Medication abortion is a safe and effective way to terminate an early pregnancy. Here's what you can expect when you take the abortion pills at home. Key TakeawaysMedication abortions are common, but many people don't know how they work.Here's how and when to take the abortion pills needed to terminate a pregnancy.Medication abortion now accounts for more than half of the abortions in the
Medication abortions are common, but many people don't know how they work.
Here's how and when to take the abortion pills needed to terminate a pregnancy.
Medication abortion now accounts for more than half of the abortions in the United States. But many are unaware of how it works.
Also known as the abortion pill, medication abortion is safe and effective for up to at least 10 to 12 weeks into a pregnancy. According to a 2022 poll, only 13% of respondents said they had heard, read, or seen “a lot” about the abortion pill, while 24% of respondents had never heard of the abortion pill.
How Far Into a Pregnancy Can You Use the Abortion Pill?
The abortion pill consists of two medicines—mifepristone and misoprostol—made up by five pills.We'll walk you through how these pills work and what you can expect after taking them.
Medication #1: Mifepristone
Verywell Health / Jessica Olah
Mifepristone is the first pill. You take it by mouth to terminate an early pregnancy. This is a single tablet with 200 mg of mifepristone, which blocks a hormone called progesterone and stops the pregnancy.
You may experience cramping or nausea after taking mifepristone, but according to Planned Parenthood, this is more common after the second medicine, misoprostol.
In anticipation of cramping that may occur after the second medication, Planned Parenthood recommends taking ibuprofen about 30 minutes before the second treatment.
Using Mifepristone Alone
Note: Mifepristone alone can be a safe and effective way of terminating a first-trimester pregnancy.
Medication #2: Misoprostol
Between 24 to 48 hours after mifepristone, you will take the second medicine called misoprostol. It works by emptying the uterus and it may cause cramping and bleeding—similar to a miscarriage.
Misoprostol comes in four 200 µg tablets. They are typically in a hexagon shape. You can take the pills in one of the following ways.