How Does The Abortion Pill Work?

How Does The Abortion Pill Work?

April 20, 2022 Off By Kevin Richardson

Time of reading 5 mins 30 secs

Hey, this is Lisa, and today is international safe abortion day, so I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about the abortion pill, also known as medical abortion, and demystify how it works. Now I am not a doctor or an expert, but I do believe that everyone deserves access to judgment-free information about sexual health to make safe and informed choices. So to get you the most accurate and accessible information about medical abortion.

I’ve collaborated with the beautiful folk on how to use They’re a global organization that provides knowledge and resources around medical abortion to help people around the world safely navigate their options on their own terms.

Whatever your stance is on abortion, the fact is that millions of abortions take place globally each year. Most of these occur via medical abortion. According to a study by the excellent marker institute, close to 16 million abortions occur annually in India alone, and over 80 percent of these occur via medical abortion. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that of the roughly 48 million pregnancies that occur in India each year, nearly half are unintended, consistent with global statistics. Let that sink in. Close to half of all pregnancies globally are unintended, even though we never talk about it.

Abortion is so common that you can think of it like this. Everyone loves someone who has had an abortion, yet it remains a topic so shrouded in the stigma that unsafe abortion is still a leading cause of maternal mortality. Now I am a huge proponent of safe sex. My whole mission with my channel is to imagine a world where all sexual experiences are consensual and secure. Stiсвя, the fact is that, especially in a country like ours where there is no formal sex education in schools and several barriers to safe and easy access to contraception.

Millions of people have unintended pregnancies; furthermore, even for those with safe and regular access to contraception, an unintended pregnancy can still occur even after taking all necessary precautions. Because contraceptive failure does happen, non-consensual sex happens, and health-related complications in pregnancy happen. These are just plain hard facts, and yet even though abortion is legal in India, it remains something that people are shamed for everyone deserves the opportunity to be able to learn about their options in a safe and judgment-free environment to make the choice that is best for them and their bodies.

When faced with an unwanted pregnancy, we need to talk about this more and educate ourselves on options. Most people only learn about abortion options for the first time when they find themselves in a situation where they have an unwanted pregnancy. They don’t know what to do. They end up.

We have to educate ourselves about a complex topic at a time when they are already burdened with the stress and complications of what is often a tough decision. So I think of it this way knowledge is power. If we made it the norm to teach young people about sexual and reproductive health as a fundamental part of their general education, we would all be better equipped to make safer choices daily.

So all of that said, let’s now learn more about the abortion pill and how it works. Please remember this video is not meant to replace medical advice. I share some general but essential information that I believe people deserve more accessible access to. The vast majority of abortions occur in the early stages of pregnancy. For people seeking an abortion in the first trimester or, more specifically, up to the first 11 weeks, most doctors recommend using medical abortion pills. This is a very safe process; however, it is best undergone in consultation with a trusted doctor or gynecologist who understands your medical history, who is aware of any current health concerns you may have, and who can explain to you your options in a judgment-free manner a significant advantage of the abortion pills.

However, is that after consulting with your doctor and understanding the process, you can even take the pills in the privacy and comfort of your own home or any other space where you feel safe. Hospitalization is not necessary.

So, what exactly happens during a safe abortion with pills?

How Does The Abortion Pill Work

How Does The Abortion Pill Work

Medical abortion involves taking two different types of tablets. The first medication is called Mifepristone, and it is to be taken as a single pill swallowed with water. Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone needed for a pregnancy to grow.

The second medication is called Misoprostol, and it is to be taken at least 24 hours but not more than 48 hours after the first medication. Misoprostol works by causing the body to expel the pregnancy from the uterus. Four Misoprostol tablets are to be placed under the tongue for 30 minutes, during which time you’re not meant to eat or drink anything. After 30 minutes, you can simply swallow whatever is left of the pills with water.

As for what these pills look like, the two medications are typically sold together in the required dosage as a sort of kit. You can see that they all have two types of pills one Mifepristone pill and four Misoprostol pills.

So let’s now move on to what happens after the pills are taken. Some people have light bleeding after taking the first pill, the Mifepristone but others don’t. Both are normal. Within one to four hours of taking the second medication, most people experience cramping and bleeding. These two symptoms indicate that the medicine is working and can last for several hours.

However, both symptoms improve significantly once the pregnancy has been expelled. For some people, cramping can be considerably more painful than menstrual cramps, and bleeding can be heavier than the average period. It is also common to pass blood clots within the first few hours of taking Misoprostol, but cramping can be mild, and bleeding can reset the regular average period.

The intensity of the cramping is usually related to the length of the pregnancy: earlier pregnancy termination may result in less cramping and bleeding, while pregnancies that are further along often result in more. Taking a painkiller like Ibuprofen before using Misoprostol is an entirely usual and effective way to help manage the pain from cramping.

Misoprostol can cause some nausea, so if you vomit within 30 minutes of taking the tablets, you should consult your doctor if you need to retake the medication after 30 minutes. However, the pills have likely already been absorbed by the body in people between 9 and 11 weeks pregnant. Four more drugs may be administered for those who do not experience bleeding and cramping within three hours of taking the Misoprostol.

If Mifepristone isn’t available to you, your doctor may prescribe repeated doses of misoprostol only. However, the medications are more effective when taken as a combination.

Most people feel better within 24 hours of completing their medication, and as long as you meet the criteria for the method and it has been administered correctly, complications are rare. Suppose you want to ascertain that the process has been successful. In that case, your doctor or gynecologist can perform a scan once you’ve completed your medical abortion to ensure that all pregnancy tissue has been expelled.

Three weeks after the treatment, you can simply take a pregnancy test. If you take a test earlier, though, it will likely show a false positive, so you must wait three weeks. Remember that you can get pregnant again even after you’ve had an abortion, so using contraception is vital when resuming sexual activity.

An unintended pregnancy can happen to anyone, and having an abortion is by no means grounds for judgment on a woman’s character. There isn’t a certain kind of woman that has an abortion.

We hope you’ll join us in imagining a world free from abortion stigma and where all people have the right to make their own choices about their bodies. If you want to learn more about safe abortion or the abortion pill, or if you’d like to find out about abortion rights in your country, be sure to check out They’re a platform with invaluable information and resources that you can access for free in 25 languages, including Hindi. You can also follow htuabortionpill on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don’t also forget to check out their youtube channel.

I hope you liked this video; please do share it and leave us a comment, and here’s to normalizing education and access around sexual and reproductive health.