Benefits And Side Effects of Abortion Pills

Benefits And Side Effects of Abortion Pills

Benefits And Side Effects of Abortion Pills - How RU486 Abortion Pills WorkAbortion is a topic of great debate in our society. While one section of the society argues that the Foetus has life and killing it is as heinous and as barbaric as murder, the other section says that every female has Reproductive rights and the women have the Right to Choice which empowers them to chose whether they want to carry the life or terminate the same as it has direct bearing on their long term sexual, reproductive and mental health.

Abortion can be of two types, spontaneous and induced. Induced abortion is termination of pregnancy either medically, surgically or by adopting indigenous /traditional methods. In the first 12 weeks one can opt for abortion by going for surgical methods like Cervical dilatation followed by uterus evacuation through curettage / suction evacuation. Surgical abortion is recommended under certain critical circumstances such as genetic disability or mental handicap of the foetus. Various clinical tests such as Triple marker, anomaly scan which are done in the early stages of pregnancy give the couple/women the choice to decide. Pregnancy due to failure of contraception or a conception which is resultant of rape or sexual violence or if the woman’s physical and mental health is at grave risk owing to her pregnancy, surgical abortion is recommended.

However, in recent times many women prefer Abortion by medication to surgical abortion. This fact sheet would help you understand the “Abortion pill’ better.

You can opt for “the abortion pill” in early stages of pregnancy, it is recommended only within the first 8 weeks. Mifepristone and Misoprostol are FDA approved abortion pills and are known as RU486.These two pills work on the hormonal system of the body and are capable of causing abortion in about four hours. It is most effective and safe when used within eight weeks of pregnancy.

How RU486 works?

Mifepristone works by blocking the progesterone hormone levels thereby reducing the chances of carrying a successful pregnancy. As the Mifepristone begins to works and blocks the hormone called progesterone , the uterine lining begins to shed and the cervix become softer. As the uterine lining begins to shed, bleeding may happen indicating abortion. If it does not happen, within the next 24-72 hours you are required to take Misoprostol which results in the contraction of the uterus and the expulsion of the fetus in 6-8 hours. This combination pills have been reported to be 95-98% effective.

After having confirmed the age of the fetus with the help of an ultrasound scan, the health service provider will review the health history and check if the woman meets all the criteria to take abortion pills. A counselor would also help you with your apprehensions and explain the way the mifepristone and misoprostol work. The doctor under his supervision will give you the first dose of mifepristone to be consumed orally. You are also advised on the use of misoprostol if your first dose does not work.

The process that follows

Once you take mifepristione at the Clinic, bleeding would begin. The intensity of bleeding may vary from woman to woman. While some may experience light spotting, others could experience heavy to very heavy flow. Upon taking Misoprostol, the second medication, within 20 minutes, bleeding, clotting and cramping may begin. It can be very painful with waves of high and low intensity cramping and heavy bleeding with large clots. Along with large clots the embryo would also be expelled out.

What next?

A follow up visit to the doctor should be made to ensure that the process has been carried out successfully. Very few females do not pass the tissue even after the administration of both the pills. In such cases an aspiration abortion is performed wherein the tissue is expelled out by suction procedure.

As stated above, the side effects include very heavy bleeding with large clots, cramping, nausea, diarrhea and headache. These side effects are caused mainly by misoprostol. It can sometimes be very difficult to endure the side effects and therefore it is always recommended that women taking abortion pills are completely counseled, clear all their apprehensions, doubts and opt for this method with a strong mental make up.


The bleeding that is induced by the abortion pill may be extremely heavy and in very rare cases may require blood transfusion and aspiration abortion. It is very important to keep the contact number of your doctor handy when you are on the abortion pills.

In order to avoid any complication, you must tell you doctor during the first visit only if you had a blood clotting problem or are on an anticoagulant medication or systemic corticosteroids. It is a procedure not recommended for those with severe anemia or adrenal failure or have diarrhea at that point of time. Report to the doctor if you are allergic to any medicine and give him the names of the brands so that he could rule out your being allergic to prostaglandin medicines.

It is important to understand and remember that Abortion medication does not affect future pregnancies. There has been no long term risk reported with the usage of mifepristol and misoprostol. Again it is upto the woman to take the decision to begin a life within her and if she feels it is the right time, she can go always go for a pregnancy.

Clearing the air

In this context it is only apt to clear the air regarding emergency contraception which many young people confuse to be abortive in nature. The abortion medication and Emergency contraception are two different sets of medicines working on different principles. While emergency contraception prevents conception after unprotected sex with in days, it will not harm an existing pregnancy.

Medical abortion is preferred by many women as it affords them the privacy and they have some choice on the time or day they choose to take this medicine. However, one must remember a few facts like it is advisable to take these medicines when there is a doctor to help at your call and you are at a distance of not more that 15 minutes from a nursing home. It is a safe, effective and a method that offers you the much needed privacy.

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