What’s the Difference Between Plan B and the Abortion Pill?

What's the Difference Between Plan B and the Abortion Pill?

You may have heard about the different pills available to end an unwanted pregnancy. Before making a decision, it’s important to understand the details of each option.

Plan B

You may have heard people talk about the “morning-after pill” or the “day-after pill.” If so, they are talking about Plan B. It can also be described as “emergency contraception,” however, it is not birth control.

Plan B uses a hormone called levonorgestrel to change your cervix. This hormone makes it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach. Although it is designed to keep you from getting pregnant, it is described as doing one of the following:

  • Temporarily stops the release of an egg from the ovary
  • Prevents fertilization
  • Prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus

In other words, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, levonorgestrel helps prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. The manufacturers recommend you take it as quickly as possible.

The Side Effects of Plan B

As with any pills you take, you should be aware of possible side effects. For Plan B, RxList offers some of the most common ones:

  • Headache and possible dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • A delay in your cycle and a change in your menstrual flow (usually heavier)

Abortion Pill

The abortion pill is a procedure that is also known as a medical or chemical abortion. Generally, this type of abortion is performed before a woman’s 10th week of pregnancy. Although it is called the “abortion pill,” it is really a two-step process. Since it is illegal to purchase the pills online, you must visit a clinic to get a prescription for the pills from a doctor. Our clinic does not perform or refer for abortions.

Before you can qualify for the procedure, you should have an ultrasound. The ultrasound gives you real-time information such as how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable. If you are farther along than ten weeks, you will have to have a surgical abortion instead.

You will be given the first pill, Mifepristone (Mifeprex®), in an abortion clinic. This pill blocks your body’s production of the hormone progesterone. This drug causes the lining of the uterus to thin and prevents the fetus from staying implanted.

The second drug, Misoprostol, is taken hours or even days after the first drug. A woman is given this drug to take at home. Once taken, it causes the uterus to start contracting to expel the fetus.

The Side Effects of the Abortion Pill

Any abortion is a serious medical decision and should be discussed thoroughly with a healthcare professional. It can have lifelong emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical consequences.

Here are the most common physical side effects for the abortion pill:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Painful cramping as your uterus expels the fetus
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

What You Should Do

Any time you take drugs that drastically alter your body, it is a serious medical issue. It’s important to speak with a medical professional about your situation and the options you have.

At Liberty Women’s Clinic, we offer lab-quality pregnancy testing as the first step during your free nurse consultation visit. Then, our nurses will meet with you to determine your eligibility for a free limited ultrasound. If you have already taken a home pregnancy test and want to discuss your results and options, our staff also offers nurse phone consultations.

Before you make any decision about your unplanned pregnancy, contact Liberty Women’s Clinic first. Our friendly nurses and client advocates are available to talk through every scenario with you. We are here for you!

*model is stock photo

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This information is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional counseling and/or medical advice.

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