Some women wonder whether they can use Plan B for an early abortion or if the medication has dangerous side effects that make this inadvisable. While these medications may be similar, Plan B prevents pregnancy, while the abortion pill terminates a pregnancy.
How Does Abortion End a Pregnancy?
Abortion is the termination of a viable pregnancy, and a medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, terminates early pregnancies before 10 weeks. Abortion providers prescribe two drugs in the abortion pill regimen: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks progesterone, which sustains a pregnancy, and misoprostol causes uterine contractions and expels the pregnancy from the body.
Deciding to take the abortion pill can have significant physical and emotional implications, and complications can occur, including septic shock and incomplete abortion, which occurs when parts of the pregnancy remain in the uterus following the procedure.
There are also risks you should consider that could be minor or severe, depending on the individual woman, including:
- An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
Before having an abortion, women should share their complete health history with a medical provider and have an ultrasound to confirm key pregnancy details and protect their health, including learning where the pregnancy is, whether the pregnancy is viable, and its gestational age.
What Should I Know About Plan B?
Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, is used to prevent pregnancy. Plan B stops an egg from being released from the ovary and may also stop fertilization. If fertilization occurs, it can prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.
This medication isn’t always successful and isn’t for everyone. You shouldn’t take Plan B if:
- You’re allergic to any component of the morning-after pill
- You’re taking certain medications that can decrease the effectiveness of the morning-after pill
- You are already pregnant, as the effects of the morning-after drug on a developing baby aren’t known
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