After considering your unexpected pregnancy options, perhaps you’re hoping to learn more about the abortion pill (RU-486). For some women who lean towards a medical abortion over a surgical one, they typically do so because the procedure sounds less invasive and generally would not require anesthesia. But perhaps you’re wondering whether or not this option is available to you because your menstrual cycle is irregular. The fluctuating nature of your period can make the detection of an unexpected pregnancy a little harder, but before you schedule an abortion, it’s important to find out more information.
Do you have questions about the abortion pill and how far along you are in your pregnancy? Located throughout six different centers in the Chicagoland area, Avenue Women’s Center is prepared to offer unexpected pregnancy support. Through our limited ultrasound services, we can provide you with information about the pregnancy’s gestational age, as well provide information on early pregnancy risks such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Our compassionate pregnancy consultants are waiting to speak with you for a discussion about your pregnancy options and answer any questions. Schedule your free appointment today!
What Are Some of the Reasons Behind Irregular Periods?
It’s possible that your menstrual cycles are being thrown off due to irregular ovulation. Your body may not be ovulating every month, or it happens at different times from month to month. Some women ovulate without bleeding and experiencing a period. This may be due to uterine scarring or certain hormonal medications. However, the reasons for irregular periods can vary and can be due to a few conditions.
Since a missed period is often a sign of pregnancy, the fact that you may frequently skip yours already means it may take a little longer to learn you’re pregnant.
If after engaging in sexual intercourse you notice that you’ve missed your period, even if this normally happens, it may be a good idea to take a pregnancy test through a doctor or a pregnancy clinic. The gestational age of your unexpected pregnancy is often a deciding factor in terms of what pregnancy options are available, and you will want to confirm this as well. An ultrasound is one of the most reliable methods for determining your pregnancy’s age, and knowing how far along you are is important if you’re considering medical abortion. This is because the abortion pill is only FDA approved up to 10 weeks gestation.
An ultrasound may also alert you to any potential risks to your health that would disqualify you from having an abortion. If a fertilized egg has implanted itself outside of your uterus, it’s a strong indicator of an ectopic pregnancy. For women whose pregnancies did not implant properly, an abortion would not be necessary, as an ectopic pregnancy often requires medical attention to have it removed.
The abortion pill may also no longer be an option if an ultrasound has discovered there is a chance of a miscarriage occurring. Often, ultrasounds are able to tell you of the possibility of a miscarriage being in process before you may have even begun to notice one was taking place. If an ultrasound determines that the unexpected pregnancy carries the risk of ending naturally, then there is obviously no need to go through the trouble of making arrangements to take the abortion pill.
Are There Things I Should Know Before Taking RU-486?
On top of risks to the pregnancy, there are certain medical conditions that can make you ineligible for the abortion pill. This may include: current long-term systemic corticosteroid therapy, chronic adrenal failure, known coagulopathy or anticoagulant therapy, and intolerance or allergy to mifepristone. If your medical history contains problems with respiratory disease, uncontrollable hypertension, cardiovascular disease, then you may not be considered a good candidate for the abortion pill.
Since surgery is not involved, a medical abortion can seem like a quicker and easier process. However, the abortion pill has very specific instructions that must be followed, and it can take a few days or weeks before the abortion is complete.
A healthcare provider may administer the first drug, known as mifepristone, at the clinic. This chemical often works to block the pregnancy hormone known as progesterone, and it usually breaks down the lining of the uterus to prevent the pregnancy from continuing. You may be instructed to take the second dose of RU-486 about 24-48 hours later after you’ve taken the first. This pill is called misoprostol, and some clinics give patients instructions for taking the second pill at home.
The misoprostol typically brings on contractions to expel the product of conception. This process can last up to a few hours or days. Some women have reported experiencing nausea, weakness, fever/chills, and heavy bleeding after taking the abortion pill. If these symptoms persist or worsen, then it’s recommended you call 911 to be treated by a medical professional.
A follow-up visit may be required after taking RU-486 to ensure that the abortion is complete. There’s a risk of infection or bleeding if tissue has been left inside of your uterus, and a second visit is often important for your health. If for any reason you suspect you may not be available for a follow-up appointment, then this may not be the abortion method for you.
Avenue Women’s Center is here to provide you with information about the abortion pill process. Our trained staff can help with the confirmation of your pregnancy if you frequently experience irregular periods. On top of our limited ultrasound services, our caring pregnancy consultants can meet with you for a confidential session, ensuring you have easy access to reliable information and a chance to talk through your unexpected pregnancy decision. Reach out today for compassionate care at no cost!
- ACOG. (2014, March). Medical Management of First-Trimester Abortion. Retrieved from: https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Practice-Bulletins/Committee-on-Practice-Bulletins-Gynecology/Medical-Management-of-First-Trimester-Abortion?IsMobileSet=false
- healthline. (2018, September). Getting Pregnant with Irregular Periods: What to Expect. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/irregular-periods-and-pregnancy
Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.