A medical abortion may be performed before nine weeks (63 days from the start of one’s last menstrual period) and must be prescribed by an authorized medical provider. A medical abortion is a three step process. The first two steps include taking two different medications, two days apart. The medications, mifepristone (RU486) and misoprostol, are taken by mouth; however, misoprostol may also be administered as a vaginal suppository (tablets placed in the vagina). The third step of the process involves a return visit to the abortion clinic to see if the fetus has passed from the uterus. It is possible that the pregnancy may continue after the medications have been taken1.
Mifepristone and misoprostol cause bleeding and cramping. The also may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. It is important to have accurate information on what is expected from a medical abortion in terms of pain, bleeding, and passing tissue 2. The side effects of these medications can be similar to the symptoms of other early pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy3. If you have questions, please call the Pregnancy Resource Center to speak with a health care professional who can give you more detailed information on abortion procedures and early pregnancy.