How to Use Abortion Pills
Have a recent ultrasound that shows the pregnancy is in the uterus, not in the fallopian tubes.
Your healthcare provider will do a pelvic exam to determine how many weeks pregnant you are. It’s important to understand how far along your pregnancy is because medication abortion is only effective during the earlier stages of pregnancy.
Your doctor or nurse must determine whether or not the pregnancy is in the uterus and not in the fallopian tubes (called an ectopic pregnancy), which can be dangerous and requires different treatments that won’t be covered here. The doctor may want to do a blood test to determine the level of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
Know how far along you are by counting from your last menstrual period.
Self-managed abortions are safe and effective. They work best when done early in pregnancy before your pregnancy hormone levels get too high. We recommend using abortion pills if you are 10 weeks or less pregnant. To make sure you’re within this time range, count how many weeks have passed since the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). If you don’t know when your last period was or aren’t sure if you have been pregnant long enough to use these pills, it is a good idea to see a doctor for an ultrasound or blood test first.
Use the method that is appropriate for your medical situation and personal preferences.
Think about your health. If you are concerned about having a medical abortion with Abortion pills because you or someone in your family has a history of:
high blood pressure
diabetes or other health issues, the medical abortion pills may not be for you. Talk to a doctor or nurse about your situation before deciding on this method. Do not use this method if it is not right for you. It might be better to have an in-clinic abortion procedure. If a doctor recommends that option, we can provide referrals to clinics that are affordable and trustworthy. Contact us if you would like help finding an in-clinic abortion procedure provider.
Follow the instructions carefully
Follow the instructions on the package carefully.
- Take the pills at the right time. The first step is to find out how far along you are in your pregnancy. You can count from the first day of your last period, or go to a healthcare provider for an ultrasound. It’s really important to take the first pill (misoprostol) at exactly 9 weeks (63 days) after your last period started, or 7 weeks since you think you might have conceived, not before and not after! If you are more than 63 days pregnant, it’s likely that you won’t have a complete abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol alone, so it’s best to talk with a healthcare provider about other options.
- Use birth control if you want to avoid pregnancy in the future! Your fertility will return right away after having an abortion with these pills. So if you want to avoid getting pregnant again soon, start using birth control as soon as possible! There are many different types of birth control available—most of them work great if used correctly but some are more effective than others at preventing pregnancy. If you’re looking for something that works super well without having to worry about it every day, consider getting an IUD or implant which can prevent pregnancy for 5-10 years depending on what type you get!
Abortion can be done early in pregnancy using Abortion pills that induce miscarriage.
This method can be used in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and is best suited for people who do not have access to a safe procedure with a health care provider. If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant, this method will not work. This method may also be called self-managed abortion or home use of abortion pills.
Two types of pills can be used for self-managed abortion: mifepristone and misoprostol. The process of using these pills to self-manage an abortion is described below. Mifepristone and misoprostol may also be used together by women seeking a medical abortion after the 10th week of pregnancy, but this protocol (and side effects) is different from the protocol recommended for early medical abortion before 10 weeks gestation (see ‘Medical methods’ section).