RU-486 – Also Known As The Abortion Pill
Otherwise known as the Abortion Pill, this pill(s) can terminate an embryo up to 10 weeks gestation. This is considered a medical abortion (not surgical) and must be prescribed. The Abortion Pill (which is actually 2 different pills) includes a three-step process:
- First, take Mifepristone. This medication actually blocks your body’s ability to recognize progesterone by the uterus. Progesterone is one of the hormones that your uterus needs to maintain the life of the embryo. By blocking progesterone, the lining of the uterus begins to break down. Then, the life of the growing embryo ends
- Secondly, take Misoprostol. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract causing the embryo, lining of the uterus, and the embryonic sac to exit the uterus. This process usually takes 24-48 hours and causes extreme bleeding and strong uterine cramping. Do not use tampons during the process, only use pads.
- Lastly, return to the clinic to confirm that the procedure is complete. Your doctor will ask you a variety of questions such as, “Were you able to see the expulsion of the gestational sac or embryo?” “How much bleeding did you experience?” “Are you still experiencing pregnancy symptoms?”
What you need to know: The abortion pill is not taken in a hospital. It is taken at home. Since heavy bleeding and cramping accompany it, it is important that you have someone with you in case of an emergency. Other symptoms during the process can include:
- Mild fever and chills
- Light lactation
- Nausea and sometimes vomiting
Things to be aware about taking RU-486:
- Do not take it if you are past the 10-week window. The chances for it working decrease.
- Do not take if you are using an IUD.
- Do not take if you have a blood clotting condition and/or are taking blood-clotting medication.
- Determine if you are willing to continue with a surgical abortion if the pill fails.
Please contact your doctor or go to the ER if you are experiencing any of these symptoms after taking the abortion pill:
- Foul smelling vaginal discharge
- Blood clots that occur for 2 hours or more.
- Excessive bleeding (fills up more than 2 pads in an hour and happens for 2 hours or more)
- Extreme depression and suicidal thoughts.
- A fever of 100.4° F or higher.
- Severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
What if I change my mind?
There is a pill called the Abortion Pill Reversal (APR). It essentially counteracts the first pill (Mifepristone) of RU-486. It can only be used once the first pill is taken. If the 2nd pill has been ingested, APR cannot be used.
A major dosage of progesterone will make up for the progesterone being blocked by the Mifepristone. It needs to be taken within 72 hours after taking Mifepristone. The earlier it is taken the better. One particular statistic states that if taken within the first 24 hours, there is a 55% chance that the pregnancy will continue (americanpregnancy.org).