What are the Abortion Pill Side Effects?

Considering your options when you’re unexpectedly pregnant is difficult. There are many paths you could take, so making your decision begins with becoming informed. That includes understanding how each of the potential options might affect you, like the potential abortion pill side effects.

What happens when you take the abortion pill?

The abortion pill actually consists of two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. This medication must be prescribed by a doctor. Even though it may feel more discreet, it is never a good idea to purchase the medication online because you can’t be sure what’s really in it. The first pill is usually taken while at the doctor’s office, and it stops the flow of progesterone. Taking this pill ends the pregnancy because progesterone is a hormone that is necessary for a pregnancy to continue. The second pill, misoprostol, is typically taken at home within 24 to 48 hours after the first pill. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract, similar to labor, in order to expel the pregnancy.

What are the most common abortion pill side effects?

Most women report experiencing some of the following side effects after taking the second dose of the abortion pill:

  • Severe cramping and bleeding throughout the expulsion process
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills

What are the more serious or long-term abortion pill side effects?

Some women experience some more serious and potentially long-term abortion pill side effects, which include:

  • An allergic reaction
  • Infection
  • Large blood clots
  • Heavier bleeding than anticipated
  • Incomplete abortion requiring a surgical procedure
  • Emotional side effects

Is the abortion pill painful?

The medication that is used during the abortion pill process causes your body to begin contractions at an early state, which usually is quite painful. Some women compare the bleeding and cramping similar to severe menstrual cramps.

What are the signs of a serious complication?

While the common abortion pill side effects listed above are to be expected, there are some side effects that could indicate a serious complication following the abortion pill. Immediate medical attention should be sought if you experience any of the following after the second abortion pill dose:

  • Severe pain
  • Fever
  • Passing clots the size of a lemon or larger
  • Strong-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Excessive heavy bleeding, occurring if you use one pad in an hour

Is the abortion pill right for me?

Whether to take the abortion pill is a serious and personal decision. The best way to make this choice for you is to be informed about the possible options and resources that are available to help you. However, there are some women who are not eligible to take the abortion pill, including:

  • Women who are 10 or more weeks along in their pregnancies
  • Women who are unwilling to have a surgical abortion in the event that the medication does not work
  • Women who have ectopic pregnancies
  • Women who have molar pregnancies
  • Women with any kind of mass on their ovaries
  • Women who currently have IUDs
  • Women with heart, kidney or liver issues
  • Women with certain genetic abnormalities
  • Women without the capacity to understand the procedure or how to follow the instructions
  • Women taking long-term corticosteroids
  • Women with severe adrenal gland problems or bleeding disorders
  • Women without access to emergency medical facilities

If you’re struggling with an unexpected pregnancy, you are not alone. There are many different options and resources to help you as you make your decision. Schedule an appointment at Aim Women’s Center for no-cost and confidential services related to unexpected pregnancy.


American Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic