The Abortion Pill
If you have an appointment already scheduled for Medical Abortion at Northland Family Planning, please click here for your pre-appointment instructions, paperwork, and videos. Completing this information will significantly reduce your wait time in the clinic. Homecare Packet can also be found here. If you are scheduled for a surgical abortion, that paperwork is different and can be found here.
The Abortion Pill…in the Comfort and Privacy of Your Own Home
The Abortion Pill (RU-486 or medical abortion) is a safe way to end a pregnancy in the earliest stages without surgical abortion. This is an option for you if you are 10 weeks pregnant or less. Many people choose this method because it feels more natural. A medical abortion, prescribed by a trusted physician, is a safe way to have an at home abortion. The abortion pill is a self-managed abortion, at home, with a friend or family member, not requiring a procedure or anesthesia. You are managing your own health care, and we can guide you through your options on how to take the pills so we find what works best for you and your schedule. The abortion pill is also a good option for young people under the age of 18 who have adult support, and have never had a pelvic exam. We hope the following information will be helpful in making the choice on whether the abortion pill is the right method for you.
What is the Abortion Pill and How Does it Work?
Using a series of carefully prescribed pills, a medication abortion terminates a pregnancy in the privacy of your home and allows you to have loved ones around you.
The first pill you are given is called mifepristone and is taken in our office. This pill stops the pregnancy from growing. The second set of medications and pain medication are given to you to take at home. These expel the pregnancy.
Is the Abortion Pill Method Right for You?
- The abortion takes place over time; you can choose to complete it in one day or two, whatever works best for your schedule
- You will expel the pregnancy at home
- A follow-up visit and ultrasound is necessary to ensure that the abortion is complete (included in your original fee)
What to Expect at Your Appointment
Before you come in, we recommend you complete your paperwork in advance to help shorten your appointment time. If you are not able to, don’t worry- you will fill it out in the office. For your additional safety and comfort, we also:
- Do a urine pregnancy test and an ultrasound to make sure you are 10 weeks pregnant or less
- Review your medical history, answer your questions and provide you with a complete explanation of the abortion pill process
- Give you an opportunity to talk about any emotional or spiritual concerns
- You will leave our office with your medications, including a pain reliever
- The only way to ensure the medical abortion has been completed is to return to us for a follow-up ultrasound
- There is no charge for this visit, and it is important that you keep this appointment
How Do You Know if You are a Good Candidate for the Abortion Pill?
Some things we will ask of you include:
- Have access to a phone and be able to receive phone calls from us
- Have access to a car and a driver in the event of an emergency on the day of your second medication
- Commit to return to us for a check-up and possible multiple visits, if needed
- Based on the manufacturer’s information, if the abortion pill fails a surgical abortion may be recommended
What are the Risks of the Abortion Pill?
Medical abortion has a slightly higher failure rate than surgical abortion, and, if the pregnancy were to continue, the chance of birth defects if the pregnancy is not ended is unknown.
What are the Possible Side Effects?
Some people experience pain, nausea, headaches, vomiting or diarrhea. Bleeding and cramping are a normal part of the process. The bleeding can be heavier than a normal period and can last from 9-16 days.
Who Is Not a Good Candidate for A Medical Abortions?
Mifepristone cannot safely be used if you:
- Have an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
- Have an IUD in place (it must first be removed)
- Have problems with your adrenal glands
- Have bleeding problems or are taking blood-thinning medications
- Cannot easily get to emergency medical help, should you need it
I’m interested, but what else should I consider when making this decision?
Call us and we can help you think about things like:
- Responsibilities at home, work and your schedule
- Having a support person with you at home who is capable and willing to support you during the entire process
- Childcare and/or eldercare
- Passing the pregnancy at home, and how you will react to seeing what looks like a lot of blood (when mixed with water, it looks like there is much more blood then there really is), blood clots, and possibly the pregnancy
Will the Abortion Pill Prevent Future Pregnancies?
Infections, not abortion, are the greatest threat to fertility. Regardless of the method, abortion is more than 10 times safer than childbirth.