If your period is late, there is a possibility you may be pregnant. If being pregnant is entirely unexpected, you might be considering the abortion pill or perhaps Plan B. It’s essential to know the difference between the two medications for your health and safety. 

Finding Out If You’re Pregnant

Before you search for the abortion pill or purchase Plan B, it is important to verify you’re pregnant. At Alpha Center, we offer free and confidential lab-quality pregnancy testing. Even if you’ve already taken an at-home test, receiving verification of the result is crucial. 

If applicable to your situation, Alpha Center can offer a free, limited ultrasound after receiving a positive result during a pregnancy test and consultation. A pregnancy test only indicates the possibility of pregnancy, but an ultrasound can confirm it. 

An ultrasound provides critical information about a pregnancy, such as viability, location and gestational age. During an ultrasound scan, the medical team will be looking for a detectable heartbeat and for an embryo implanted in the uterus. They will also take measurements to determine the gestational age, or how far along a pregnancy is. This information is important for determining the next steps.

If a heartbeat isn’t detected or the pregnancy is growing outside of the uterus, further medical assistance may be necessary for miscarriage management or ectopic pregnancy treatment.The Mayo Clinic reports that up to 20% of known pregnancies end in a natural miscarriage. A woman can get a positive result on a pregnancy test for days or weeks after experiencing a miscarriage.  

The Abortion Pill

The abortion pill is a chemical method for abortion and is used to terminate an existing pregnancy. The procedure uses two drugs to end a pregnancy: mifepristone and misoprostol. The FDA has approved the abortion pill method through 70 days gestation (70 days or less since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period) or 10 weeks of pregnancy.

The abortion pill is a two-drug process. The first drug, mifepristone, works to block the hormone progesterone. Every pregnancy needs progesterone for the embryo to grow and develop, so without it, the pregnancy ends. The second drug, misoprostol, causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo from the body. 

Like any medication, the abortion pill has side effects and potential risks. The main side effects of taking the abortion pill include heavy bleeding and cramping. Other common side effects are diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. An incomplete abortion is also a potential risk and could lead to prolonged bleeding, fever and infection that needs to be treated by a medical professional. 

Plan B 

Plan B, also called the “morning-after” pill, is considered a form of emergency contraception used to prevent pregnancy. It should never be used as a regular or frequent form of contraception and it doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). If ovulation has already occurred and the egg has been released, it could prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization) by slowing their movement. However, if fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the lining of the uterus (implantation).

According to the National Institute of Health, Plan B must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex for it to be effective.

Plan B has been shown to be less effective for women who are overweight or obese, have an allergy to its ingredients or are taking certain medications. Plan B’s side effects and risks include nausea or vomiting, dizziness, bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding, and lower abdominal pain or cramps.

Your Next Step

If you think you might be pregnant, start by visiting Alpha Center for free and confidential pregnancy testing and limited ultrasound. You’ll get accurate results and learn how far you are in your pregnancy. In addition, we can review your pregnancy options.

You need someone you can trust and somewhere you feel safe. Let the caring staff at Alpha Center help you. Schedule your free and confidential appointment today.

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