What Happens During a Self-Managed Abortion?

Thursday, December 21, 2017 blog Share

How to manage a safe abortion with pills

Women with laptop

You've followed the instructions to start your safe abortion with pills by taking a dose of Mifepristone. You probably haven't felt anything as a result, although there's a chance you might experience mild nausea or light bleeding. Now you'll go about your business until 24 to 48 hours later, when it's time to take Misoprostol, the second half of a medication abortion.

On the day you take the Misoprostol, plan not to do much else. Stock up on sanitary pads (not tampons!) and some snacks for when you don't feel like cooking. Put on comfortable clothes. Maybe invite a friend over to keep you company and help you if you need it (you probably won't). Swallow some ibuprofen first — it works best if you take it before you're uncomfortable. Then take the Misoprostol according to directions.

Some women start bleeding in just a few minutes, while others take a few hours. The bleeding will be heavy and clotty, and it will last as long as 24 hours. You'll probably have strong cramps, but they'll ease off after a few hours. Some women experience a mild fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a headache in the hour after they take Misoprostol, but those rarely last more than an hour or two.

You may see something on your menstrual pad or in your toilet that looks like a small white piece of sponge. That's a sign the abortion was successful, but don't worry if you don't see it. If your pregnancy symptoms like nausea and tender breasts start going away after a few days, you're not pregnant any more. Wait three weeks and take a pregnancy test to be sure.

You might have light cramps and the occasional clot for days or even a couple of weeks afterwards. This is perfectly normal as long as you aren't having other complications.

The idea of a self-managed abortion might be intimidating, but with information and support, it's possible to have a safe abortion with pills in the comfort and privacy of your own home. To learn more, visit abortionpillinfo.org — we want you to be informed!