Are There Risks to Taking the RU486 Pill?

Finding out you are unexpectedly pregnant is scary, and a flurry of questions flood your thoughts. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, it is common to feel as though your world is crashing down around you.

You have tough decisions to make, ranging from where to turn for the help you need and whether or not you will continue your pregnancy. It is critical to thoroughly explore all pregnancy options available to you, which usually include parenting, adoption, and abortion, depending on how far along you are. As you gather facts about abortion, it is important to understand each procedure as well as its risks.

If it has been ten weeks or less since your last period, medical abortion might be an option for you. In this article, we will answer the question, “Are there risks to taking the RU-486 pill?” In short, all procedures and medications come with side effects and risks, including the RU-486 pill. Read on to learn more about medical abortion, RU-486, and potential risks.

What You Should Know About Medical Abortion

The RU-486 pill, also called mifepristone, is used for medical abortions, and it is one of the two medications used together that end pregnancies at home without surgery or anesthesia. The two drugs used in medical abortions are mifepristone (RU-486) and misoprostol. They can be used up to ten weeks of pregnancy.

During a medical abortion, you typically take the first medication, RU-486 (mifepristone), in a healthcare setting. Mifepristone blocks progesterone, which is required for the embryo to stay attached to the uterine lining.

Approximately 24–48 hours after taking the first set of pills, you will take the second medication, misoprostol, at home. That produces contractions (heavy cramps) to expel the pregnancy from your uterus.

Contractions and bleeding usually begin 2–4 hours after taking the second medication. It can take several hours for your body to expel the pregnancy. During that time, you can anticipate to:

  • See large clots – the size of a lemon
  • Feel nauseated or experience vomiting
  • Have diarrhea
  • Have a low-grade fever and chills
  • See the expelled fetus if you are more than eight weeks pregnant

The abortion itself can take as long as several days to occur and is usually followed by up to three weeks of bleeding or spotting. If you were given antibiotics, it is critical that you take them all as directed and return to your doctor or clinic for a follow-up visit two weeks later. At this appointment, the doctor can verify that the pregnancy was ended and make sure there are no other medical complications such as an incomplete abortion or infection.

After a medical abortion, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding (soaking two or more pads per hour or more than 12 hours in a row)
  • Passing blood clots larger than the size of a lemon for more than two hours
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • A fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Vomiting for more than 6 hours
  • Diarrhea for more than 24 hours
  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad

Risks Associated With RU-486

As we discussed above, all medications have risks, and there are possible risks to taking the RU 486 pill as well, including:

  • 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. If this happens, a surgical abortion is required because of the failure to complete the abortion medically. If you do not follow-up with a surgical abortion, the pregnancy could continue.
  • Damage to the uterus – Rupturing or tearing of the uterus has been reported when the RU-486 pill has been used after the eighth week of pregnancy. This damage can cause severe bleeding, death, or require a hysterectomy.
  • Infection and septic shock – The risks of infection and septic shock are potentially life-threatening after a medical abortion. Sepsis is a medical emergency that occurs when an infection enters your bloodstream. The most common causes of septic shock after medical abortion are pregnancy tissue remaining in the uterus and uterine infection.
  • Severe pain – The misoprostol medication used in combination with RU-486 causes uterine cramping to expel the pregnancy, which can cause severe pain. The majority of women experience this pain.

Can I Take RU-486?  

Your healthcare provider is the only one who can tell you if you can take RU-486 after examining you. Yet, Mayo Clinic discusses several situations where you cannot take RU-486 for a medical abortion, including if:

  1. Your pregnancy is too far along. If your last period was more than ten weeks ago, you cannot take RU-486.
  •  You have an intrauterine device (IUD) still in place.
  • You have a pregnancy outside of your uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
  • You have certain medical conditions, including bleeding disorders, heart or blood vessel diseases, severe liver, kidney, lung disease, or an uncontrolled seizure disorder.
  • You take a blood thinner or steroid medications.
  • You do not have access to follow-up care or emergency care.
  • You have an allergy to the medications used.

If you are not a candidate for taking RU-486, your healthcare provider may recommend a surgical abortion instead.

Visit Us for a No-Cost Pregnancy Test

At Willow Womens Center, we understand how difficult it is to face an unplanned pregnancy. Our compassionate advocates and licensed medical professionals are here to help you through this time in your life.

At our clinic, we can offer you a no-cost, medical-grade 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. Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screening may also be offered at no cost. This is an important part of the appointment, 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. We invite you to make an appointment today to see us. Your health and well-being come first.

Where Can I Get an Abortion Pill?

The decision to have an abortion is never made lightly but at times it is made without knowing all the details. This often leads women to make a decision based on the opinions and convictions of others rather than their own. When faced with an unplanned or unexpected pregnancy, you are probably looking for answers to a few questions. This is one of the most common questions we see: where can I get the abortion pill? Confusion between the morning after pill and the abortion pill are widespread so we’ll break it down to clarify.

