Do I need to see a doctor after a self-managed abortion with pills?

What’s On This Page:

  • The Good News
  • The Bad News
  • What to Know About Lowering Legal Risk When Seeking Medical Care
  • Are They Bad Symptoms? Making a Decision About Whether to Seek Medical Care
  • Would Talking to a Trusted Resource Help?
  • Additional Resources from Reproaction 

The Good News:

Self-managed abortion with pills is safe, effective and it works.

If you’re looking for the World Health Organization protocol for self-managed abortion with pills, click here.

The Bad News:

Unfortunately, self-managed abortion and other forms of miscarriage are being prosecuted. There is a troubling history of doctors, nurses and social workers reporting patients to the police for self-managed abortion, and people who self-manage abortion with pills should be aware of it.

What to Know When Seeking Medical Care:

  1. The treatment for any complication of self-managed abortion with pills is exactly the same as the treatment for miscarriage. Unless disclosed, a medical provider will not know if someone self-managed an abortion with pills.
  2. There are no blood tests that can detect the presence of misoprostol (or mifepristone). Taking pills by letting them dissolve in the cheeks or under the tongue and swallowing any remnants provides no physical trace of the pills. In some cases, people have inserted pills into the vagina instead, and this increases their detectability because a tablet could potentially be found on a vaginal exam.
  3. Disclosing a self-managed abortion to a medical provider, police or other state officials can put someone at legal risk.

Are They Bad Symptoms? Making a Decision About Whether to Seek Medical Care:

Expected Symptoms of Self-Managed Abortion with Pills:

  • Heavy, painful cramping
  • Considerable menstrual bleeding, which may include passing large clots
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever or chills

Signs of a Complication that Indicate a Need to Seek Medical Treatment:

  • Heavy bleeding that fully soaks more than two sanitary pads per hour, and lasts for at least two hours or more
  • Severe pain that does not go away after a few hours
  • A fever of over 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad

Would Talking to a Trusted Resource Help?

Repro Legal Helpline

1-844-868-2812 (voicemail)

The Repro Legal Helpline is run by attorneys and advocates who provide legal information and support to people navigating the law and self-managed abortion. If a person is uncomfortable or unable to call, they can also use their secure form for inquiries (Note: the form requires an email address.)


1-833-226-7821 (phone)

(9 a.m. – 9 p.m. PT everyday)

Reprocare is an anonymous healthline that provides peer-based emotional support, medical information, and referrals to people having an abortion at home with pills.

M+A Hotline

1-833-246-2632 (phone or text)
(Open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. in all continental US time zones)

The Miscarriage and Abortion (M+R) Hotline is run by pro-abortion clinicians with years of experience in caring for miscarriage and abortion. Clinicians provide expert advice on self-managing a miscarriage or abortion.

Additional Resources from Reproaction:

Reproaction’s Self-Managed Abortion Campaign

Periods, Pregnancy, Abortion, and Your Digital Security

Still Pregnant After Self Managed Abortion: How to Know the Signs and What To Do

Disclaimer: The information on this page is purely informational and is not meant to incite anyone to violate any laws.

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