Although both are used to treat an unplanned pregnancy, there are some key differences between the abortion pill and plan B, also called the Morning-After pill. 

One is used after pregnancy, and the other before a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus (as it can help block fertilization, stop a fertilized egg from attaching, or prevent ovulation altogether).

How the Abortion Pill Works

The abortion pill is actually a series of two pills taken after the pregnancy has been confirmed. An ultrasound should be used to help confirm the pregnancy and the pregnancy’s location before the abortion pill is taken. If the pregnancy is ectopic (outside the uterus), the abortion pill should not be used.

The first step of the abortion pill, mifepristone, causes the uterine lining to thin and detaches the embryo. Next, misoprostol, usually taken 48 hours later, empties the uterus by forcing it to contract and expel the pregnancy and uterine lining. 

Risks and Side Effects of the Abortion Pill

Many medical procedures will pose some risks. Here is a list of potential side effects listed by the Mayo Clinic specifically for a medical abortion produced by 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

How Plan B Works

For Plan B to work as intended, you should take the pill no more than 72 hours after sex. It works to prevent ovulation, block fertilization, or prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.

Side Effects of the Plan B Pill:

According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms typically last only a few days, but some of the potential side effects include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Lower abdominal pain or cramps

What is My Best Option?

Plan B is a way to prevent pregnancy from implanting or occurring, while the abortion pill terminates an existing pregnancy within the uterus. 

If you believe you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and are still considering your options, we offer no-cost pregnancy tests and ultrasound referrals where you can discuss your potential options.

Additionally, if you are at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), getting tested for STIs regularly is best to guarantee your sexual health. Click here to learn more about STIs.

Every woman deserves to have confidential support in making her medical decisions, and we are here to help. Contact us today. 

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