Preparing for an abortion with pills at home

Abortion pills are safe, common, and hundreds of people use them at home every day. The process can be painful and but it is usually over within several hours.

5 ways to prepare to use abortion pills at home

1) Read the instructions before you start the process.

You receive instructions by email. Make sure you know how long you have been pregnant so that you follow the right instructions for the length of your pregnancy. Reach out to us if you have any questions or need help with the instructions.

2) Understand what to expect.

The mifepristone (first pill) usually does not cause any side effects. Some people have light bleeding or nausea. After using the second medication, misoprostol, you should have bleeding and cramps. This usually starts within a few hours, but it can be later. You can also have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and fever.

The bleeding is usually heavier than a normal period. The longer the pregnancy, the more cramps and bleeding there will be. The heaviest bleeding usually comes 2-6 hours after using misoprostol. After 4-6 hours, it should start to slow down.

Depending on how long you have been pregnant, you might see pregnancy tissue. Before 8 weeks, you probably won’t see anything other than blood and clots. You could see a small white tissue like a piece of sponge, which is the pregnancy tissue. The MYA Network has examples of what you might see. Starting around 9 weeks, you might see an embryo less than an inch long. After 12 weeks, the pregnancy is larger and more developed, so you will likely see something that looks more like a fetus.

3) Decide when and where you will use the pills.

It's best to plan for at least 24 hours of time to yourself after you take the misoprostol. If this is not possible, plan on having at least 12 hours after you take the misoprostol.

It's best to choose a space where you can lie down or move around however you feel most comfortable. You will need access to a bathroom.

It can help to make yourself as cosy and comfortable as possible.  If your home environment is not calm, consider listening to your favorite music or podcasts through headphones, or watching a TV show that you love.

4) Have the supplies and comfort items you need.

We recommend using maxi pads to absorb the bleeding and keep track of how much you are bleeding. Some people using the pills later in pregnancy prefer to use adult diapers because they are more absorbent. Others have the abortions while sitting on the toilet because that is more comfortable for them.

It's good to have snacks and light meals that are easy on your stomach. Drink water or herbal tea to stay hydrated and comfortable.

For pain, you can use over-the-counter pain medicines. Heating pads can help a lot with cramps. 

If you cannot afford these things, reach out to an abortion fund in your area to see if they can arrange a care kit for you.

5) Have someone to support you.

We recommend having someone you trust there with you when you use the misoprostol (the second medication). Serious complications are rare, but it is important to have someone who can take you to receive medical care if you need it. If you can't have someone with you in person, try to have someone check in on you by phone / text. If you don't have someone who can be with you, we recommend reaching out to the abortion doulas at Reprocare for emotional support.