Yes, you can use the abortion pill if you're breastfeeding

Monday, May 20, 2019 blog Share

Abortion is a parenting decision. And you can safely take the abortion pill while breastfeeding your existing child.


It bears repeating and repeating: the majority of people who seek abortion care are already parents. Abortion is a parenting decision. And you can safely take the abortion pill while breastfeeding your existing child.

Contrary to what you might have heard, you can get pregnant while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does suppress ovulation, but unless you're exclusively breastfeeding, the hormonal feedback which occurs while breastfeeding isn't consistent enough to prevent pregnancy (think of it like missing a birth control pill).  So if you're feeding your child in other ways that also happen to include breastfeeding, you'll want to talk to your doctor about how to prevent pregnancy.

If you do happen to get pregnant while breastfeeding and choose to terminate your pregnancy, you can take the abortion pill. Both options for medical abortion — the mifepristone/misoprostol combination or misoprostol on its own (both methods effective up to 12 weeks of pregnancy) — are safe to take during breastfeeding, as well as after. The amount of misoprostol and mifepristone that will actually make it into your breast milk are small and unlikely to cause any harm to you or your baby.

You can breastfeed throughout your medical abortion, but you may choose not to due to the physical symptoms that come with the abortion process, specifically cramping, bleeding, nausea, etc. Remember to keep an eye for signs of complications, which are rare, but important to recognize. They include severe bleeding (filling 2 or 3 pads every hour for more than 2 or 3 hours is an indication that something is off), abdominal pain that won't go away even after taking ibuprofen or lasts for 2 or 3 days after the abortion, abnormal or smelly vaginal discharge, and a fever that's over 100 degrees (it's okay to have a temperature, but it should go away).

If you are breastfeeding and choose to take abortion pills, you must confirm your abortion was successful. You will want to do this anyway, of course, but because both the abortion procedure and access to it can get more complicated as you advance in pregnancy, it's imperative that you verify that the abortion pills worked. If you have a surgical abortion, you may need to delay breastfeeding due to the anesthesia you'll be given during the procedure.

Many people choose to self-manage their abortion via the abortion pill because they don't have access to other means of abortion care. They may not be able to travel to a clinic, or return to a clinic the next day. If you are breastfeeding and you are able to get to a doctor with whom you feel safe, consider talking with them about your plan to take the abortion pill.

You do not have to defend your decision to have an abortion to anyone. You do not have to justify it or explain it. You deserve unfettered access to health care, and abortion is health care. Women Help Women is here to give you accurate scientific information about abortion pills and contraceptives, and to help you obtain them. For more answers to your questions, including how the pills work and how to get them, check out our FAQs.