Abortion Pill (RU-486, Mifeprex®/Mifepristone) | Up to 9 weeks
How does the abortion pill work?
A physical exam is first given in order to determine eligibility for the abortion pill (also called medical or chemical abortion). There are several pregnancy and medical conditions which do not allow the use of the abortion pill.
During the first office visit, you are given mifepristone pills to take orally. Mifepristone blocks the effects of your natural hormone progesterone and causes the uterine lining to break down. This stops the flow of nutrition and blood to the embryo and prevents the pregnancy from continuing.
Two to three days later, you will take the second set of pills, misoprostol, at home. This will cause contractions that expel the embryo. This expulsion process may take a few hours or as long as a few days so it is recommended you stay home until the process has completed. A physical exam is given two weeks later to ensure the abortion was completed and to check for complications.
What are the risks and side effects related to the abortion pill?
Immediate and long-term risks and side effects of the abortion pill may include:
- fever and chills
- heavy bleeding
- trauma from seeing embryonic parts expelled
- possible birth defects if pregnancy is not successfully terminated
All methods of medical abortion have an associated failure rate, and surgical abortion may be required to complete the abortion. Reasons for surgical intervention include prolonged or excessive bleeding, incomplete abortion (remnants of fetal tissue in the uterus) or an ongoing pregnancy.
The abortion pill is unsuccessful approximately 5% to 10% of the time with the potential of requiring an additional surgical abortion procedure to complete the termination.