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Accessing abortion pills has never been easier, but despite the ease of access, many women are left wondering if it is truly a safe option. When facing an unplanned pregnancy and exploring all of your options, it’s crucial to ensure you have all of the information available in order to make an informed decision. This includes thinking through potential side effects and long-term risks. 


What is a medical abortion? 


Medical abortion is commonly known as the abortion pill, and involves two separate pills taken separately to serve two different purposes. The first pill is Mifepristone, which works to cut off the nutrient supply in order to destabilize the pregnancy. This causes the lining of the uterus to thin, preventing the embryo from staying implanted and growing. 

Misoprostol is the second pill and is taken 24-48 hours after Mifepristone. This medication induces contractions in order to expel the baby. Whether the abortion pills were obtained at a clinic or over the internet, any medical abortion carries a variety of potential side effects and risks. That’s why it’s so important to be under the supervision of a doctor when taking any type of medication, including abortion pills. 


What am I missing when I order abortion pills?


Because of the quick access that abortion pills are offered, women don’t always know all the information ahead of time. Ordering abortion pills online bypasses a variety of critical information, like determining the gestational age, ensuring the proper location of the pregnancy, and confirming that the pregnancy is even viable in the first place. 

While it’s true that the abortion pill is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to be used up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, it’s still necessary to have an ultrasound in order to determine the true gestational age. It’s also important to confirm that the pregnancy is not ectopic. The abortion pill does not help with ectopic pregnancies, and a different scope of care is required. It’s also worth noting that 1 out of every 4 pregnancies ultimately ends in a miscarriage, so determining viability is essential. If the baby does not have a heartbeat, then taking the abortion pill is an unnecessary risk. Simply getting an abortion pill delivered to your door bypasses all of these important steps. 


What are the side effects and risks of abortion pills?


Like any other medication, medical abortion pills have side effects. Some of these include cramping, vaginal bleeding, hemorrhage, nausea, weakness, fever, chills, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and dizziness. Women also report experiencing anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts following a medical abortion. 

Beyond this, there are also adverse risks, including bleeding, infection, ongoing pregnancy, and missed ectopic pregnancies. It's important for individuals to be aware of these potential side effects and risks to make an informed decision about undergoing a medical abortion.


What should I do before ordering the abortion pill online? 


The best way to care for yourself is to ensure that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. At A Woman’s Place, our trained staff is available to answer your questions and provide individualized care specifically planned to meet your needs. If you think you might be pregnant, call one of our locations today and schedule a free pregnancy consultation. 

Author—Caitlin Drakos, BSN. RN. Director of Medical Services at A Womans Place Medical Clinic