THE ABORTION PILL
If you have an unplanned pregnancy which you have confirmed, and are considering an abortion, while CAPS Pregnancy Clinics do not perform or refer for abortions, we can offer education on the types of abortions available—including medical abortion procedures and risks, and your legal rights.
The use of the Abortion Pill (RU-486) is considered a medical abortion; it is a combination of two drugs—mifepristone and misoprostol—designed to induce an abortion. It should not be used if it has been more than 7 weeks since your last period (some clinics will perform this procedure up to 9 weeks). Please note that it is not the same as the “morning after pill” – the morning after pill is an emergency contraceptive while the abortion pill is intended for women who are pregnant already. Medical abortions are so named because they are entirely dependent on doses of medicine for induction; as such, undergoing a medical abortion is subject to the judgment of the medical professional providing it.
The first pill, mifepristone, is taken orally and blocks the hormone progesterone needed to maintain the pregnancy. The second pill, misoprostol, should be taken orally as suggested by the manufacturer. Some clinics instruct you to insert it into the vagina 24 hours later; if they recommend you insert it vaginally, be sure your hand and your vaginal area are clean to avoid causing an infection. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract and expel the placenta and embryo. The contractions usually start 4 to 8 hours after taking the misoprostol.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- Abortion pill side effects can include heavy bleeding, fever, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping.
- Most medical abortions using mifepristone are completed within in a few days. You may experience bleeding that lasts 7-10 days after taking the medication and should contact a physician if your bleeding continues past then. Ru-486 or the abortion pill may bring about other adverse effects so it is important to get in touch with a physician if any of these occurs.
- Two weeks later, you must return to the clinic for an ultrasound to be sure all the contents of the uterus are expelled.
- If this method fails, a surgical abortion will be required for successful abortion of the fetus.
- The abortion pill is reversible and CAPS can help reverse it – however, you must make the decision to reverse it within hours of taking the abortion pill (though success has been reported in a window of up to 72 hours.)
- If you are unsure about what to do with your pregnancy, do not take the abortion pill spontaneously or on a whim. If you are having second thoughts about the pill and more than 72 hours have elapsed since you took it, consider speaking with an CAPS nurse for support.
SIDE EFFECTS (POSSIBLE)—MEDICAL ABORTION:
- Intense cramping of the uterus/pelvic pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fever and infection
- Emotional/psychological distress
- Hemorrhaging requiring treatment with an operation
- Incomplete removal of the fetus, placenta or contents of the uterus
Be especially vigilant following a medical abortion as excessive bleeding is a possible (but rare) symptom and could be indicative of hemorrhaging (as mentioned above) and therefore will demand immediate medical attention. If you think you are hemorrhaging (bleeding excessively with no end in sight) immediately see a medical professional, as this is a life threatening condition.
In cases when a medical abortion fails to terminate the pregnancy, a surgical abortion will become necessary to complete the abortion.
If you believe that abortion is the right choice for you then carefully research the clinic you intend to have the procedure performed at; make sure the provider is a licensed medical clinic. Find out if a licensed OB/GYN physician will be performing the procedure. See what type of after-care, both physical and emotional, they provide, if any. Try to speak with someone who has used the services of that provider in order to find out what their experience was like.
We also recommend STD testing to prevent an active STD infection from spreading. You will also want a blood test to find out your blood type. If you are Rh-, you will need an injection of Rhogam so there won’t be an effect on future pregnancies.
CAPS also suggests that you know your legal rights. To receive information on patient rights, or on how to learn more about RU-486, please call or schedule an appointment with our professional staff for a confidential consultation at one of our San Diego clinics. Your personal health is important to us.
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