How to use Misoprostol for Abortion

Abortion with Misoprostol Protocol

Medication abortion can be performed with Mifepristone and Misoprostol in succession or with Misoprostol alone. This page details information about the use of Misoprostol alone for an abortion with pills. If you are able to access Mifepristone, please see this guide.

Before starting

Using Misoprostol is very effective (80-85%) [1, 2] to end a pregnancy that is 13 weeks or less

Remember this information is useful for an abortion with pills in pregnancies that are 13 weeks or less counted [1, 2, 3] from the first day of your last menstrual period. Since we are not trained to guide on the use of misoprostol for pregnancy termination above 13 weeks or later stages, we will do our best to refer you to someone that is capable of doing so.

To confirm that this method and the drug misoprostol is safe for you, we recommend reading the previous section about contraindications for using abortion pills. If you are not sure that this procedure is a good option for you, contact us.

Misoprostol dosage for abortion

You will need 12 pills of Misoprostol.

If it is difficult to obtain 12 pills, you can choose to proceed with only 8 pills of Misoprostol, but the effectiveness will be reduced, and you should get in touch with our counselors.
If you are between 10-13 weeks pregnant, it is strongly recommended to use 12 pills of Misoprostol.

Each pill should contain misoprostol 200 mcg. [7]

If the pills you are getting have different dosages of mcg, for example misoprostol 400 mcg, you will need to recalculate the total number of pills so you can use the correct amount of medication. [8]

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to support you throughout your abortion process.

How to take Misoprostol for a safe abortion

Most of the symptoms will begin shortly after using Misoprostol, so choose a time that is most convenient for you and your schedule when you are at home without obligations.


Step 1: Take 800 mg of Ibuprofen

This step is not required, but it is highly recommended. Ibuprofen will reduce the intensity of the cramps and help you manage the possible side effects of Misoprostol [9]. Remember, Ibuprofen can be used throughout the procedure and after when needed. Women who are allergic to ibuprofen and NSAIDs can consult the FAQs page for recommendations on alternatives for pain management.

If you have an anti-nausea medicine, you can use it at this time.

Wait one hour

Step 2: Place 4 Misoprostol pills under your tongue (sublingual) for 30 minutes.

It is very important that the pills remain under your tongue for 30 minutes to allow them time to be absorbed into your system. After 30 minutes you may drink water to swish and swallow any remnants of the pills. [1]

If you vomit during the 30 minutes when the Misoprostol pills are under your tongue, it is likely that they will not work. In this case, it is necessary to immediately repeat step 2.

If you vomit after the pills have been under your tongue for 30 minutes, there is no need to repeat step 2 as the pills have already been absorbed into your system.

Wait 3 hours

Step 3: Repeat step 2 and place another 4 Misoprostol pills under your tongue (sublingual) for 30 minutes

Wait 3 hours

Step 4 : Repeat step 2 and place another 4 Misoprostol pills under your tongue (sublingual) for 30 minutes.

Bleeding most commonly starts within several hours. If it has been 24 hours since your first 4 pills of Misoprostol and you still have no bleeding or cramping, contact us. Do not use more pills until we can evaluate the situation together.

Expected symptoms after taking Misoprostol for Abortion

After taking Misoprostol you will experience cramping and bleeding. Some women (not all) will expel blood clots. It is not possible to know exactly when the cramping and bleeding will start, most often it is within the first 24 hours of the first dose of Misoprostol, but it could be several hours later. [10]

The expected bleeding should be heavier than your menstrual period, or at least similar to it. You may have bleeding on and off for several days or weeks after using the pills. Your bleeding and pregnancy symptoms should gradually improve over the next few weeks. [11]

For women who are between 10-13 weeks, you will have symptoms of bleeding and cramping, however you may also recognize the product of expulsion when it passes [1]. Usually this product of expulsion is mixed within blood and clot, and often goes unnoticed, but it is important to know that it is normal if you recognize it. Do not be alarmed, it can be disposed of wrapped in sanitary pads or flushed down the toilet.

Remember that each abortion experience is different and the symptoms can vary from woman to woman.

