Having an abortion, especially a medical abortion, won’t usually affect your chances of becoming pregnant or carrying out future pregnancies to term.
According to the FDA, the Abortion Pill medications are not considered harmful to future fertility, but their effects have not been studied as extensively as surgical procedures.
Although they may not show up right away, there are side effects of the abortion pill that can cause problems down the road. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are some studies that link pregnancy termination to an increased risk of premature birth or low birth weight for future pregnancies.
What is a Medical Abortion?
The abortion pill, often referred to as a medical abortion is actually a series of two different pills.
The first pill, Mifepristone, blocks the hormones necessary for the pregnancy to continue. The second pill, Misoprostol, stimulates the uterus to cramp and bleed so that the embryo is forced to leave the woman’s body (similar to a miscarriage).
Mifepristone Oral (Mifeprex or RU-486) is an abortion pill prescribed during the first seven to ten weeks of pregnancy. It is a drug that blocks the effects of progesterone, one of the hormones necessary for the uterus’ ability to support a pregnancy.
To complete the process, Misoprostol is a medication that causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo, embryonic sac, and lining of the uterus, ultimately removing the developing fetus. This process usually takes 24-48 hours and is often accompanied by heavy bleeding and strong uterine cramping.
What are the Side Effects of the Abortion Pill?
The physical side effects of taking the abortion pill can vary from woman to woman, but there are potential side effects and risks that you should be aware of.
Some of the more severe side effects include:
- Uterine Cramps
- Bleeding Not Related to Menstrual Period
- Stomach Cramps
- Low Amounts of Potassium in the Blood
While less severe, the following side effects are extremely common after taking the abortion pill:
- High Blood Pressure
- Overgrowth of the Uterine Lining
- Joint Pain
- Low Energy
- Fluid Retention in the Legs, Feet, Arms, or Hands
- Loss of Appetite
- Head Pain
- Throwing Up
Emotional and psychological side effects are often more common than the physical side effects of the abortion pill. These can range from feelings of regret to more serious complications such as depression.
Long-term Side Effects of the Abortion Pill on Fertility
While taking the abortion pill is not directly linked to infertility, it has been shown to cause future pregnancy complications.
An abortion study performed in Denmark identified analyzed the future fertility of women after abortion. The study looked at 12,000 women who had undergone a abortions between 1999 and 2004.
- They looked at the possibility of ectopic/tubal pregnancies (when a fertilized egg implants itself in a place other than inside the uterus) in women who had experienced both surgical and medical abortions.
While the study didn’t identify any additional side effects on fertility, they found that the tubal pregnancies occurred at the same rate – about 2.5% of the time – in both surgical and medical abortions.
We’re Here to Help.
If you’ve taken an abortion pill and are concerned about its possible impact on future pregnancies, contact White Rose Women’s Center. We can help you understand the potential risks and the steps you can take to ensure a healthy pregnancy.