You did your research, you followed the instructions, and you had an abortion with pills. Now what? After using the medication, many women wonder if their abortion was successful. Luckily there are a few distinct signs that indicate that an abortion with pills was successful. Getting familiar with these signs ahead of time can help reduce feelings of anxiety and position you to act quickly if any next steps are needed.
Cramping During Abortion
Cramping will occur during all medication abortions. This is because misoprostol, a drug used during a medication abortion, causes the muscles of the uterus to contract. These contractions push the contents of the uterus out, which terminates the pregnancy. Therefore, cramping is a key sign that the abortion is proceeding as expected.
The most severe cramping will usually occur during the first 4-8 hours after using misoprostol.
You can help reduce your discomfort from cramping by taking over-the-counter pain medication. Ibuprofen is most recommended. Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to your abdomen will also help ease pain.
Having no cramps after using the abortion pills may be a sign that the abortion was not successful
Bleeding During Abortion
Like cramping, bleeding is also expected during an abortion with pills. As the uterus contracts after using misoprostol, it loses its blood lining. This blood lining exits the uterus, passes through the cervix, and comes out through your vagina. It is also normal to see clots in the blood, some of which can be large
If you monitor the blood discharge closely enough, you may notice when you pass the pregnancy tissue. Early pregnancy tissue may look like small dark colored grapes with thin membranes, or a small sac surrounded by a white, fluffy layer. Depending on the length of the pregnancy, these tissues can be smaller than your fingernail or the size of your thumb. Seeing these tissues pass from your vagina is another sign that the abortion is proceeding as expected
Bleeding should begin 1-3 hours after using misoprostol. Bleeding is usually heaviest 4-6 hours after using misoprostol. Though bleeding should gradually decrease on its own, it’s common for bleeding to continue for 3-4 weeks after using the pills
Little or no bleeding after using the abortion medication is a sign that the abortion was not successful
Fading Pregnancy Symptoms
In the days following an abortion with pills, you should notice that your pregnancy symptoms begin to fade away. Nausea should decrease, as should breast swelling and tenderness. How quickly these symptoms fade vary from woman to woman. The important thing is to track how you’re feeling and ensure that you do not have continued pregnancy symptoms for multiple days or weeks after the abortion
Using An At-Home Urine Pregnancy Test
Many women first confirm their pregnancy by using an at-home urine pregnancy tests. These tests are commonly sold at drug stores and pharmacies, or supplied for no cost at clinics and hospitals
At-home pregnancy tests work by detecting a specific pregnancy hormone in a woman’s urine. When a pregnancy is terminated, it takes the body a few weeks to stop producing this hormone. Therefore, if you use a pregnancy test immediately after an abortion, it will almost certainly report that you are still pregnant. This is because the hormone has not yet returned to its normal non-pregnant levels. For an accurate result, wait at least 2 weeks after an abortion with pills before testing again for pregnancy. This will ensure that your body has had enough time to adjust its hormone levels now that you are no longer pregnant. Continuing to have a positive pregnancy test later than 2 weeks after an abortion is a possible sign that the termination was not successful