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What Does a Medical Abortion Feel Like?

If you’re considering taking the abortion pill, then you’re probably wondering what to expect. Having a medical termination of pregnancy is actually a very safe and simple process, so there’s no need to feel anxious. However, you will experience bleeding, cramps and other symptoms that can feel a lot like a heavy period.

What Happens When You Have a Medical Abortion?

A medical termination of pregnancy involves taking two different medications, two days apart. The first abortion pill is called mifepristone. It blocks the hormones that are keeping you pregnant. The second abortion pill is called misoprostol. It causes your womb to contract and expel its contents. The pregnancy will be ended by the first pill, but you might not notice any difference until you take the second pill as this is when you’ll start to bleed.

Common Symptoms After Taking the Abortion Pill

The main effects of a medical termination of pregnancy happen after you take the second abortion pill. You should expect:

  • Bleeding, which is usually heavier than a normal period and may include more blood clots than usual. It’s heaviest in the first couple of days but can last up to a fortnight.
  • Cramps or pain in your abdomen, which could be mild or severe. You should be able to relieve any pain with over the counter painkillers, but don’t take aspirin as this can affect your ability to form blood clots. Choose paracetamol or ibuprofen instead.

Other side effects can also happen. Some of these may be linked to the pregnancy hormones that are still circulating in your body. Others can be similar to the symptoms that many women experience during their periods. You might experience:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Low fever for a couple of days
  • Dizziness

How Will I Feel After a Medical Termination of Pregnancy?

Knowing the list of common symptoms after a medical abortion can give you some idea of what to expect, but what will you actually feel like during and after the termination of pregnancy?

Most of the symptoms that you’ll feel are due to the contraction of your womb caused by the second abortion pill. You won’t usually feel anything after taking the first medication. Once you take the second drug, your body will start to expel the contents of the womb. The muscles in the uterine wall will contract and you’ll start to bleed.

The experience feels a lot like a heavy period for most women. The uterine muscles are doing the same job as they do when you have a period, so the cramps can feel very similar. You should expect to bleed more heavily and for longer than during a normal period, but the sensation is usually very similar. The medical termination procedure is also very similar to having a spontaneous miscarriage, as the effects on your body are the same.

However, the strength of the cramps and the amount of pain you feel can vary. Some people only experience mild discomfort, while others can find the termination much more painful than their usual period cramps. You’ll probably be feeling tired, you may still be experiencing some pregnancy symptoms, and you could get emotional too (partly because of the hormones). Since it’s impossible to predict exactly how you’ll feel, it’s important to arrange at least a couple of days off so that you can rest and recover at home.

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