Your period is late, you frequently have the urge to run to the restroom, you’re tired, and to top it off, you’re scared! Is it possible that you are pregnant?

There’s always a chance of becoming pregnant when you’re sexually active. 

As you consider your next course of action, you may be wondering about the differences between Plan B and the abortion pill. We can clear up any of your confusion about these two medications.

What Is Plan B?

Plan B has a couple of names, including “the morning-after pill” and “the day-after pill.” It’s considered emergency contraception.

Women generally take this over-the-counter drug shortly after having unprotected sex or if their birth control method has failed.

Plan B uses the hormone levonorgestrel to prevent ovulation (the release of an egg). It can also prevent implantation of the embryo in the uterus. This prevents a viable pregnancy. 

The Side Effects of Plan B

As with any medicine you take, you need to be aware of possible side effects.

Mayo Clinic lists the side effects for the morning-after pill:

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

These side effects typically last only a few days.

The Abortion Pill

The abortion pill is the common name for a chemical abortion. FDA-approved for use within the first ten weeks of pregnancy, it’s a two-drug process using mifepristone and misoprostol.

The first drug, mifepristone, terminates the pregnancy by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without this essential hormone, the pregnancy will end.

About 24-48 hours after taking the first drug, misoprostol is taken to trigger uterine contractions to expel the embryo or fetus and related tissue from the body.

To protect your health and safety, you should have an ultrasound prior to taking the abortion pill. An ultrasound gives you real-time information such as how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable (the fetus is located in the uterus and has a heartbeat).

If your pregnancy is beyond ten weeks, the abortion pill is not an option for you.

The Side Effects of the Abortion Pill

Any abortion is a serious medical decision. It can have lifelong emotional, psychological, and physical consequences.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the side effects of the abortion pill are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

Potential risks from a medical abortion include incomplete abortion, infection, heavy bleeding, fever, digestive system discomfort, and an ongoing pregnancy if the drugs fail.

The Key Differences Between Plan B and the Abortion Pill

The morning-after pill and the abortion pill are very different from one another. They each use different drugs. While Plan B uses levonorgestrel, the abortion pill consists of mifepristone and misoprostol.

The abortion pill terminates an existing pregnancy and then expels it over the course of 24-48 hours. Plan B prevents pregnancy or prevents the implantation of the pregnancy in the uterus by taking the drug after unprotected sex or failed contraception.

Remember, the morning-after pill doesn’t guarantee pregnancy will not happen; it simply reduces the likelihood. If you’re currently facing an unexpected pregnancy situation, we can help.

Find Support at Hope Rising

If you’re in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy, schedule a free and confidential appointment with Hope Rising. Our medical professionals will provide pregnancy testing and a free limited ultrasound as needed. 

We offer a safe space for you to process the results and ask questions about your pregnancy, options, and resources. We’re here to help you in any way we can. Find support you can lean on at Hope Rising today.