How it Works
The medicine used in medical 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.
Concerned After Taking Abortion Pills?
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.
- “Induced Abortion.” American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.
- “Care for Women Choosing Medication Abortion.” The Nurse Practitioner.
- “Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems.”The World Health Organization.