The Morning After Pill 

The medical name, Levonorgestrel, is a mouthful. This form of abortion is typically known as the Morning After Pill. The name can be misleading – you don’t have to wait until the morning after unprotected sex. This drug is most effective the sooner you take it. It is not a routine method of birth control, but should only be used as an emergency contraceptive. It works differently depending on when it’s taken during the cycle. It may alter the lining of the uterus, which prevents implantation of a fertilized egg. It may delay or prevent ovulation, or it may deter the fertilization process. It’s important to restate that this medication does not stop the development of a fetus if the egg is already fertilized and implanted in the uterus. That is, if you’re already pregnant, this medication won’t work. This form of abortion is most easily accessible because it is readily available at most pharmacies. 

Medical Abortion 

Also known as the Abortion Pill, medical abortions are only approved and performed by a doctor. This name is also misleading as it’s actually a combination of two different medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, which are given several days apart. You’ll need to make an appointment for a medical exam which will include a detailed medical history, lab work, and a physical exam to confirm a pregnancy. The medical abortion process takes about 1-2 weeks and many women experience heavy cramping, bleeding, and other mild side effects. 

What Do I Do First?

Prior to taking the abortion pill, you will need to ensure a few things. The first is maybe the most obvious: you should confirm that you are actually pregnant. Some abortion clinics do not confirm a viable pregnancy before performing an abortive procedure which can lead to undue physical, mental, and emotional stress. A pregnancy test cannot confirm a viable pregnancy, it can only detect hormone levels that are associated with being pregnant. The only way to accurately confirm a viable pregnancy is to have an ultrasound. This simple test can quickly tell you if you are pregnant, how long you’ve been pregnant, and if your pregnancy is viable. This information is vital because it tells you which, if any, abortive procedure you’re legally allowed to have during the window of pregnancy age you are in. 

The second simple test is a limited STI testing for the two most common STIs, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. These infected cells can travel into the uterus during an abortive procedure, due to the opening of the uterus. If you have an unidentified or untreated STI during an abortive procedure you are susceptible to contracting Pelvic Inflammatory Disease which may cause a lifelong struggle with reproductive health and possible infertility. 

Willow Womens Center wants to ensure that you are fully informed of all your pregnancy and abortion options so you can be confident in your decision. We walk women through the entire process with care and compassion, because we know this decision is one that impacts your life drastically. For your no-cost appointment, give us a call at 608-312-2025.

Real Answers About Abortion Questions

When you find out you’re unexpectedly pregnant, it’s a really chaotic, confusing, and emotional time. You might not know who to talk to, where to turn, or what to do. Once the haze clears a bit and you start processing what is happening, it’s not unusual to seek real answers about abortion questions. 

There are far more questions than we can possibly answer here, and the questions each person asks will vary depending on their situation, age, future plans, dreams, and more. Below are the most common questions women ask. If you have any that are not addressed here, we are always available to provide answers at Willow Womens Center

Questions About Abortion 

Q: What is abortion? 

A: Abortion is the termination of pregnancy using either pills or surgery. 

Q: Is abortion safe? 

A: According to the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services, “An abortion is a medical procedure that always involves risk to the woman. At or prior to eight weeks after the first day of the last normal menstrual period is considered the safest time for a woman to have an abortion. The complication rate doubles with each two-week period after that time.” 

Q: Who are the women that have abortions? 

A: They come from all backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion.

Q: Are there alternatives to abortion? 

A: Yes, adoption and parenting are your other choices. Both involve taking the pregnancy to full term. Adoption means you will not do the parenting yourself, while parenting means you will take on that responsibility. 

Q: Where are abortions performed? 

A: They can be performed in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and non-specialized clinics, but the majority are done in clinics that exist for only that purpose. 

Q: Where can I get an abortion? 

A: Abortion is legal in all 50 states, but the nearest clinic to you could be quite a distance away. Some states only have one provider. 

Q: What is medication abortion? 

Medication abortion is also known as the abortion pill, a combination of two pills taken separately. This procedure is done for women up to 10 weeks pregnant. The first pill blocks progesterone in your body. Two days later you will take the second pill. You will make a final visit a couple of weeks later to the clinic to make sure the abortion was completed.

Q: What is medical abortion? 

A: Two primary procedures are done, depending on gestational age. Aspiration can be done within seven weeks and uses dilators and a suction tube. Suction Curettage is most commonly done, between six and 14 weeks. Again, this uses dilators and a suction machine. 

Let Us Answer Your Other Questions 

At Willow Womens Center, we are here for you. Make an appointment to come in and let us give you a no-cost pregnancy test to confirm your at home results because sometimes those tests are wrong. After that, we will sit down with you, answer your questions, and give you the information you need to make a confident decision for your future.

