10 Common Side Effects of Taking Abortion Pills

10 Common Side Effects of Abortion Pills

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Being pregnant is one of the biggest joys for a woman, and she dreams about it as soon as she thinks she is ready to take the responsibility of a baby. However, this joy can turn into a nightmare if the pregnancy is unwanted or unexpected. There are many options available to a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, and one of them is taking abortion pills. Although this method is less invasive in comparison to the surgical procedure, it may lead to certain side effects too. If you are considering using abortion pills to terminate your pregnancy, you should read about the probable side effects of abortion pills before you take them.

Side Effects of Taking Abortion Pills

An abortion not only drains a woman physically, but it exhausts her emotionally too. Taking abortion pills seems like a safe choice in order to terminate an unwanted pregnancy as these pills are easily available in medical stores and can be procured easily, but one should you consult a doctor before doing so. Any kind of self-medication to terminate a pregnancy can be fatal and also the side effects of abortion pills on future pregnancies can also not be overlooked. Here we shall be focusing on the possible effects that you may have to face after using abortion pills.

1. Intense Pain

After taking abortion pills you may experience severe abdominal pain and pain in the pelvic region. This pain may seem similar to menstrual pain, but it is more intense than that. And one should not take abortion pills after the 7th week of the pregnancy.

A woman with abdominal pain

2. Excessive or Prolonged Bleeding

Taking abortion pills stop the production of the progesterone hormone and the foetus gets detached from the uterus. If you take abortion pills, you might feel contractions as your uterus prepares to expel everything out. You may experience bleeding heavier than your normal period bleeding and even notice lumps and clots while bleeding.

3. Diarrhoea

Medication for abortion is known to disturb bowel movements. You may feel the cramps and a churning sensation in your stomach after taking abortion pills. You may even notice symptoms of diarrhoea. Although it may not be a fatal condition, it is important that you take preventive measures and drink ample water to avoid dehydration.

4. Severe Cramping

You might experience discomfort and cramping after taking abortion pills. The excessive blood loss and other body fluids may cause cramping in other parts of the body too. These are very common side effects that can usually be experienced after taking such medicines. However, proper fluid intake and a healthy diet can help you cope with cramps in a better way.

5. Nausea

You may feel nauseous after taking abortion pills. Vomiting and nausea are some of the ill-effects of abortion medicines. However, if you have puked within an hour after taking the abortion pill, you may have to take it again. In case you vomit the pill, then again you will have to take the pill.

6. Dizziness

It is very common to feel dizzy after taking abortion pills. Usually, this feeling subsides within an hour or so, but if you keep feeling dizzy after a few hours or feel that you are going to faint, you should consult your doctor immediately.

7. Severe Headaches

A young woman with a headache

Although abortion pills will save you from the trauma of undergoing the medical or surgical procedure, its side effects can take a serious toll on your health. Apart from the feeling of dizziness, you may have a severe headache after popping the pill. The best thing to overcome a headache is to take adequate rest and sleep.

8. Fever

Another ill-effect of popping abortion pills is experiencing fever and chills. This is a very common side effect, and the fever may stay below 100 degrees and usually may last for a day or two. However, if the fever is more than 100 degrees or lasts for more than two to three days, seek medical attention soon.

9. Smelly Vaginal Discharge

Some women experience foul-smelling discharge after taking the abortion pill. This is unusual and is a sign of some infection or complication that may have been caused because of the pill. If you experience any such symptom, it is suggested that you seek medical help.

10. Incomplete Abortion

Sometimes taking pills does not cause a complete abortion, and under such circumstances surgical intervention becomes mandatory. However, this is not very common and may occur only in 2 to 10 per cent of the cases. In case your bleeding does not stop or you have a fever that lasts longer or you have severe cramps and pain; you should get immediate medical help.

How Long Do the Side Effects of Abortion Pills Last?

When it comes to abortion pills and side effects, the side effects vary from person to person. On the day you take the second pill, it’s advisable to rest in a comfortable environment. Fatigue may persist for one or two days, but you should return to normal soon.

If you feel well, you can resume work and most regular activities the following day, though it’s recommended to avoid excessive physical activity for a few days. As time progresses, you should start feeling better, but if weakness persists, contact your doctor promptly.

After the completion of the abortion, cramping and vaginal bleeding decrease over hours and days. Breast tenderness and milky discharge may occur but usually resolve within a few days.

Any chills, fevers, or nausea typically diminish gradually. If you experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever persisting for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol (the second set of pills), contact your doctor immediately, as it may indicate an infection.


1. What If You Take Abortion Pills at a Later Stage of Your Pregnancy?

Taking pills in the later stages of pregnancy, i.e., after the 7th week of pregnancy is not recommended. So it is best that you don’t take them once you cross the 7th-week mark of your pregnancy.

2. Can Abortion Pills Affect Your Periods?

Yes, taking abortion pills can affect your menstrual cycle. You may bleed for several weeks after abortion. But your periods should return to normal after 4-8 weeks of the abortion.

3. Can I Breastfeed After Taking an Abortion Pill?

If you take an abortion pill in your nursing stage, the ingredients of the abortion pill may get passed on to the baby through the breast milk. Although the quantity will be less, you should not take a risk. It is suggested that you consult a doctor before taking pills to end your pregnancy.

4. Is Constipation One of the Side Effects of the Abortion Pill?

Constipation is not commonly reported as one of the pregnancy termination pill side effects. The more typical side effects include cramping, bleeding, nausea, and diarrhea. However, individual responses can vary, and if you have specific concerns or experience unusual symptoms, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional.

As convenient and easy as it may appear, abortion pills have many side effects, and there are probably long-term ill effects of abortion pills too. If you want to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, you should take abortion pills only after consulting with your doctor. Taking these pills can result in life-threatening conditions – so think twice before taking any such measures to end an unwanted pregnancy. If you are suffering from anaemia, blood pressure, diabetes or any such medical condition, self-medication to terminate a pregnancy can prove to be fatal. Women who are HIV positive or who are heavy smokers should also refrain from taking abortion pills. Sometimes an injury may occur in the fallopian tube, and there may be difficulty in conceiving in future.

It is advisable that a deliberate thought is put before taking any step regarding terminating an unwanted pregnancy. Your health is important and you should be aware of the possible side effects that you might face if you take abortion pills. Any kind of abortion technique may involve risk to your health, and thus it is best to leave the decision about the same on the experts to have minimum complications and risks. A woman may feel the emotional and psychological pain too. Therefore, it is suggested to seek help in this regard to handle the physical as well as the mental trauma of an abortion.


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Also Read:

Medical Abortion
Period After Abortion
How to Terminate Pregnancy After 1 Month?
Abortion Procedures for Termination of Pregnancy

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