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What Is a Medical Abortion?

A medical abortion, also referred to as the abortion pill, is composed of two very powerful drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol.

Mifepristone causes fetal demise by causing the lining of the uterus to thin and the fetus to detach.

Misoprostol causes cramping and contractions to expel the fetal tissue and complete the abortion.

Before considering a medical abortion, there are a few important factors you should keep in mind.

The Abortion Pill Has Risks

The abortion pill drugs can cause the following symptoms, especially if taken too late in pregnancy or without the proper medical supervision. Here are a few:

Septic Shock

Septic shock is a true medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Very high or very low body temperature
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Severe pain
  • Cool, pale arms and legs
  • Feelings of confusion, restlessness, or fatigue
  • Shaking chills
  • Low blood pressure, especially when standing
  • Inability to urinate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid, pounding heart rate
  • Difficult, rapid breathing with shortness of breath

Incomplete Abortion

An incomplete abortion occurs when not all of the fetal tissue is expelled during the abortion. If it leads to infection, it may require a surgical abortion to complete. Contact a doctor right away if you bleed enough to soak through two thick full-size sanitary pads per hour for two consecutive hours.

Abdominal Pain

If you “feel sick,” including feeling nauseous, vomiting, having diarrhea, or experiencing abdominal pain – you should contact a doctor. These can be symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy or serious infection.


According to the FDA, if you have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher that lasts more than 4 hours, you should seek medical care. Fever can be a symptom of an infection or other problem after taking the abortion pill.

You Need Important Pre-Abortion Screenings

The abortion pill is only approved by the FDA to terminate early pregnancies (within the first 70 days of pregnancy). It is ineffective at ending or treating ectopic pregnancies which are located outside of the uterus and are nonviable. 

An ultrasound is needed to know how far along you are and be confident your pregnancy is located in your uterus.

An ultrasound generates pictures of the inside of your uterus so the ultrasound technician can take measurements to determine how far along you are.

The ultrasound images can also identify whether or not your pregnancy is typical (located in the womb) and viable. A different type of medical procedure is needed to terminate an ectopic pregnancy.

You May Not Qualify for a Medical Abortion

According to the Mayo Clinic, medical abortion isn’t an option if you:

  • Are too far along in your pregnancy. You shouldn’t attempt a medical abortion if you’ve been pregnant for more than nine weeks (after the start of your last period). Some types of medical abortion aren’t done after seven weeks of pregnancy.
  • Have an intrauterine device (IUD) currently in place.
  • Have a suspected pregnancy outside of the uterus. This is called ectopic pregnancy.
  • Have certain medical conditions. These include bleeding disorders; certain heart or blood vessel diseases; severe liver, kidney or lung disease; or an uncontrolled seizure disorder.
  • Take a blood thinner or certain steroid medicines.
  • Can’t make follow-up visits to your provider or don’t have access to emergency care.
  • Have an allergy to the medicine used.

How We Help

At Heart of the Hills, we do not offer abortions, but we do provide ultrasounds so you can get all the answers you need to protect your health and well-being.

Contact us to schedule your appointment today. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Know my state.
Know my options.


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