Particularly in recent years, you may have heard more about ordering the abortion pill online. If you think you could be unexpectedly pregnant and are considering your options, perhaps that sounds like an easy solution. 

But before you take medications ordered online, you should be fully aware of the implications and how this could affect your health. Ensure you’re putting your health and safety first by learning all the facts. 

Know the Risks of the Abortion Pill

Medical or medication abortion are other names for the abortion pill process. This actually involves two separate doses of medication: the first dose, Mifeprex, stops the pregnancy from progressing and causes it to detach from the uterus. 

The second dose, misoprostol, often taken many hours or sometimes a day later, causes contractions of the uterus, expelling the pregnancy and tissue through the vagina. 

However one obtains the abortion pill, it is important to understand that this is a serious medical undertaking with associated risks and potential side effects. The Mayo Clinic lists the following physical risks of the abortion pill: 

  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
  • An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

Medication Quality & Regulation Online Could Be Risky

Think about it: have you ever ordered something online and then been shocked when it arrived looking nothing like what you thought you ordered? There is always an inherent risk in ordering medication online and obtaining a medical product from a source that is not evaluating your unique situation in person. 

You may have noticed that the availability of the abortion pill and the regulations surrounding where it is made available have shifted in recent years. However, the FDA still advises caution to consumers ordering from online pharmacies, as the potential for receiving subpar medications is higher, and there is increased potential for medical complications or side effects. Additionally, the FDA has specifically cautioned against ordering Mifeprex (the first dose of the abortion pill) online as per their REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) policy, intended to keep consumers safe. 

Specialized, In-Person Care Makes a Difference

Simply put, nothing can quite replace specialized care from an in-person exam with a medical professional to ensure your next medical steps are specifically tailored to your unique medical needs. Receiving medication from an anonymous source online – that may only know a few details about your situation without confirming – does not allow for a comprehensive diagnosis of your medical needs. 

For instance, if medical complications are present – such as ectopic pregnancy – you would need emergency medical care that would not be resolved by abortion. The only way to diagnose this for sure is through an in-person ultrasound exam. 

Additionally, anyone prescribing the abortion pill online cannot confirm key details about your pregnancy, such as how far along you are – and if the abortion pill is even a safe option for you. The FDA only approves and recommends the abortion pill for the termination of early pregnancies up to 10 weeks gestational age; taking it past that point in pregnancy could put you at risk for incomplete abortion or other complications. 

How Do I Know What My Pregnancy Options Are? 

You may be missing key information about your medical needs without in-person care, such as an ultrasound. If you are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, or if your pregnancy is farther along than you think, you may be putting yourself at risk for serious medical complications if you take the abortion pill without medical supervision. 

You deserve to put your health and safety first – and the best way to do that is to find out your unique needs through an ultrasound exam. It may also be reassuring to you to talk through your options and ask questions with a medical professional. 

Our medical team at Sierra Pregnancy + Health can get you in for a free appointment to put your mind at ease. Schedule your appointment today to make your next steps with confidence.

We do not provide extended OB/GYN or prenatal care, fertility testing, abortion services, or referrals for abortion.