What are the Side Effects of Having a Medical Abortion?

abortion; side effects

Unexpected pregnancy is scary, and it can make many women feel alone.  If pregnancy wasn’t a part of your plan, and you’re considering a medical abortion, consider the following side effects – as well as each of your options – so you can make the most empowering decision for you, based on facts and not fear.

What does the Abortion Process Look Like?

A medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, requires two different medications that must be prescribed by a doctor in order to terminate a pregnancy.

The first drug of a medical abortion is typically taken while at the doctor’s office. This drug will block the flow of progesterone, a hormone that is necessary for a pregnancy to continue.

The second drug in the medical abortion process is usually taken at home, between 24-48 hours after the first drug. This second drug causes the uterus to contract, like labor, in order to expel the embryo from the uterus.

Although the abortion pill can be ordered online in some areas, many states have restrictions on this.  Because of potential risks and side effects, it’s important to only be treated by a licensed medical doctor who will also give proper follow-up care. 

The Most Common Side Effects Of A Medical Abortion

The most commonly experienced side effects of a medical abortion include the following:

      • Intense cramping

      • Bleeding heavier than a period

      • Diarrhea

      • Abdominal pain unrelated to cramping

      • Dizziness

      • Headaches

      • Mild fever

      • Hot flashes

      • Chills

      • Light lactation

    More Serious Medical Abortion Complications

    There are a few long-term or serious complications that could arise from a medical abortion, including:

        • An allergic reaction to the medication

        • Infection

        • Incomplete abortion requiring a surgical procedure to complete

      Side Effects Indicating a Serious Complication from Abortion

      While less common, if any of these side effects are felt following a medical abortion, medical attention should be sought immediately:

          • Severe pain

          • Fever

          • Passing clots for two or more hours or clots that exceed the size of a lemon

          • Strong, unusual smelling vaginal discharge

          • Excessive bleeding, defined as using two or more pads in an hour

        Are There Any Other Problems To Consider?

        Something to consider if you’re thinking about a medical abortion is how it may affect you emotionally or mentally. While all women are at some degree of risk for experiencing the following emotional side effects of a medical abortion, you may be at higher risk depending on your situation. Emotional side effects of abortion include:

            • Regret

            • Guilt

            • Shame

            • Anger

            • Relationship difficulties

            • Inability to sleep

            • Nightmares

            • Anxiety

            • Depression

            • Suicidal thoughts or feelings

          Women who are at higher risk for experiencing these side effects include those who feel pressured into a medical abortion, those who have struggled with mental health in the past, and those who believe abortion is ethically wrong. 

          How Do I Know If A Medical Abortion Is Right For Me?

          Choosing a medical abortion for your unexpected pregnancy is one of the biggest decisions you will ever makeYour decision will affect you both physically and emotionallyThe decision is permanent. 

          If you’re unexpectedly pregnant and not sure of what to do next, we can help.  Schedule an appointment for free and confidential services at our center today. While we do not perform abortions or provide abortion referrals, our services are an important first step when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. We do not make any money based on your decision and are committed to providing our free, confidential services in a friendly, safe and non-judgmental atmosphere

          I want someone to...

          Call me Text me Email me
          *for international requests, please select email only.