Abortion by Pill

Commonly called ‘the abortion pill’, medical abortion is a non-invasive procedure for termination of a pregnancy. We routinely provide medical abortions (Abortion by Pill) to 9 weeks of pregnancy but can go up to 10 weeks on an individual basis.

What to Expect

Our non-surgical abortion process uses Mifepristone and Misoprostol to end a pregnancy at home.

Follow-up Visit

Make sure your abortion is complete and receive birth control if desired.

Planning Your Medical Abortion

Making sure you have the necessary time, support, and medications for a successful procedure.

After Your Medical Abortion

Post-abortion recovery expectations and aftercare instructions.

Our Medical Protocol

We use FDA and NAF approved Mifepristone, the safest and most effective method.

Abortion & the Law

The 24-hour information and waiting period law that every woman must comply with before her abortion can legally begin.

“After my visit I knew exactly what to expect and I appreciated having my fiancé with me during the process to help and support me.”

What to Expect with a Medical (Non-Surgical) Abortion

In the Office

At your procedure visit, a technician will perform a transvaginal ultrasound. You will discuss your decision and options with a counselor and talk more about the medications, side effects, and risks outlined in the Medication Guide.

A nurse or assistant will take your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature) and you will meet with a physician. The physician will ask you about your decision and answer any questions you may have. The physician will then give you one Mifeprex™ tablet (200 mg Mifepristone) that you will take orally. If your blood type is Rh negative, a nurse will administer an injection of Rhogam [PDF] in the recovery room. You will be given prescriptions for pain medication, antibiotics, and reminded about how to contact us in case of an emergency. The physician will also dispense a packet containing 800mcg of Misoprotol to take home.

At Home

The Misoprostol should be taken 24-48 hours after swallowing the Mifeprex™ tablet at AWC. Thirty minutes before you plan to take the Misoprostol tablets, take 800mg of Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.). The Misoprostol should be administered by inserting two tablets into your mouth, between your gum and cheek, on the left side and two tablets, between your gum and cheek, on the right side. All four pills should be left in the mouth for approximately 30 minutes to dissolve. You may not eat or drink anything while the pills are dissolving. Anything left in the mouth after 30 minutes should be swallowed. Contractions and bleeding should begin between 20 minutes and 4 hours after taking Misoprostol.


Most women can expect very heavy bleeding with this method and it is normal to pass some large clots. Clots may look bigger in the toilet and are not a cause for alarm. Bleeding may continue off and on for several days or weeks and can range from a light flow or spotting to heavier, like a period. Your bleeding should slow down after you pass the pregnancy. However, if you do not begin bleeding within 24 hours or you are soaking through 2 or more pads per hour for 2 hours in a row, please call AWC immediately.


Cramping is an indication that the medical abortion is working and is normal with this type of abortion. Cramps may at times be quite painful and much worse than a period. You may take 800 mg Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) every 6-8 hours and 1 tablet of Tylenol with Codeine every 4 hours as needed. If nothing helps, call our office. Do not take aspirin or any aspirin-based medications (Excedrin, etc.).

Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, and Weakness

Sometimes these symptoms can be a side effect of the Mifeprex™ and Misoprostol tablets. If these symptoms occur 24 hours or more after you have taken Misoprostol, it could be a sign of something more serious, such as toxic shock or infection. 
Call our office immediately if, more than 24 hours after taking Misoprostol, you experience symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea and weakness with or without abdominal pain, and with or without fever.


A temperature of 101F or higher can be normal after taking Misoprostol. Your temperature should return to normal about one hour after the bleeding starts. Monitor your temperature each hour over the next three hours. Drink lots of fluids. If your fever does not return to normal in three hours call the clinic. If you get a fever of above 100.4F after day 4, please call our office immediately.

About 90% of women complete the abortion within 4 – 24 hours of inserting the Misoprostol tablets, although for some women it may take longer. The embryo may be embedded in a blood clot or it may be more recognizable as a small white form about the size of a grain of rice.

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Follow-up Visit

Approximately 10-14 days after your first visit you will return to AWC for a repeat vaginal ultrasound. This is important to make sure the abortion is complete. Approximately 1% of women using this method will not end their pregnancies and 2-3% will have remaining pregnancy tissue in the uterus at the time of the follow-up appointment. If the abortion is complete, you will discuss [birth control options] and future care. If you are still pregnant, you will most likely need surgery to complete the abortion.

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Planning for Your Medical Abortion


Because a medical abortion is a more involved process than a traditional surgical abortion, it is important for AWC to make sure that every patient feels prepared. Patients who wish to pursue a non-surgical abortion should:

  • Be no more than 9 weeks pregnant and meet all medical eligibility requirements. (We go to 10 weeks on an individual basis.)
  • Understand how the medical abortion process works, including an accurate expectation of bleeding, discomfort, possible side effects, and failure rates.
  • Have a safe place to stay and a reliable support person who is available to stay with the patient for the duration of the process.
  • Be able to arrange for up to 3 days off from work and/or class and for assistance with childcare, if necessary.
  • Be able and willing to make multiple visits to AWC.
  • Be willing to undergo a [surgical abortion] if the medical abortion fails.


Before self-administering your Misoprostol at home, you should make sure you have the following items on hand:

  • Tylenol with codeine – AWC can provide you with a prescription or you can purchase it from us
  • Misoprostol tablets – provided by AWC
  • Antibiotics – filled at your pharmacy with a prescription from AWC
  • Plenty of Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) – purchased at AWC or by prescription
  • A generous supply of maxi pads and/or adult diapers
  • A heating pad, hot water bottle, heat wraps, or other heat source
  • A thermometer
  • Plenty of water or other hydrating beverage

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After Your Medical Abortion

Post-abortion bleeding and cramping vary from woman to woman. You may bleed for two days to 4 weeks or have no bleeding at all. For many women, the bleeding stops and starts sporadically. There may be spotting until your next period. You may also find that you are passing large blood clots and have mild to moderate or even heavy cramping. All of this can be normal.

See our Abortion After-Care Instructions [PDF] for more details.


  • Do not take aspirin or any aspirin-based medications because they can increase bleeding.
  • Do not use tampons until after your follow-up exam. Use pads instead.
  • Do not douche or swim.
  • Do not take any prescription or non-prescription medications that AWC did not prescribe.
  • Do not have sexual intercourse until after your follow-up exam.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting until after your follow-up.

Call us – even if you have already had a follow-up exam – if you experience “flu-like” symptoms or are generally “not feeling well” after your medical abortion, even if it is a few weeks later. This could be a sign of a very serious infection.

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Our Medical Abortion Protocol

The abortion pill Mifeprex, followed by Misoprostol, is the best and safest method of medical abortion. Since its FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approval in 2000, it has become the only approved medical abortion method in the US. The National Abortion Federation guidelines advise using Mifeprex, as do FDA guidelines. We have been providing state-of-the-art approved Mifeprex medical abortions since 2002. If you are shopping for an abortion provider, ask what medication they use. Avoid a provider that uses the injection Methotrexate, an inexpensive cancer and arthritis medication, which takes longer, fails more often, and has additional health risks.

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