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  • Writer's picturePregnancy Resource Center

Comparing Medical Abortion and Natural Miscarriage

Updated: Jun 5

What are the Similarities Between a Medical Abortion and a Miscarriage?

Medical abortions are often compared to miscarriages because both events typically result in a fetal demise and share similar physical signs, symptoms, and risks, such as the following:

●       Vaginal discharge of tissue and bleeding

●       Cramping and pain in the lower abdomen

●       Risk of infection

Though there are similarities between a medical abortion and miscarriage, there are also differences. These differences may impact other aspects of your health, such as mental, emotional, and/or spiritual.

What is the Difference Between a Medical Abortion and a Miscarriage?

Sometimes abortion pills are called “miscarriage pills,” but does a medical abortion cause a miscarriage?

Medical abortion - an elective procedure where a pregnancy is terminated before the 10th week of pregnancy using a regimen of drugs known as the abortion pill. 

Miscarriage - a spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the 20th week of pregnancy that is not caused by anything a woman does or does not do.

By these definitions, the abortion pill will cause a medical abortion, not a miscarriage, because a miscarriage by nature is spontaneous and not induced. 

white abortion pills on a pink background

How Does the Abortion Pill Work?

The abortion pill is a regimen of drugs used to induce an abortion. The first drug stops the production of progesterone, a pregnancy hormone necessary to sustain a pregnancy, and then the second drug causes contractions to expel the pregnancy out of the uterus.

Considering the Abortion Pill?

If you are considering taking the abortion pill, we recommend the following:

  • Know how far along you are. An ultrasound can determine exactly how far along you are. This is one of the factors that determines if the abortion pill is an option that applies to you.

  • Know the location of your pregnancy. If the pregnancy is developing outside of the uterus (called an ectopic pregnancy), a surgical procedure may be indicated.

  • Know if fetal cardiac activity is present. If no heart motion is present, a miscarriage may be suspected.

  • Establish care with a medical provider to review your overall health and eligibility.

Pregnancy Resource Clinic can help you gather this information before you decide. All services are free of charge and no insurance is required. Make an appointment today.


At Home Abortion Facts. (2024, January 18). Abortion Facts and Available Options | At-Home Abortion Facts.

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