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Is it Possible to REVERSE an Abortion? What to Do if you Change Your Mind

January 25, 2023

Perhaps you’ve heard of the abortion reversal pill (abortion reversal treatment). If you haven’t, this progesterone pill is meant to prevent a medical abortion from proceeding. 

Lady taking a pill for abortion reversal

Should you take an abortion reversal pill? That’s a question many women are asking and one that has yet to be fully answered. In this post, we’ll give you the facts about abortion reversal pills and whether or not you should take one.

Abortion is difficult, but it’s even more difficult to try and do it alone. That’s why we’ve created this post: to help you understand the abortion reversal pill and share with you the latest research. This will help you decide whether or not it’s the right choice for you.

Types of Abortion

There are two ways of terminating a pregnancy: surgical and medical.

In the surgical method, a doctor uses surgical instruments to remove the pregnancy from the womb. It can be performed at any stage of pregnancy. 

The medical method is when two different drugs are given during very early stages of pregnancy.

Medical abortion

At this early stage, one of the most important hormones working to grow and support the pregnancy is Progesterone.

The first abortion tablet, Mifepristone, works to prevent Progesterone’s doing its job, which is usually vital to support pregnancy at this growing stage.

After 1 or 2 days, the second pill is taken, known as Misoprostol. This tablet encourages the womb to contract, so a deliberate miscarriage happens.

Booking a doctor appointment for a chat about abortion reversal

How Abortion reversal works

By taking the abortion reversal pill, you are trying to reverse the effect of the first drug, i.e. Mifepristone. 

Those who support this method claim that if you give the ARP before the second tablet, you can halt the progress of abortion and maintain the pregnancy. 

How true is this, though?

Well, first, let’s see where this idea started.

Origins of Abortion Reversal

Around the early 2000s, an American physician discovered that her pregnancy continued when he gave a course of P2 to a lady who had initially taken Mf but changed her mind afterwards.

He then used the same treatment for other women in the same scenario – giving Ptrogesterone as soon as possible after Mifepristone and reported similar results.

However, it was hard to tell whether the P2 reversal was really effective or the initial abortion pill, Mifepristone, was not working. 

According to studies:

When Mifepristone alone is taken, there is a reasonable chance (8-46%) of the pregnancy continuing. As such, a significant percentage of those who stop medical abortion treatment after taking Mifepristone will have continuing pregnancies without any further intervention (although they are at a higher risk of pregnancy loss).”

Continuing pregnancy after mifepristone and “reversal” of first-trimester medical abortion: a systematic review – June 2015

Next, when other physicians tried to replicate the process in a study in 2020, they got different results. Some ladies experienced vaginal bleeding heavy enough for them to be admitted to hospital, which led the doctors to stop the study on safety grounds.

So there are concerns over two aspects of the abortion reversal pill – does it work, and can it harm mum and baby?

Female doctor counselling a black African patient dressed in bright yellow cardi about risks of abortion reversal

What the Authorities Say

Authorities for reproductive health in countries like the UK do not recommend or encourage the use of abortion reversal pills.

They cite the same reasons as authorities in other countries like the US – American College of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

This position is that no studies indicate that the Progesterone pill can reverse the process of termination after starting Mifepristone.

They also express concerns over the immediate & long-term effects on mum and baby. We do not yet have satisfactory studies to consider it a safe procedure.

“A randomised controlled trial published in 2020 had to be stopped due to safety of using progesterone to antagonise the effects of mifepristone during a medical abortion, but participant enrollment stopped after 12 patients due to “severe hemorrhage requiring ambulance transport to hospital” in three patients.

Mifepristone Antagonization With Progesterone to Prevent Medical Abortion – January 2020

The Meaning

So what if you find yourself here? Having fallen pregnant and opted for a medical abortion, and after taking the first tablet, you start to experience regret.

What can you do?

Well, before I answer that – it’s vital to ensure a woman or couple seeking termination service has sufficient access to information and counselling about the procedure – and time to come to a decision they can live with.

It’s also an excellent time to remind us about the use of effective birth control.

Many birth control options are available that are more effective in the long run (than contemplating an abortion).

What if You Change Your Mind?

But once we’ve got past that point, and a woman wishes to change her mind after taking the first dose of the medical treatment, we have no verified, safe method of reversing the process.

In that instance, here are the steps:

  • The first thing to do is: stop the process and no longer complete the next tablet.
  • Next, you should have an ultrasound scan to establish your pregnancy status. Is there still a heartbeat?
    • A lot of the time, the Mifepristone has not started to work, and the pregnancy is still viable.
    • If there is no heartbeat, no Progesterone can reverse this, and we must tell you this promptly.

 This allows the grief process to start and progress naturally without false expectations. 

You can take time to heal physically, emotionally and mentally and do what you need to prepare for the future – whatever the choice.

Please don’t put yourself at risk by accepting a treatment that is only considered “experimental” and should only be prescribed in “approved human clinical trials to ensure proper oversight”.

 So, let me know what you’ve heard about the Abortion reversal pill. If you have any questions on the subject, share them below in the comments section.

More Reading

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare practitioner’s management of your specific condition.
Please contact a health practitioner
 to discuss your condition, or reach us directly here.

Image Credits: Canva

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