What Are the Risks of the Abortion Pill?

If you’re considering abortion for your unexpected pregnancy, we’re glad you are asking about potential risks first. The abortion pill has some physical risks, such as heavy, prolonged bleeding and severe cramping. Plus, you may experience mental health issues like depression. Get as much information as you can before taking your next step.

How Does the Abortion Pill Work?

The abortion pill method uses two drugs to terminate a pregnancy. All pregnancies require progesterone to develop. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks progesterone, causing the pregnancy to end. Misoprostol, the second drug, produces contractions to expel the pregnancy from the body through the vagina.  You will be required to deliver and dispose of your pregnancy.

Can I Use the Abortion Pill Any Time During My Pregnancy?

The FDA approves the use of the abortion pill method (also known as a medication abortion) through 10 weeks gestation only (70 days or less since the first day of a patient’s last menstrual period).

Mifepristone becomes less effective the farther you get in your pregnancy. In fact, some experts suggest not using this method past nine weeks.  If you’re pregnancy is further along than 10 weeks, Mifepristone may not work and you will require surgical intervention to complete your abortion.

Are There Risks?

Every abortion procedure is a serious medical decision with the potential for risks. 

Potential Physical Risks

The Mayo Clinic recommends not using this method for the following reasons:

  • You are too far along in your pregnancy. You risk the drugs not working at all, or you have an incomplete abortion.
  • An IUD is used for contraception.
  • You have an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy located outside the uterus – this should be determined with an ultrasound.)
  • You have certain medical conditions such as heart, blood vessel, liver, kidney, or lung disease.
  • You take a blood thinner or specific medications.
  • You can’t make follow-up visits to the abortion provider, or you don’t have access to emergency care. This is especially important if you use the abortion pill method in your home.

You may experience heavy and prolonged bleeding, severe cramping, fever, or infection.  If you experience these symptoms, seek emergency medical care immediately and advise your medical provider that you took the abortion pill.

Potential Emotional Risks

Mental health issues are tied directly to abortion for some women. One study found the following:

  • Women with a history of abortion have consistently higher rates of mental illness compared to women without a history of abortion.
  • A pre-existing mental illness identifies women at greatest risk of mental health problems after abortion.
  • Some women experience relationship problems, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, grief, a sense of loss, suicidal thoughts, and PTSD.

What Should I Do Next?

Before any abortion, we recommend confirming your pregnancy with a pregnancy test and ultrasound. Even if you have already taken a home test, come to Attleboro Women’s Health Center for free pregnancy testing. It’s essential to get a second opinion. 

If your Attleboro pregnancy test is positive, and your are 6+ weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period, our Care Team will offer you a free limited ultrasound. The ultrasound reveals how far along you are in your pregnancy, which you need to know to qualify for the abortion pill. You’ll also learn the pregnancy’s location and if it’s viable (developing) or if you have miscarried (over 25% of all pregnancies end in a natural miscarriage).

You can conveniently schedule your free appointment through our online contact form, call us at 508-455-0172, or text 774-340-0502. Same-day appointments may be available. We’ll discuss your situation, answer your questions, and hopefully assist you in making a confident decision for your future.