Top of the page
A medical abortion is the use of medicines to end a pregnancy. Usually two medicines are used. You take one medicine. Within 2 days after the first medicine, you take the second medicine. The timing depends on how the doctor tells you to use them.
In a self-managed medical abortion, you get and use abortion pills without working with a doctor. They are usually the same medicines used in a medical abortion done under a doctor's care.
People choose to self-manage a medical abortion for many reasons. Usually it's because they couldn't access abortion care through a doctor. This can happen if you can't get an abortion where you live. Or maybe telehealth abortion visits aren't available where you live. Or maybe you weren't able to get permission from your guardian.
People who have a self-managed medical abortion often wonder what to expect, what to watch out for, and how to know it worked. So if you learn about medical abortions, you will know how to take care of yourself. Be sure to call your doctor or get care if you're having problems after a self-managed abortion.
After a medical abortion, you may have:
Carefully follow all of your doctor's instructions after you've had an abortion.
If you didn't get instructions, follow this general advice.
This could increase your risk of infections that can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.
Take them exactly as instructed.
Most people can return to normal activities 1 to 2 days after an abortion.
You can get pregnant in the weeks after an abortion. If you don't want to get pregnant, talk to your doctor about birth control options.
Your doctor will give you information about what to expect after an abortion. Normal symptoms that most often occur include:
Follow your doctor's instructions on what to do at home.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor now if you have any of these symptoms after an abortion:
Call your doctor for an appointment if you have any of these symptoms after a recent abortion:
Medical abortion is safe and rarely causes any problems. Possible problems include:
You will take a pregnancy test at home or have an ultrasound or a lab test to make sure the abortion worked. You will be told when to do this.
If you got and used abortion pills without working with a doctor (self-managed abortion), you should take a pregnancy test about a month after the abortion to make sure it worked.
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineRebecca H. Allen MD, MPH - Obstetrics and GynecologyKirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and GynecologyHeather Quinn MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Rebecca H. Allen MD, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology & Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology & Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.