Sample of All FAQs (Helpie FAQ)
- How much does it cost?Our fees vary by state. The $289-$389 fee includes a consultation with a board-certified clinician, the medication kit sent overnight, 24/7 call service, follow-up texts, an after pregnancy test, and coordination of after care if needed. For patients who report a financial need, we coordinate with multiple local abortion funds to provide sliding scale or free services. In all states we accept credit/debit cards with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express logos. Our billing statements read “AOD”. We use the mailing address provided at your intake – not the address on your credit card – for sending medications. Check our resources page if you need help with funding. We cannot provide refunds after medication kits have been shipped.
- Why do you only go to 10 weeks?Medication abortion is very safe to 11 weeks, but our platform is not built to manage pregnancies more than 10 weeks at the time of intake. If you are between 10 and 11 weeks from your last period you can still get a medication abortion but it should be with a different provider. Please see our resources page for other options. Use our pregnancy calculator to quickly figure out how far along your are.
- Do you offer translation services?We are currently able to provide care in English only.
- Why don't you take care of people under age 18?Some states have strict rules about minors getting abortions. There are also federal rules about how old you must be to consent for online payments. We hope to work with abortion funds to address this in the near future.
- Do you require an ID?Yes. Some states have strict rules about minors getting abortions. So we require a valid photo ID with a date of birth if you are seeking care. Types of IDs include driver’s licenses, state ID cards, military IDs, and passports.
- Why do you require a pregnancy test?Pregnancy is not the only reason to miss a period. We don’t want you to spend time and money on our service if you are not actually pregnant. If your drug store pregnancy test is negative we ask that you see another healthcare provider to discuss other reasons why you may have missed a period. We do not require patients to show evidence of a positive pregnancy test on their video visits; we simply request that you do one.
- Is my information secure?Yes. We use secure platforms that meet federal and state privacy standards. By law your personal health information will not be shared outside of our service unless you give permission or we need to transfer your care directly to another provider. We do work with research partners to assess anonymous data and improve long term access to medication abortion. We will never sell your data for marketing purposes.
- How soon can I get an appointment?We are able to schedule most patients same day or next day. Most people get their medications to their doorstep within 48 hours of submitting their medical information and less than a day after finishing their 15 minute video appointment. To schedule, select your state from our homepage, review the information about your state, and select Schedule Visit when you are ready.
- Do I have to live in the state I selected?No, you do not have to be a resident of the state you select but you do need to be there for your appointment. Our software will confirm you are physically in the state you selected at the time of your scheduled video appointment. This state needs to match the state selected for your medication abortion packet sent in the mail. We do not provide care outside of the specific states we are licensed to practice.
- Which of the medications can I take together?The comfort medications do not interact with each other or any of medications in your kit. They are safe to take together. Mifepristone and misoprostol however should not be taken at the same time. Please wait 24 hours after taking mifepristone from the little box before you use the misprostol (medication in your cheeks). This is to ensure the abortion pill worked first.
- What am I supposed to look for?You aren’t. An early medication abortion looks and feels like a heavy period and sometimes only a medium/light period.
- When can I use tampons?We ask patients to use pads only for the first few days to help track how heavy the bleeding is. It is safe to switch to tampons when your bleeding gets lighter. If bleeding has been consistently light (like in early pregnancies less than 6 weeks), tampons are fine to use.
- How long should I bleed?There is very wide range of normal bleeding: anywhere from four days to 4 weeks off and on is normal and expected.
- Should I use the second round of misoprostol?Most people less than 9 weeks from their last period do not need the second dose of misoprostol. You should only use the second dose if you have no bleeding at all over a full 24 hours. If you have spotting you do not need the second dose, but please save it in case our staff coaches you to use it later. Taking the second four misoprostol tabs when you do not need them will only cause uncomfortable side effects. If you are between 9 weeks and 11 weeks from your last period for the abortion, please take both doses of misoprostol four hours apart, even if you are already bleeding. It is NOT appropriate to take the second dose of misoprostol for a positive pregnancy test later. This is not how the medications work. If you have a positive pregnancy test more than 4 weeks later please call us. Do NOT take the second misoprostol dose.
- My pregnancy test is still positive. What do I do?Our medical grade pregnancy tests will turn negative over 4 weeks for about 90% of patients. If the test that came in your kit is showing two lines give us a call to review your symptoms. Do NOT take the test in your kit until prompted to by our text follow-up; it’s timed based on the shipment and when you took the mifepristone. Taking the test early will cause a false positive. Extreme heat exposure in transit during the summer may make the tests in your kit show no lines at all. It’s okay to call us to review if this happens. Drug store pregnancy tests can take 6 weeks to turn negative, even if everything worked. The timing has to do with how long it takes the hormones to clear your bloodstream. The best way of predicting that the medications worked is bleeding/cramping/passing clots and your pregnancy symptoms going away within 4 days of taking the mifepristone abortion pill.
- Am I bleeding enough?There is a very wide range of normal bleeding after taking the medications. Though the heaviest bleeding is usually in the first 1-2 days, it isn’t the same for everyone. Many people will only have light bleeding throughout. That’s okay. If you have pregnancy symptoms at all like nausea or breast/chest tenderness, that should be gone over about 4 days.
