Mifepristone and misoprostol are medications used together for medical abortion, also known as medication abortion or abortion pill.
Mifepristone: Mifepristone is a synthetic steroid that blocks the hormone progesterone, which is necessary to sustain a pregnancy. By blocking progesterone, mifepristone causes the lining of the uterus to break down, preventing the embryo from attaching to the uterine wall and ultimately leading to the termination of the pregnancy. It is typically taken orally in the form of a pill.
Misoprostol: Misoprostol is a prostaglandin analogue that causes contractions of the uterus, leading to the expulsion of the contents of the uterus, including the embryo or fetus. It is usually taken orally or vaginally, either at a healthcare provider's office or at home, a few days after taking mifepristone. Misoprostol helps to complete the abortion process by inducing uterine contractions and expelling the pregnancy tissue.
Together, mifepristone and misoprostol are highly effective in terminating early pregnancies, typically up to 10 weeks gestation. The combination of these medications offers women a non-surgical option for ending a pregnancy in the privacy of their own homes, under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
Medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol is generally safe and effective, with a success rate of over 95%. However, like any medical procedure, it carries some risks and potential side effects. Common side effects include cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and vaginal bleeding. Serious complications are rare but can include heavy bleeding, infection, or incomplete abortion, which may require surgical intervention.
It's essential for individuals considering medical abortion to receive proper counseling and medical supervision to ensure their safety and well-being throughout the process. Additionally, access to reliable information, supportive healthcare providers, and access to emergency medical care in case of complications are crucial aspects of ensuring the safety and effectiveness of medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol.
If mifepristone is not available where you live, misoprostol can be used on its own to end a pregnancy. To undergo an abortion before 13 weeks with only misoprostol, you will need to take twelve 200 mcg pills. In order to help with pain management, you should also keep medications like ibuprofen on available. Acetaminophen and paracetamol should not be used during an abortion because they do not provide pain relief. Using misoprostol is made much easier by the following steps:
- Step 1: Four 200 mcg misoprostol pills should be placed under your tongue, where you should hold them for 30 minutes while they disintegrate. It is best to be in a peaceful area where you won’t be bothered for these 30 minutes because you shouldn’t talk or eat. Take a sip of water and finish the remaining tablets after 30 minutes have passed. Ibuprofen or another pain reliever is also a good idea at this point because cramping will soon begin.
- Step 2: Wait 3 hours.
- Step 3: Place another 4 misoprostol pills (200mcg) under your tongue and hold them there for 30 minutes until they dissolve.
- Step 4: Wait another 3 hours.
- Step 5: Add four more 200mcg misoprostol pills, holding them under your tongue for 30 minutes until they dissolve. While taking the pills, you should start bleeding and experiencing cramps. Even if you start bleeding before you have finished all 12 pills, be careful to take them all.