Preparing For Your Abortion: What You Need To Know

TIMING YOUR ABORTION

It is crucial to your healing that you choose a chunk of days that allow you the time and space to properly bleed

Consider How Much Time You Have

  • How many weeks pregnant you are: If you are early in your pregnancy, 4-8 weeks, you still have a window of some weeks to decide when the optimal time is for you. The WHO recommended cut-off for self-managed abortions is 12 weeks, so the earlier you can complete your abortion, the better. 
  • Medical abortion can get more realistic and intense as the pregnancy grows in gestation. After 8 weeks, medical abortion is increasingly like a min-birth versus a very difficult period (like 8 weeks and less). 

When & Where to Bleed

  • Your abortion will start very soon after you take misoprostol. Whether you are using a mifepristone+ misoprostol method or misoprostol-alone, the bleeding generally starts 30 minutes – 2 hours after the misoprostol is completely dissolved. 
  • It is important you choose a day when you will have 24-48 hours afterward with as few interruptions, responsibilities, or activity. 
  • For example… if you work Monday-Friday but have weekends off, you could take your mifepristone on a Wednesday and then take your misoprostol after work at around 5 or 6 pm. You could also take it early Saturday morning. This would provide for the optimal time to bleed–you would be able to pass the fetus and the majority of the abortion would be complete by Saturday, leaving you Sunday to rest, heal and continue residual bleeding. 
  • What Space do you plan to bleed in? Do you primarily want to be in your bedroom? The living room space? Is there another space? Friend’s house or hotel? Wherever your space is, plan to make it comfy, wash the sheets or blankets beforehand and have it ready to support you. 

Who is IN Your Space? 

  • You may want to sync your schedule with your support person (partner, friend, family), to make sure someone will be there with you, or you could choose a time when the house is empty and you can be alone. 
  • If you choose to be alone, make sure there is at least one person who knows about your abortion and can check in on you. There is a small chance of fainting from loss of blood, which is the only danger of being alone. 
  • Are there children or other family members in the house normally? Can you find a way to get them outside of the home for most or part of your abortion? 

Self-Care Ideas

  • Consider taking days off work if you can. 
  • Schedule yourself a massage/ spa-day/ mani/pedi, or do them for yourself
  • Take hot showers and use extra lotion
  • Eat healthy foods before, after, and during your abortion
  • Watch your favorite mindless TV
  • Clean your space before you start your abortion, and take care in your space

Take some time to respond to the questions above, either by writing in a journal, or even plotting your plan out in your head. The most important thing is that you know what you want, and you have self-care planned into the process, no matter the outcome. 

Abortions are painful. The level of pain is different for everyone. A good guide for how your pain will be is your monthly period. You can prepare for a more severe version of your period, but again, levels of pain are different person-to-person. 

Before your abortion, plan to go to the Grocery Store and pick up items that will make you comfy and comfortable during your abortion. Some items to consider: 

In addition to this list, it is important to use ibuprofen instead of aspirin. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory that will help in your healing process, while aspirin thins the blood…which isn’t great for someone who will be bleeding. Also, consider picking up some flowers and chocolate–because it is just simply beautiful and nice. 

REFLECTION

  • Are there any grocery store items that we missed that you will add to yours? 
  • What self-care plan do you have in place? What self-care techniques will you use that weren’t addressed above? 
  • What elements do you need in your abortion space? When do you plan to take your pills, what kind of space do you have available, and what are your plans?