At-Home Abortion & Your Options
While skipping the abortion clinic and ordering online may look like an easy, stress-free, safe option, Skylark is here to help you understand the risks involved, what not to do, the information you need to know ahead of time, what to expect, and what to do if things go wrong at home.
Your best first step is an ultrasound to confirm a viable intrauterine pregnancy and rule out an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening. An ultrasound can also tell you how far along you are. This information can determine how many pills are needed to terminate the pregnancy.
What is Medication Abortion / the Abortion Pill?
The abortion pill (also called medication abortion) is an alternative to surgical methods of terminating a pregnancy. Medication abortion ends pregnancy through a combination of two prescription drugs taken as pills. It is not intended to be used beyond 70 days from your last period. The abortion pill is not the same thing as the Morning After Pill or Plan B.
Possible Ways It May Affect Your Health:
- Side effects may include heavy bleeding, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping.
- If you are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition, the abortion pill will not be effective.
- If you currently have an IUD in place, you cannot take the abortion pill.
- In a surgical abortion, the patient does not see the products of conception.
- In a medication abortion, the fetus is usually expelled while you are alone. For some women, this is very traumatic.
How does it work?
The two medications involved in a medication abortion are mifepristone and misoprostol. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks the hormone progesterone that the body needs for a pregnancy to continue developing. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours later and causes cramping that expels the fetus and the contents of the uterus over a period of about 12 days. Typically, this is done at home, and the woman self-manages the process. According to the FDA, the approved dosing regimen is as follows:
- On Day One: 200 mg of Mifeprex taken by mouth
- 24 to 48 hours after taking Mifeprex: 800 mcg of misoprostol taken buccally (in the cheek pouch) at a location appropriate for the patient
- About seven to fourteen days after taking Mifeprex: follow-up with the healthcare provider
Because of the risk of serious complications, the abortion pill is only available through a restricted program. This program requires abortion providers to warn patients about the risks and what to do if complications happen. The FDA warns patients not to buy the abortion pill (Name brand or generic) over the internet because you will bypass necessary safeguards designed to protect your health. Drugs purchased from overseas internet locations are not the FDA-approved versions of the drugs and do not undergo the same inspections and controls to ensure quality.
Women who have taken the abortion pill should seek immediate medical care for the below symptoms as they could be a sign of serious complications:
- Sustained fever, severe abdominal pain, prolonged heavy bleeding, or fainting.
- Abdominal pain or discomfort or general malaise (“feeling sick,” including weakness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, with or without fever) for more than 24 hours after taking the second pill.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information (2021). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information
Support After Abortion, “Study Shows Long-Term Negative Impact of Medication Abortion,” (2022), Retrieved from https://supportafterabortion.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Study-Shows-Long-Term-Negative-Impact-of-Medication-Abortion.pdf