The Abortion Pill: What to Expect 

the abortion pill: what to expect

If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant, you may experience a lot of different emotions. You may also be wondering what you should do and if the abortion pill is something you want to go through with. You may be asking, “what should I expect? What does the abortion pill process look like?”

It’s important to gather accurate medical information before taking the abortion pill. Just like any other medical procedure, you shouldn’t rush into abortion without knowing the facts. 

The following information will give you some of the information you need to know to make the best choice for your health.

The abortion pill process

You may have heard of the “abortion pill,” also called a medical abortion. 

This is actually a series of pills: 

  • mifepristone is taken the first day[4]
  • misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours after the first medication[4]

This method of abortion is only approved as effective up to 70 days from your last period, or 10 weeks of pregnancy[2][5].

The first pill, mifepristone, will be prescribed or given in the provider’s office; it blocks the hormone progesterone[4][5]. 

Progesterone is responsible for building the uterine lining which is supporting the pregnancy. Without progesterone, the pregnancy cannot continue[5]. 

After 24-48 hours the second pill, misoprostol, will be taken at home. This medication causes uterine cramping, which then expels the uterine lining and embryo out through the vagina[4]. 

The FDA does not recommend buying mifepristone online[2].

What to expect when you take the abortion pill

It is important to plan when you will take the second pill, as it will cause bleeding and cramping that is likely to be heavier than your normal period[4][5]. 

Most women pass the pregnancy within 2-24 hours of taking the second pill[5]. 

You may pass 

  • blood clots[5]
  • and tissue[5]

Other side effects that you may experience are

  • nausea[4][5]
  • weakness[4][5]
  • fever/chills[4][5]
  • vomiting[4][5]
  • headache[4][5]
  • diarrhea[4][5]
  • and dizziness[4][5]

Follow up after taking the abortion pill

It is important to follow up with your provider in 7-14 days so they can assess that the abortion is complete and that you are healing[4]. 

You can expect to bleed for an average of 9-16 days and possibly up to 30 days. You should not use tampons for at least the first two weeks, as they may increase the risk of infection[4].

Support plan 

For your safety, it is a good idea to make sure at least one other person knows you have taken the abortion pill in case you need help managing your symptoms or seeking medical care. 

Medical abortions have been shown to account for more emergency room visits than surgical abortions[3].

Have someone supportive you can talk to before, during, or after your abortion. Abortion can influence your emotions and your mental health[1]. It is not something to take lightly.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease[6
  • bleeding problems[6
  • anemia[6
  • and/or asthma[6

Do not take the abortion pill if you have: 

  • an IUD in place[5][6]
  • adrenal gland problems[5][6]
  • porphyria[5][6]
  • or if you take: 
    • blood thinners[5][6]
    • and/or systemic steroid medications[5][6]

Warning signs after taking the abortion pill

These symptoms, while uncommon, require immediate medical attention. Contact your provider immediately or proceed to the nearest emergency room if you experience: 

  • fever of 100.4 or higher that lasts more than 4 hours[5]
  • severe stomach/abdominal pain[5]
  • heavy bleeding – soaking two full size sanitary pads per hour for two hours in a row, or if you are concerned about the amount you are bleeding[5
    • about 1 in 100 women bleed heavily enough to need a surgical procedure to stop it[5]
  • “feeling sick” – experiencing stomach pain or discomfort, weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol, could be a sign of a serious infection, or ectopic pregnancy[5]

Abortion pill reversal 

If you have taken the first abortion pill and are having second thoughts, it is possible to reverse the process and continue your pregnancy, but time is critical. There is a 24/7 helpline with someone ready to assist you right away. 

Call 877-558-0333 or go to

If you want to talk with someone before making an abortion decision, or after making an abortion decision, we are here for you

If you think you might be pregnant and you need support, we offer free and confidential medical grade pregnancy test verifications and limited obstetric ultrasounds

During these appointments, you’ll have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Care Clinic’s registered nurse, ask her all the questions you might have, and talk with someone through all your options.

*Care Pregnancy Resource Center does not perform or refer out for abortions. All medical services are provided through referral relationship with onsite Care Clinic. Care Clinic is staffed by licensed medical professionals.

Read related articles


  1. Cambridge University Press. Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009. British Journal of Psychiatry (2018, January 02). 
  2. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Information about Mifepristone for Medical Termination of Pregnancy Through Ten Weeks Gestation. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2021, December 16).
  3. A Longitudinal Cohort Study of Emergency Room Utilization Following Mifepristone Chemical and Surgical Abortions. Sage Journals. (2021, November 9).
  4. Medical Abortion. Mayo Clinic. (2022, July 29). 
  5. Medication Guide, Mifeprex. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
  6. Medical Abortion Contraindications and Precautions. Ipas. (2021, January 22).