Abortion Pill (RU486)

The abortion pill (Mifepristone or RU486) is an alternative to surgical abortion during the first 9 weeks of pregnancy. It requires a visit to an accredited clinic or hospital where an ultrasound is performed to determine if the woman is less than 9 weeks and it is not an ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy).


Certain medical conditions preclude the use of the abortion pill so a blood test and ultrasound would be performed and then a medical history taken (by a psychologist in some states). The woman would agree to have a blood test one week after taking the abortion pill to check if it had been effective.


If a woman decided to proceed, she would be given a pill (Mifepristone) to take then and another pill (Misoprostol) to take approximately 24 hours later. This usually brings on heavy cramping and bleeding which terminates the pregnancy. Sometimes, this takes longer but if it exceeds 2 days a doctor should be consulted. Some clinics require women to have a reliable phone and transport and to stay within a half hour journey of a medical clinic in case of excessive bleeding or other complications.


After taking Mifepristone, the patient might have:

  • 1. Nausea or dizziness
  • 2. Bleeding and cramps that feel like a painful period (sometimes severe cramping)
  • 3. Headache, chills and diarrhoea.


A doctor should give advice on managing these symptoms. It is inadvisable to drink alcohol, smoke or take illicit drugs for at least 2 days after taking the abortion pill.


During the week following the abortion it is advisable to refrain from vaginal sex, using tampons, swimming or bathing or performing any strenuous activity. This lessens the chance of infection.


You should see your doctor if the vaginal bleeding doesn’t stop within a few days of having the abortion pill.


Mifepristone is not suitable for all women, especially those who are taking blood-thinning medication; have an allergic reaction to medication containing Mifepristone; have high blood pressure; have an IUD fitted (unless removed) or some other conditions. This is why an extensive medical history should be taken before it is prescribed.