Why an Abortion is Not a Yes or No Decision

There are a lot of things in this world that are black and white, but abortion is not one of them. Your decision about your pregnancy is one that no one can make for you, although we know there are plenty of women who are pressured towards either outcome by those around them. We don’t want to be part of a world that says there is only one way to handle pregnancy because we know there are hundreds of emotions involved in this delicate situation. You have options, you have choices – make the one that is right for YOU.

What If I’m Not Sure

We see this a lot because pregnancy tests are confusing, and they aren’t always conclusive. There are several reasons for a false reading of a pregnancy test including medical conditions, the test was taken too soon, or the test was expired. All these reasons can lead to a false reading which may mislead you into thinking that you are pregnant or that you are not. Sometimes women wait so long to take a test because they don’t want to know, they don’t want it to be true. Others don’t take a test because they don’t feel any symptoms and don’t think about it. There are dozens of scenarios that may lead you to suspect or assume you could pregnant but how can you be certain?

How to Be Sure

A pregnancy test does not confirm a viable pregnancy. We say ‘viable pregnancy’ because up to 30% of pregnancies naturally terminate on their own. There are many reasons a pregnancy might not be viable. A viable pregnancy is defined as one that has a reasonable chance of a baby making it to full term. Pregnancy is extremely complicated and at every stage, there are plenty of chances for something to go wrong, which is why only an ultrasound can confirm a viable pregnancy.

Assessing Your Pregnancy

During your no-cost appointment at Willow Womens Center, after you have a positive pregnancy test, you will be offered an ultrasound. A licensed medical professional will verify if you are indeed pregnant and if that pregnancy is viable. This test also allows the staff member to the age of your pregnancy which will help you as you explore all legal abortion and pregnancy options available to you. Without this information, you may make a choice that isn’t made in confidence. In fact, some abortion clinics don’t confirm pregnancy before performing an abortion which means they do something physically and emotionally that might be entirely unnecessary. Arming yourself with information is extremely important when you have a vital decision to make.

At Willow Womens Center, you’ll be welcomed with open arms into a facility that offers you a medical-grade pregnancy test, an ultrasound, and a limited STI test to provide you with all the vital information you need to make the best decision for you. We want to help ensure you feel knowledgeable about what options you have and empower you to make the decision in a safe space. To schedule your no-cost appointment today, give us a call or visit our appointment page today. No matter what you face, you won’t be alone at Willow Womens Center. 

3 FAQs About Abortion in Wisconsin

Facing the unknown is scary. Facing the unknown with no one by your side, with a lot of unanswered questions is worse. Below are 3 FAQs about abortion in Wisconsin as you seek information in order to decide what is best for you.

At Willow Womens Center, we are pro-YOU. Our patient care team is committed to being here for you, to give you the information you need to make an informed decision, and we will support you holistically—physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Below are three questions you probably need answers for.

Will Willow Womens Center Tell Anyone I Came in for a Pregnancy Test or Information on Abortion?

Absolutely not. When you decide to come here, you can walk in the door with confidence, knowing we will guard your privacy. No one will know you have visited us, and we will not share your information with anyone, whether family or friends.

The only way your information is released is if you direct us to do so—in writing.

I Already Bought a Pregnancy Test. Why Do I Need to Have a Pregnancy Test When I Come to Your Clinic?

Once in a while, a home pregnancy test gives false results, especially if it was taken too early. Agreeing to a no-cost pregnancy test allows us to confirm your at-home results. Our tests are lab-grade, sensitive tests administered by our licensed medical professionals who will go over the results with you afterward.

If the results are positive, we will offer you an ultrasound—also at no cost to you—to verify the pregnancy is viable. This means checking for a heartbeat, determining how far along your pregnancy is (gestational age), and verifying proper placement in the uterus.

About 20 percent of all pregnancies end in natural miscarriage, most of these miscarriages occur in the first trimester. If you are considering abortion, we don’t want you to have a procedure you may not need.

How Can I Tell If I’ve Been Exposed to an STD? What Difference Does It Make If I’m Having an Abortion?

Being sexually active in any way—orally, anally or vaginally—automatically puts you at risk for an STD. Rates for STDs, particularly chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, are at an all-time high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you have an untreated STD, which often has no symptoms to tell you of an infection, you are at risk of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease with an abortion. PID affects nearly 1,000,000 women each year,” says

Willow Womens Center tests for the two most common and treatable STI’s — at no charge to you. Many abortion providers do not offer this service prior to your abortion.

Make an Appointment Today

Make an appointment today to come in and see us. We are here just for you and can help you sort through your feelings, answer your questions, and give you unbiased information so you can make the best possible decision.

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