Self-Care During Your Self-Managed Abortion
Make yourself as comfortable as possible.
You have abortion pills and you've made sure you know how to take them properly depending on whether you're taking mifepristone and misoprostol or misoprostol alone. You've decided when to take them and found a safe place to do it, whether that's at home, at a friend's house, or somewhere else. Now it's time to make sure you're as comfortable as you can be during your medical abortion.
If you can skip work or school, do it. The discomforts of an abortion with pills will be familiar to anyone who has painful menstrual periods: hard cramps and heavy bleeding, and maybe some nausea, diarrhea, or a mild fever and chills. You'll be more comfortable staying in where you can lie down when you want and get to the bathroom quickly if you need to.
Ask someone you trust to spend the day with you, or at least be close enough to come over quickly if you need them. In part, that's for your safety, but you might also like having someone around who can make you a cup of tea, rub your back, or just watch a movie with you during the heaviest cramps.
For cramps, ibuprofen is the most effective medication. You can take it (or another painkiller if ibuprofen is not available) as soon as you start feeling cramps, which could be as little as an hour or as much as 7 hours after taking misoprostol. A heating pad or hot water bottle can also help you feel better.
Also, consider taking an anti-emetic (that is, a drug that relieves nausea and vomiting) before taking the abortion pills. Abortion pills can't work if you can't keep them in your system. Vomiting soon after taking mifepristone might make the medication less effective depending on how much time passed after swallowing it. Vomiting after using misoprostol won´t affect effectiveness, but you must be able to keep it for 30 minutes in place for it to be absorbed.
Make sure you have plenty of sanitary pads on hand during and after the abortion. You will probably bleed more than you do during even your heaviest period, and you'll want to keep an eye on how much you're bleeding to make sure you're still within safe levels.
Wear leggings, sweats, a bathrobe, or something else that's soft and cozy and makes it easy to change pads throughout the day. You won't enjoy wearing clothes that are tight around the waist!
It's no fun to cook or go out for a meal when you're cramping and bleeding, so stock up on foods that are fast and simple to prepare. Some people like to treat themselves with chocolate or ice cream. Others crave salt or healthy snacks. Whatever you want to eat is fine, as long as you remember to eat.
And finally: no matter how tempting it might sound, don't drink alcohol on the day of your abortion or for several days after. You need to pay attention to what your body is doing so you can notice any complications developing and get help promptly.
To learn more about having a safe self-managed abortion, visit AbortionPillInfo.org. We've got lots of frequently asked questions, as well as trained counselors who can answer your questions by email in just a few hours.