For as long as there have been legal restrictions on abortion, there have been abortions performed outside of clinics and hospitals. Historically, these types of abortions could be very dangerous for women, as they were often done by untrained providers or in unsanitary conditions.
But where to start? Accurate information about abortion can be hard to find, even more so when you’re looking to have an abortion on your own terms. To help fill that information gap, we’ve put together the guide below for having a safe abortion at home.
Confirm The Pregnancy
There are many possible signs of early pregnancy, but if and how women experience these symptoms vary significantly. A missed menstrual period is perhaps the most reliable indication of pregnancy, but even that may have other explanations.
Testing for pregnancy with an at-home urine pregnancy test is a quick, discreet, affordable way to confirm a pregnancy. You can read more about early pregnancy and early termination here.
Calculate The Pregnancy’s Length In Week
Once you’ve determined that you’re pregnant, it is critical to know how far along the pregnancy is. This can be a deceptive calculation to make. To measure the length of a pregnancy in weeks, you start counting all the way back at the first day of your last menstrual period. You can learn more on our step-by-step blog for calculating pregnancy.
The following information and instructions we provide for safe abortion are designed for pregnancies within the first 10 weeks. If you are past that window, you can read more about safe options near you on our country profiles , or visit our friends at www.womenhelp.org.
Review Any Considerations That May Be Specific To You
Are you anemic? Breastfeeding? Have an IUD? There are many different reasons that some women may want to consider their medical abortion more closely than others. We share all of these reasons and offer solutions on the Considerations section of our website.
Get Access To Safe, Effective Abortion Pills
There are a few different options when it comes to getting safe abortion pills. Some people can get them at a local clinic, hospital, or pharmacist. Others may choose to work with online providers, like www.womenhelp.org or www.womenonweb.org .
Either way, you’ll need to make sure that you’re getting the right number of pills. An abortion using mifepristone and misoprostol together within the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy will require 1 pill of mifepristone (200mg) and 4 pills of misoprostol (200mcg each). An abortion using just misoprostol within the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy will require 12 pills of misoprostol (200mcg each).
Not sure if what you’re getting is legit? We like the different abortion pill images on this website, which can give you a visual sense of what to look for.
Read Over The Full Instructions For A Medical Abortion
Feel comfortable each step of the way. You can read full instructions for a medical abortion on the instructions page of our site .
Be Aware Of Possible Complications And Have A Safety Plan
Let’s be clear: having a medical abortion within the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy is a safe option. (In fact, it’s statistically safer than giving birth.) But like any medical process, you’ll want to have a safety plan. Visit our website to read about complications and how to handle them.
Know What To Expect During The Abortion And Plan Ahead
Knowing what to expect is key to your peace and comfort during the abortion process. Will there be cramping? Yes. Bleeding? Yes. What else? How long? Review what’s to come on the After Using The Pill page of our website .
Anticipating these realities will allow you to plan ahead for them. In fact, you can even put together a DIY abortion care kit for yourself.
Use The Abortion Pills When You’re Ready
At this point you should be informed, equipped, and prepared. Use the pills when you are ready.
Monitor Yourself Afterwards
Like we shared above, complications are rare, but you should monitor for them. You can also monitor your overall health and wellbeing. Note that bleeding can persist for several weeks after the abortion, but it should gradually get lighter and lighter as time goes on. Cramping may be most intense in the few hours after using misoprostol and should gradually lessen. Most women feel better within 24 hours.
Test To Confirm You Are No Longer Pregnant
This is not a necessary step, but some women like to follow up with a pregnancy test after the abortion to confirm that they are no longer pregnant. If you choose to use a follow-up pregnancy test, make sure you wait at least two weeks after the abortion. Hormones in the body take a while to adjust back to normal after a pregnancy, which means if you test too soon you may see a false positive result.
Claire is a teacher, reproductive rights advocate, and the manager of https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/