Abortion Pill (RU-486)

Abortion Pill (“Medical Abortion” or “RU-486”)

The abortion pill (Mifepristone) or medical abortion (sometimes referred to as RU-486) is an alternative to surgical abortion within the first ten weeks of pregnancy. Taking a combination of two medications (mifepristone and misoprostol) will induce the abortion. These medications, when taken as directed, will stop the development of the pregnancy and then cause the uterus to expel the pregnancy, similar to an early miscarriage.

When you arrive at the clinic, the receptionist will ask you to fill out paperwork and read through an informational notebook. When you are finished, you will have an ultrasound. This will show how far along you are in your pregnancy. The ultrasound does not hurt. You will then be asked to leave a urine sample for a pregnancy test. A patient coordinator will then check your blood pressure, temperature, height and weight. You will have a finger-poke to check your Rh type (the positive or negative part of your blood) and iron level.

Next, you will meet privately with a patient coordinator who will review your medical history. The patient coordinator will explain the procedure to you in detail and answer any questions you may have. If you are further along in your pregnancy than expected or have any other reason why you are not an appropriate candidate for medical abortion, the patient coordinator will discuss with you the possibility of surgical abortion.

You will then see a clinician for an examination. After the exam, you will be given one pill of Mifepristone to take orally in the office. This is the beginning of your abortion process. You will then be given four tablets of misoprostol to take home with you to use 24-48 hours later. You will hold these pills in your mouth (between your cheeks and gums) for 30 minutes before swallowing any remaining pill fragments.

Most women start to bleed and cramp within 1-8 hours after using misoprostol. The bleeding may be like a heavy period and you may pass some large blood clots. You may also see pregnancy tissue. Cramping can be very intense for a few hours. Other symptoms may include nausea, diarrhea, feeling tired, dizzy, or feverish. Pain and discomfort can vary widely among individual women. Some say the experience is like having a difficult period with mild to moderate cramping, while others say the pain is so intense that it resembles labor pains.

Finally, you will need to return to the clinic approximately 14 days after your initial visit. At this time you will have another pregnancy test and ultrasound. This appointment will confirm the completion of your abortion. If your abortion has not been completed, you may need to have a surgical abortion.

Day 1: Appointment at Family Planning Specialists. Take mifepristone orally in clinic. Receive misoprostol pills to take home.

Day 2: (24-48 hours after taking mifepristone) Hold the 4 misoprostol pills between your cheeks and gums for 30 minutes, then swallow any remaining pill fragments.

Day 14: Return to Family Planning Specialists to confirm your abortion is complete.

IN-HOME MEDICATION ABORTION SUPPORT: The Bay Area Doula Project offers free physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual support during your medication abortion experience.  For more information and to request a doula, visit their website: http://bayareadoulaproject.org/medication-abortion-support/