If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you probably feel as though your world has crashed down around you. You might not know who you can turn to for help, who to talk to, or what to do next. If you are thinking about an abortion, you could be wondering, “Are there risks to taking the RU486 pill?”
Some information makes it sound as if using the RU486 abortion pill is a walk in the park and not a big deal, while others are all doom and gloom. The truth is, while there are risks, everyone has their own individual experience – and those vary widely. You may or may not experience the risks or side effects, and no one can predict what your experience will be, or if you will be the one to suffer.
What You Should Know About Medical Abortion
The RU486 pill, also called the abortion pill, is considered a medical abortion and ends a pregnancy without surgery or anesthesia. It consists of two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, and is most effective for pregnancies up to seven weeks gestation.
The first pill taken is mifepristone, which blocks progesterone. Progesterone is required for the embryo to stay attached to the uterus lining. The second pill that you take is misoprostol, and that pill begins contractions so that the pregnancy is expelled.
The first pill is taken in a clinic or doctor’s office, and the second one is taken up to 48 hours later while at home (this could differ depending on your state’s laws and your clinic’s policies). The abortion itself can take several days to happen and is usually followed by up to three weeks of bleeding or spotting. You will be asked to go back for a follow-up visit two weeks later so the doctor can verify that the pregnancy was ended and to make sure there are no other medical issues such as hemorrhaging or infection.
After a medical abortion, if you experience heavy bleeding (soaking two or more pads per hour), severe abdominal or back pain, a fever for more than 24 hours, or vaginal discharge that smells bad, you should seek medical attention.
Risks Associated with RU486
- Incomplete abortion – An incomplete abortion means the pregnancy is still in place and did not respond to the drugs. Heavy bleeding, hemorrhage, a drop in blood pressure, and anemia could happen as a result. Also, this requires a surgical abortion because of the failure to complete the abortion medically. If that is not done, the pregnancy could continue.
- Damage to the uterus – Rupturing or tearing of the uterus has been reported when the RU486 pill has been used after the eighth week of pregnancy. This can cause severe bleeding or death, or require a hysterectomy.
- Infection and sepsis—The risk of infection and sepsis are included in the box warning for the abortion pill and, together with hemorrhage, are the most frequent causes of illness and death due to mifepristone. This can happen because of pregnancy tissue remaining in the uterus.
- Severe pain—The misoprostol pill causes uterine cramping to expel the pregnancy, and that can result in severe pain. Between 960 and 980 out of 1,000 women experience this pain.
- Nausea and diarrhea—While you might experience this, it’s usually mild.
Visit Us for a No-Cost Pregnancy Test
At Willow Womens Center, we know facing an unplanned pregnancy is really difficult. Our compassionate advocates and licensed medical professionals are here to help you through this time in your life.
At out clinic we can offer you a no-cost pregnancy test to confirm your at-home results and a no-cost ultrasound, so you will know how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable. STD testing may also be offered at no cost and is an important part of the testing, especially if you are considering an abortion.
We believe in supporting you, empowering you, giving you the critical information you need, and answering your questions. We want to make sure you have everything you need to make the best decision for you and your future.
Let us be your first step. Make an appointment to come see us. Your health and well-being come first.