The majority of women who have pregnancy symptoms stop having them approximately 5 days after using Misoprostol. If your pregnancy symptoms start to decrease and disappear after using the pills, this is a good sign that you are no longer pregnant. [12]

Side effects of Misoprostol

After using Misoprostol, some women experience side effects that can last for a few hours [1]. These side effects of Misoprostol include:

  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • nausea / vomiting
  • headache
  • chills


To avoid hemorrhaging and/or infection, it is important that for the following weeks, or until your bleeding lightens [14], you take the following precautions:

  • Using pads is recommended to monitor your bleeding during the first few days of the abortion, but then you can switch to tampons or a cup as soon as you are comfortable.
  • Return to your normal activities (exercise, work, etc.) as soon as you feel ready.
  • You can have sex whenever you are ready; the most important is to listen to your body and desire.
  • Please know you can become pregnant again very shortly after your abortion, within as little as two weeks.

Warning signs: seeking help

If you have one of the following symptoms, this is considered a warning sign that you might be experiencing a complication and you should immediately seek medical attention:

  • If you fill two or more pads (completely soaked front to back, side to side) in 1 hour or less and this lasts for 2 consecutive hours or more.
  • A fever of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) that does not decrease after taking Ibuprofen. Always confirm with a thermometer.
  • A fever of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) that does not decrease 24 hours after using Misoprostol. Always confirm with a thermometer.
  • Pain that does not get better after taking Ibuprofen.
  • The color or smell of your blood is very different from your regular period or has a bad smell.
  • If you have redness, itchiness or swollen hands, neck and face, it is likely that you are having an allergic reaction to the medications. You can use an antihistamine, but if you find it difficult to breathe then the allergic reaction is very serious and you need medical care immediately.[15]


by the safe2choose team and supporting experts at carafem, based on the 2023 recommendations by Ipas and the 2022 recommendations by the World Health Organisation.

carafem provides convenient and professional abortion care and family planning so people can control the number and spacing of their children.

Ipas is the only international organization solely focused on expanding access to safe abortion and contraceptive care.

WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.

[1] World Health Organization. Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems. Retrieved from:;jsessionid=AB2B02D2E41FB4F6CF95B5F59B0A9AF4?sequence=1

[2] Ipas. (2023). Clinical Updates in Reproductive Health. E. Jackson (Ed.). Chapel Hill, NC: Ipas. Retrive from:

[3] World Health Organization (WHO). (‎2022)‎. Abortion care guideline. World Health Organization. Licencia: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO

[4] National Abortion Federation. 2024. Clinical Policy Guidelines for Abortion Care. Retrieved from:

[5] Guttmacher institute. Early Pregnancy Failure: Misoprostol May Be Good Alternative to Surgery. Retrieved from:

[6] Platais I, Tsereteli T, Grebennikova G, Lotarevich T, Winikoff B. Prospective study of home use of mifepristone and misoprostol for medical abortion up to 10 weeks of pregnancy in Kazakhstan. Retrieved from:

[7] Gynuity. Efficacy of Misoprostol Alone for First-Trimester Medical Abortion: A Systematic Review. Retrieved from:

[8] Elizabeth G. Raymond, Caitlin Shannon, Mark A, Weaver, Beverly Winikoff. First-trimester medical abortion with mifepristone 200 mg and misoprostol: a systematic review. Retrieved from:

[9] Livshits, Anna et al. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 91, Issue 5, 1877 – 1880. Ibuprofen and paracetamol for pain relief during medical abortion: a double-blind randomized controlled study. Retrieved from:

[10] Gynuity. providing medical abortion in low-resource settings: an introductory guidebook. Second Edition. Retrieved from:

[11] Planned Parenthood. How does the abortion pill work? Retrieved from:

[12] Gynuity. Self-Assessment of Medical Abortion Outcome using Symptoms and Home Pregnancy Testing. Retrieved from:

[13] National Abortion Federation. Expected Side Effects of Medical Abortion. Retrieved from:

[14] A.R. Davis, C.M. Robilotto, C.L. Westhoff, S. Forman, J. Zhang. Bleeding patterns after vaginal misoprostol for treatment of early pregnancy failure. Retrieved from:

[15] NHS. Risks-Abortion. Retrieved from:

Safe Abortion with Pills Options