If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy and aren’t sure what to do next, you may be considering the abortion pill as one of your pregnancy options. Even if taking a pill seems like an easy solution to your fears at the moment, take the time you need to find out all the information first—protect your health and future by making an informed choice. 

What is the Abortion Pill? 

Although it’s commonly known as the abortion pill, medical or medication abortion actually consists of two separate doses of medication. 

The first dose, mifepristone (sometimes known by the name brand Mifeprex), is typically taken at a clinic or under the care of a physician. This drug causes the pregnancy to stop progressing or growing and detach from the uterus. 

The second dose, misoprostol, is taken several hours and sometimes a full day after the first dose. This pill causes the uterus to contract, expelling the pregnancy and remaining tissue through the vagina. 

The abortion pill is only approved and recommended by the FDA for the termination of early pregnancies up to 10 weeks gestational age. Taking these medications later in pregnancy may not be safe and could result in incomplete abortion or other medical complications. 

What Are the Risks of the Abortion Pill? 

As with any serious medical procedure, taking the abortion pill comes with associated physical risks of side effects. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are potential physical risks of medication abortion:

  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Incomplete abortion, when left untreated, could present further risk of infection or septic shock. 

Is Ordering the Abortion Pill Online Safe? 

Particularly in recent months, you may have seen more information about obtaining the abortion pill online from various providers. However, it is worth noting that just like ordering anything online, obtaining a serious medical procedure through the internet comes with associated risks. 

First and most notably, a prescribing physician only knows part of the story of your unique health needs without seeing you in person for an exam. The abortion pill is only approved for use in terminating early pregnancies, and without an ultrasound exam, it is possible that your dating for how far along in pregnancy you may be could be off, compromising your health in the process. 

Secondly, when ordering medication from an online source, there is more opportunity for variation in dosage, ingredients, or effectiveness standards. Ever ordered something from an online store and had it show up on your doorstep looking completely different from what you thought you ordered? Consider how much more serious this unreliability could be when ordering medications that could affect your long-term health. 

It is also worth noting that without in-person consultation and examination under the care of a medical professional, you may be unaware of other existing medical complications. For instance, in the case of ectopic pregnancy—or, a pregnancy located outside of the uterus—immediate medical care outside of abortion medication is required and any delay in treatment could be detrimental to your health. 

What Do I Need to Know Before Seeking the Abortion Pill? 

One of the best first steps you can take before taking the leap to pursue any pregnancy option is to find out all the facts about your unique situation first. You can do this by seeking in-person care with a medical professional through an ultrasound exam

An ultrasound can answer key questions for you, including: 

  • How far along you are (and what pregnancy options may be available to you) 
  • If the pregnancy is located in the uterus (or if ectopic pregnancy is a concern) 
  • If the pregnancy is viable (or if miscarriage care is necessary) 

You may also find it comforting and reassuring to discuss the details of your options with a caring, licensed professional. 

At Women’s Clinics Maryland of Maryland, our staff can help you navigate your pregnancy decision and find out the answers to your questions, at no cost to you. Schedule your free appointment today to prioritize your health.