How the Medical Abortion Pill 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 the medical abortion pill 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?
Below are a few ways to recognize that you passed the pregnancy tissue after taking the abortion pills:
- You might be able to identify the pregnancy tissue as small dark colored grapes and thin membranes.
- The pregnancy tissue may also look like a small sac surrounded by a white, fluffy layer.
Depending on the age of the pregnancy, the tissues can be smaller than your fingernail, or up to the size of your thumb.
If you can identify these tissues, it 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 carefully. If you have diarrhea because of the abortion pills, it might be more difficult to identify the tissue. Don’t worry if this happens. It’s a normal side effect.
- “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.