Did you take the first abortion pill but now regret your decision? You no longer want an abortion, but fear it’s too late to continue your pregnancy. Can you change your mind after taking the abortion pill? The answer is, “Yes!”
A physician-developed protocol, called abortion pill reversal (APR), was created for women who change their minds after taking the first abortion pill but haven’t taken the second dose. If this describes you, you aren’t alone. APR treatment was developed because of the number of women who changed their minds after starting the abortion pill process. Many have gone on to carry their pregnancies to term.
But timing is important. APR treatment is most successful within 72 hours of taking the first abortion pill with the highest success rates within 24 hours.
How the Abortion Pill Works
The abortion pill is a medication abortion rather than a surgical abortion. It’s not the same as the morning-after pill. You can obtain a medication abortion up to 70 days after the first day of your last period, but only through a medical provider.
A medical abortion typically consists of taking two medications. The first medication, mifepristone, is taken at a doctor’s office or clinic. The second medication, misoprostol, is taken at home 24-48 hours later.
Progesterone is a hormone vital to support your pregnancy. Mifepristone, the first pill you take in a medication abortion, binds to progesterone receptors and blocks your uterus’ and placenta’s ability to recognize your body’s progesterone. When this happens, the sustaining lining of your uterus begins to break down, and the embryo’s heart ceases to beat.
24-48 hours after taking mifepristone, you will take the second medication, misoprostol. Misoprostol works by causing bleeding and strong cramps to expel the pregnancy from your uterus. You can expect to pass clots and tissue. The abortion should be complete within 4-48 hours. However, lighter cramping may continue for about a week, and bleeding to spotting for about two to three weeks.
Some women report distress upon seeing the expelled pregnancy. Since the abortion happens at home, you may not prepared to see the results of ending your pregnancy. It’s a good idea to have someone with you in the event of any complications.
You Have Changed Your Mind. Now What?
If you have only taken the first medication, mifepristone, and you’ve changed your mind, it might not be too late! Don’t take the second medication, misoprostol, and contact Abortion Pill Rescue right away. Like you, many other women have changed their minds after beginning the abortion process, and the Abortion Pill Rescue team created a helpline staffed by medical professionals to help walk you through what to do next.
The Abortion Pill Reversal Process
- Don’t take the second medication if you want your pregnancy to continue and contact the Abortion Pill Rescue helpline within 24 hours to increase the chances of a successful abortion reversal. However, even if more than 72 hours have passed, still reach out for help.
- If the helpline medical professional determines an APR is possible, you will receive a referral to a local medical provider who can see you right away.
- The medical provider will complete an ultrasound to determine if your pregnancy is still viable (if the embryo has a heartbeat) and verify how far along you are.
- If the ultrasound determines your pregnancy is still viable, the medical provider will prescribe progesterone. Since mifepristone binds to progesterone receptors, the medical provider will give you extra progesterone, so it’s presence is more numerous than the mifepristone.
The progesterone will be given to you orally, vaginally, or by injection, and you will continue taking it until the end of your first trimester of pregnancy. This protocol allows your body to recognize the pregnancy-supporting progesterone the mifepristone was blocking.
Does Abortion Pill Reversal Work?
Studies reveal that 64-68% of women who receive the APR protocol go on to have successful pregnancies.
If a woman chooses not to receive the APR treatment but doesn’t take misoprostol after taking mifepristone, she may still have nearly a 50% chance of having a successful pregnancy. The choice is yours.
Are There Side Effects or Risks to Abortion Pill Reversal?
APR is considered safe. Physicians have been using progesterone safely in early pregnancy for over 50 years. Just be sure to follow your medical provider’s instructions carefully.
Also, note that some progesterone includes peanut oil. Tell the medical care provider if you’re allergic to peanuts so they can give you peanut-free progesterone.
Possible side effects of progesterone can include PMS-like symptoms, nausea, sleepiness, low energy, dizziness, and headaches. Drinking extra fluids can reduce progesterone’s side effects.
Taking misoprostol and progesterone during pregnancy doesn’t appear to be harmful to a fetus. Studies show that the rate of congenital disabilities (birth defects) after APR is lower than for the general population.
Does Abortion Pill Reversal Mean You Have to Raise Your Child?
No. There are many reasons women change their minds about abortion. Sometimes women decide they want to raise their children, but don’t know how to financially or practically manage it.
If this is your situation, Willowbrook Women’s Center provides no-cost, judgment-free advocates to address your concerns and answer your questions. There are over 2,000 organizations across the U.S. that help women who choose to parent their unexpected pregnancies. We can provide you with a list of local community resources. These resources provide services, tangible resources, and ongoing support so you can parent successfully.
Sometimes women decide they can’t proceed with an abortion knowing they aren’t ready to raise a child. If this describes you, contact Willowbrook Women’s Center for a confidential appointment to talk over your options. Our compassionate advocates can provide referral choices for you if you would like to pursue learning more about adoption. We are here to come alongside you so you can make a confident decision for your future.