Deciding whether or not to have an abortion can be one of the hardest choices a woman faces. If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s important to gather all of the information you can so that you can confidently make the choice that’s best for you! Take your time as you decide. We’re here for you if you need to talk.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the abortion pill:

How does the abortion pill work? 

The abortion pill is used to end pregnancies in the first 10 weeks of gestation through a chemical process that utilizes two drugs — Mifepristone and Misoprostol.

Mifepristone stops the body from producing the pregnancy hormone called progesterone, which prevents vital nutrients from reaching the fetus. This causes the pregnancy to end. Misoprostol is then used to cause contractions and expel the fetus from the womb.

What are the side effects and risks of the abortion pill?

Even though the abortion pill is usually taken in the comfort of your home, this does not eliminate its severe and adverse reactions. The abortion pill will likely come with the following side effects

  • Weakness
  • Nausea 
  • Fever/chills
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness

Heavy bleeding should also be expected as the body expels the fetus from the uterus in the form of large blood clots.

Along with these common side effects, women might experience the following severe risks:

  • Sepsis
  • Infection
  • Hemorrhaging 
  • Incomplete abortion, which requires a surgical procedure to remove the retained fetal tissue

You should not take the abortion pill if any of the following conditions apply

  • Confirmed/suspected ectopic pregnancy or undiagnosed adnexal mass
  • Chronic adrenal failure 
  • Concurrent long-term corticosteroid therapy 
  • History of allergy to mifepristone, misoprostol, or other prostaglandins 
  • Hemorrhagic disorders or concurrent anticoagulant therapy
  • Inherited porphyria 
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) in place 

Is the abortion pill reversible? 

If you change your mind about wanting to terminate your pregnancy, there’s a chance you may be able to reverse the effects of the first dose of medication. 

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology, “as many as half of women who take only mifepristone continue their pregnancies.” (If the pregnancy does continue, mifepristone isn’t known to cause birth defects, ACOG notes.)

Abortion pill reversal may be possible within 24 to 48 hours of taking Mifepristone. Doctors can prescribe you additional progesterone, which should counteract the effects of Mifepristone and allow the uterus to continue to nurture and grow the pregnancy. You can learn more about abortion pill reversal here.

How should I prepare for my abortion?

Abortion is a serious medical procedure and can be accompanied by several risks, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure your health and safety in the process. Just because the abortion pill can be administered at home does not mean you should not take it seriously.

We recommend scheduling an appointment to confirm your pregnancy through lab-quality pregnancy testing and an ultrasound scan. Ultrasound scans are an essential part of gathering information about your pregnancy  — including its age, location, and viability — and will provide your doctor with important insight into any risks you might face. 

First Choice (2021) states, “A pregnancy test is not conclusive and is insufficient to make a decision about your situation. Pregnancy tests respond to a hormone, hCG, released in your body when pregnant. However, up to 1 in 5 of all pregnancies end in natural miscarriage. HCG levels may remain high in your body, meaning for a period of time you will still test positive, but you may not have a viable pregnancy. If your pregnancy is not viable, you don’t need an abortion. Ultrasound, not urine or blood tests, is the fastest way to determine if you have a viable pregnancy.”

The state of Tennessee requires a pregnancy test and ultrasound prior to receiving any form of abortion. Also, if you are under the age of 18, you must obtain parental consent.

Choices Resource Center provides free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STD testing, and more! Schedule your appointment today.