About Medical Abortion
Many countries have laws surrounding the availability of abortion and the use of abortion pills. In countries where abortion is not restricted, most doctors recommend using the medications mifepristone and misoprostol in the first 11 weeks of a pregnancy, but misoprostol by itself is also highly effective in the first 11 weeks. The symptoms of an abortion with pills are very similar to a spontaneous miscarriage, and an abortion with pills is safe for women to use privately.
The medicine used in medication abortion pills works by relaxing and opening the cervix (opening to the uterus), and causing the uterus to contract, which pushes out the pregnancy.
With misoprostol, usually within 1 to 2 hours of the first set of pills being absorbed into your body, you will start cramping and bleeding. The abortion usually happens within 24 hours of taking the last pills of misoprostol. Often, it happens before that.
If you are concerned, you may be able to tell when you pass the pregnancy tissue. It may look like small dark colored grapes and thin membranes; or a small sac surrounded by a white, fluffy layer. Depending on the age of the pregnancy, these tissues can be smaller than your fingernail, up to the size of your thumb. If you can identify these tissues, that is an indication that the abortion is successful. Often, pregnancy tissue may be wrapped in blood clots. You may not see it unless you look very carefully.
- “All About the Abortion Pill | Misoprostol & Mifepristone.” Carafem, carafem.org/abortion-pill
- “Allow English women to take medical abortion pill at home, say doctors.” The BMJ. https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2879
- “Comparison of 400 mcg buccal and 400 mcg sublingual misoprostol after mifepristone medical abortion through 63 days LMP: a randomized controlled trial.” Contraception. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21074013