The Do’s And Don’ts Of A Safe Abortion With Pills
Are the abortion pills safe? It’s a question that our team at HowToUse fields almost daily. In fact, we handle the question so commonly that our answer has become pretty standard fare:
Yes, an abortion with pills, or medical abortion, is a safe option. In fact, it’s statistically safer than many of the medical procedures that are so commonplace in health care now, like having your tonsils out or getting a shot of penicillin. The key to a safe medical abortion, though, is having access to trusted information and following accurate instructions.
In keeping with our mission to make safe abortion information as easy to understand and as accessible to reach as possible, we decided to put together a quick list of top 5 dos and don’ts for a safe medical abortion. Though the list is not comprehensive, it is a starting place for anyone considering an abortion with pills.
Do For Safe Medical Abortion:
- Do be aware of abortion laws in your country. Knowing what is available to you is critical information you’ll need to help you exercise your right to a safe abortion. Not sure what laws or options exist in your country? You can visit our Regions page to read profiles we’ve written about abortion access in individual countries. Don’t see your home country on our list? You can also check out the Center For Reproductive Rights World Abortion Laws Map to get a general overview of abortion laws near you.
- Do research trusted medical abortion providers within your area. If abortion is legally accessible in your country, you’ll want to ensure that you choose someone who is well trained, reliable, and works within a sanitary clinical space. You can find links to trusted abortion providers that we recommend around the world on our Regions page. But what if abortion is not yet legally accessible where you live? Don’t worry. You still have options. You can reach out to some of our trusted international providers who are working to ensure that all women have access to safe medical abortion options: www.safe2choose.org, www.womenhelp.org, or www.womenonweb.org..
- Do fully understand the medical abortion process, including which pills are used, how they are used safely, and what to expect during the abortion. Knowing this information ahead of time will reduce risks of possible complication and will help you feel more confident and prepared during the abortion process. For all this information and more, you can visit our website for complete information about medical abortion: www.howtouseabortionpill.org.
Don’t Do For Safe Medical Abortion:
- Don’t use herbs or home remedies, as these are so often ineffective and downright unsafe abortion options. Do not attempt to terminate a pregnancy by inserting foreign objects into the vagina or by applying force, as these can pose serious threats to a woman’s health and safety. Stay clear of anyone who’s performing abortion work in dirty or unsanitary conditions.1
- Don’t feel like you are alone in this decision. Whether abortion is legally accessible to you or not, whether you are able to share your decision with friends and family or not, or whether you feel certain about your next steps or not—you have support waiting for you. Reach out to www.safe2choose.org, who offers extensive abortion counseling through their online livechat service. You can also anonymously share your abortion story or read other stories on their Your Voice page.
Do After A Medical Abortion
- Be aware of what to expect from your body. Yes, you will experience cramping. Yes, you will experience bleeding. Both of these are signs that the abortion is proceeding. Make sure that you are in a place that is safe and comfortable during the abortion process so that you can rest, relax, and take care of yourself as needed.
- Know the difference between side effects and complications. Heavy bleeding is normal. Bleeding that is so heavy that is completely soaks two regular sanitary pads within an hour for two hours straight is not. Familiarize yourself with what to expect after you use abortion pills so that you can differentiate between the typical abortion process and an emergency situation.2
- Get as comfortable as possible. Eat and drink as you’d like during the abortion. Keep things on hand that are warm and hydrating, like soup or tea. Pick out a good movie or pick up a good book. Staying relaxed during the abortion process will help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, or panic.
Don’t Do After A Medical Abortion
- Don’t expect a pregnancy test to come back negative right away. Pregnancy tests work by measuring the amount of pregnancy hormones in your urine. These hormones usually take about 2 weeks to return to normal, non-pregnancy levels after an abortion. If you take a pregnancy test too early, it will likely give you a false positive. Wait at least 2 weeks after the abortion before testing.3
- If you live in a place where abortion is legally restricted, do not admit to using the abortion pills. An abortion with pills is almost identical to a natural miscarriage. If anyone asks why you are no longer pregnant, you can tell them that you had an unexpected pregnancy loss through miscarriage. If you are talking to a doctor, you can tell them that you just spontaneously started bleeding.
Want more information? Visit our website to read all about safe medical abortion. You can also follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Flipboard. If you have a specific question, you can reach us through Facebook private messages or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire is a teacher, reproductive rights advocate, and the manager of https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/
- 1 “Preventing Unsafe Abortion.” The World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/preventing-unsafe-abortion
- 2 “Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems.” The World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/70914/?sequence=1
- 3 van der Lugt B, Drogendijk AC. “The disappearance of human chorionic gonadotropin from plasma and urine following induced abortion. Disappearance of HCG after induced abortion.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2417443