So you took the abortion pill, now what?

So you took the abortion pill, now what?

So, you’ve decided to take the abortion pill

Taking an abortion pill can come with a wide range of emotions: relief, sadness, anxiety, and strength to name a few. Sometimes it can feel like an isolating experience, and we are hoping to provide some comfort and community. We turned to the Reddit thread r/abortion to learn a bit about different experiences with medical abortion. 

Medical abortions are used across the globe and are frequently a two-part process. The first pill is mifepristone followed by misoprostol, but misoprostol can also be used alone. 

Medically speaking, here’s what happens

  1. You take the mifepristone pill. Mifepristone stops the pregnancy from growing by blocking the hormone progesterone.
  2. It is likely you won’t feel much after the mifepristone.
  3. Up to 48 hours after, you take the misoprostol pills, either orally or vaginally. Your nurse or doctor will instruct you on the best way to take them. 
  4. Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding that empties your uterus. 
  5. Normally, the pregnancy will pass in 5 hours, it is similar to an early miscarriage. 
  6. The cramping and bleeding can last for several days to weeks after.
  7. Take pain medication like ibuprofen, but steer clear of aspirin. Aspirin can increase your bleeding. You also may want a heating pad.8. Use pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup for your bleeding. 
  8. Watch a comfort movie, read a book, eat some warm food, and wait it out. 
  9. Finally, you’ll want to make sure the abortion worked. Taking an at home pregnancy test 2 weeks post-abortion should confirm this. You may also want to speak with your doctor or nurse. 

It’s important to note that everyone’s experience is different, and if you have any concerns it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor. 

A day-by-day breakdown from one anonymous woman

One r/abortion user gave a detailed account of her process of taking mifepristone and misoprostol, and then experiencing an abortion:

“I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks. I knew I was not in a position right now to have a baby. 5 days after finding out I decided to terminate. I live in a state with a total abortion ban meaning I could not get help. Luckily when Roe was being overturned I reached out to aid access for abortion pills in case someone needed them. I wanted to be able to help someone who maybe couldn’t afford it, to my surprise it ended up being me so I’m happy I had them.”

Day 1:

“I took the first pill (mifepristone) orally. I took this early Saturday morning. I did not experience any symptoms. Just some very very mild cramping. I went about my day like normal.” 

Day 2: 

“At around 1:30pm on Sunday I vaginally inserted 4 misoprostol tablets. I experienced a little cramping an hour after but nothing that really hurt. 5 hours after insertion I had no bleeding, no severe pain, nothing. I decided to insert 4 more. 5 more hours passed and still no blood and very light cramps. I went to bed and when I woke up; I was sad to find there was still no bleeding.” 

Day 3: 

“Monday around 3pm I started seeing some tissue and some spotting. I had felt cramps all day but they weren’t too severe. I decided to do the last 4 that night around 8pm.”

Day 4: 

“The next morning was about as heavy as a normal period with some tissue in it. No severe pain though, just a little crampy.” 

“I had period-like bleeding that persisted for about five days after. 21 days after the experience I was happy to get a negative pregnancy test and have now switched my birth control. Please don’t let everything you read scare you. Other people’s experiences might not be yours and everybody’s body is different. Emotionally. It takes a toll on you, so make sure to be easy on yourself and treat yourself kindly. For anyone going through this, you are not alone.❤️”

Other experiences and advice

“I experienced extreme cramps and nausea. I threw up twice, and then started bleeding 30 minutes later and was in a lot of pain, cramp-wise, but it was tolerable. I added 1000 mg of Tylenol, put on a heating pad, and knocked out for a couple of hours. After that day I took anti-nausea and ibuprofen 3 more rounds every 6 hours and felt normal and honestly relieved with my decision.”

“I didn’t experience any side effects, I did have some waves of Nausea though! I know it’s really scary and all the horror stories make you so anxious. You got this and you aren’t alone.” 

“Honestly the worst part for me was feeling dizzy and basically passing, which lasted about 15-30 mins until I laid down for the remainder of the night.” 

“Stop reading the horror stories, you will be okay! Prepare yourself with the proper products, do some affirmations, watch some feel good movies, make your room feel like a comfy safe space, and most importantly BREATHE long deep breaths! tend to your mental well being just as you are your physical. And for those going through this alone... you've got this and you are much stronger than you accredit yourself for.” 

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