abortion at home. Super easy, right?

But do you really know what the abortion pill is? Like any medical decision, it is best to be fully informed about the process and all potential side effects and risks. Get the facts before you begin the abortion pill process.

How Does the Abortion Pill Work?

The abortion pill, also known as a chemical or medical abortion, is a two-pill process that uses two different drugs to terminate a pregnancy. How far along you are in your pregnancy determines whether you qualify for the abortion pill. The FDA has approved the use of the abortion pill up to 70 days gestation (or 10 weeks of pregnancy), which is measured from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period. An ultrasound is the only way to provide an accurate gestational age. 

The first pill, mifepristone (Mifeprex or RU-486), blocks the hormone progesterone which is naturally produced in the body. All pregnancies require progesterone to progress; without it, the pregnancy cannot be sustained. 

The second pill is misoprostol (Cytotec). This pill is taken 24 to 48 hours after the first pill, mifepristone. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract to expel the embryo.

What Are the Side Effects and Risks?

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, a trigger law prohibiting elective abortion went into effect in South Dakota. To obtain abortion pills, women must turn to outside sources, often ordering pills online from unknown or foreign sources without having seen a doctor. Ordering any medication from foreign sources puts you at risk for complications. Other countries may not have the same drug regulations and safety standards as the United States. You also do not have a guarantee that the quality or dosage is the same as what a physician would prescribe. Without an in-person consultation and ultrasound, you will have no way of knowing whether or not you have a viable, intrauterine pregnancy. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the side effects and potential risks from the abortion pill include:

Side Effects

  • Vaginal Bleeding & Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Abdominal or Back Pain
  • Foul Smelling Vaginal Discharge

Potential Risks

  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Seeing embryonic parts expelled
  • Undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy 

The abortion pill method may not be an option for you if:

  • You are too far along in your pregnancy (past 10 weeks from your last period)
  • You have an IUD
  • Your pregnancy is ectopic (implanted outside the uterus)
  • You have certain medical conditions (such as heart, kidney or lung disease)
  • You can’t make a follow-up visit with a medical provider
  • You’re allergic to the abortion drugs 
  • You are anemic or have other blood disorders

We Can Assist You

If you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, contact Alpha Center for free and confidential services. We can verify your pregnancy and answer any questions about abortion and your other options. 

You and your future are important to us. Call and find out how we can help you today.

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