- What is an ultrasound?An ultrasound is a machine that uses sound waves to measure your pregnancy, uterus and other internal organs. If you had an ultrasound for this pregnancy it would have been reported to you based on the number of weeks into your pregnancy you were and/or your expected due date if you were to continue your pregnancy.
- Do I need antibiotics?As a member of the National Abortion Federation, we follow the Clinical Policy Guidelines for Abortion Care. There is not good science showing that antibiotics are helpful prior to a medication abortion. In our experience antibiotics are more likely to cause a vaginal yeast infection than offer any benefit in medication abortion.
- What kinds of steroids are not safe with medication abortion?The abortion pill can block steroids, so it may not be safe for people who need steroid pills or shots more than 5 days a month for long-term health issues. Examples include prednisone, prednisolone, or Solu-Medrol. This does NOT include inhalers, ointments or creams. Contact your regular doctor or see our resources page if you are not sure whether this applies for you.
- I take aspirin. Is it safe to have a medication abortion?It is safe to take low dose 81mg aspirin – aka baby aspirin – once a day and still use the abortion pill. If you are taking high dose 325mg aspirin because you were advised to by your doctor we ask that you seek in person care and/or discuss this with your usual doctor.
- What are blood thinners?Blood thinners are given to people who have had blood clots or have a condition making them more likely to have blood clots. These prescription drugs include coumadin (Warfarin), apixaban (Eliquis) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto). It is not safe to have a medication abortion if you take blood thinners; you should have a procedure instead. Please contact your usual doctor or see our resources page for other options if you are not sure whether you take a blood thinner.
- I have anemia. Is that safe?Anemia – or low blood levels – is very common because of blood loss with your menstrual cycle over time. This iron deficiency anemia – as well as sickle cell anemia or sickle cell trait – is not usually a major safety concern for medication abortion unless you have lightheadedness or if have needed a blood or iron transfusion.
- What do you mean by bleeding disorders?Bleeding disorders that may not be safe for medication abortion include Von Willebrand Disease, hemophilia, and thrombocytopenia (low platelets). If you are not sure whether you have a bleeding disorder please contact your regular doctor or see our resources page for in person care options. Anemia is not considered a bleeding disorder.
- What is an IUD?An intrauterine device (IUD) is a T-shaped plastic device inserted by a health provider in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. If you have an IUD in place, or an IUD placed in the past but never removed, you may be at increased risk of having a pregnancy outside the uterus.
- What is PID (pelvic inflammatory disease)?Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection in the uterus, ovaries and/or fallopian tubes most commonly caused by sexually transmitted infections. Having had PID in the past increases your risk of pregnancies outside of the uterus.
- What is an ectopic pregnancy?Ectopic pregnancies are those that occur outside of the uterus, most commonly the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are rare, but having had one before increases your risk of future episodes. It can be a medical emergency.
- What are NSAIDs?We use high dose ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), which is a type of NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), for pain control. Other examples of NSAIDs include naproxen (Naprosyn), aspirin, nabumetone (Relafen) and meloxicam (Mobic). If you are allergic to NSAIDs or ibuprofen we do not have another pain medication we can offer. You may still get a medication abortion but it should be with a different provider.
- Do I need a Rhogam shot?Rh testing to determine blood type is not needed prior to an abortion at less than 12 weeks. There is very good science showing it is not medically necessary to have a Rhogam shot (for people with negative blood type) prior to a first trimester abortion.
- When can I have penetretive sex?There are no activity restrictions. You can have sex whenever you feel ready.
- When will my period return?It can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months for your periods to get back to a predictable schedule. Often, the first period after a medication abortion may be heavier and have clots. We do NOT advise using ovulation tracking as your primary method of birth control until you’ve had at least 2 months of predictable cycles.
- What do you mean by adrenal problems?The abortion pill can interfere with some treatments for serious rare conditions. Please do not use our service if you are on dialysis or have adrenal failure. If you do not know whether you have these rare conditions, please ask your regular doctor or see our resources page for other care options. Kidney stones or past kidney infections are not a concern in this case.
- What is porphyria?Porphyria is a very rare type of liver disease that affects the skin and nervous system. It is not safe to use abortion pills if you have porphyria; you should have an abortion procedure instead. If you are not sure whether you have porphyria, please contact your regular doctor or see our resources page for other options.
- Do I need an ultrasound?Most people don’t need an ultrasound. But we recommend them for patients who have an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus) or who may have pregnancies further along than we can safely manage on our platform. Should you need an ultrasound, we do ask that you seek care with another abortion provider for safety.
- How do I get a copy of my medical records?Please use our Contact Us form below to request medical records. We will reach out via phone to confirm your identity then send a medical release form for you to e-sign and return.
- I finished my appointment. Where is my medication kit?Medication packets are sent by overnight shipping Monday-Friday approximately 5pm Eastern. Please check the tracking number sent to your email to see where yours is.
- Do you prescribe birth control?We can call-in prescriptions to local pharmacies for no extra charge. Feel free to ask your clinician at the secure video visit any questions you have about birth control. We are happy to provide resources and answer questions about common birth control methods.
- What if I change my mind?Our service is best for people who are sure of their decision. If you are unsure of your decision to end your pregnancy or if you want to talk with a counselor about other options, please visit our resources page. If you decide you do not wish to use our services after scheduling your appointment, please use the link in your scheduling confirmation email to cancel your appointment. If you talk to the clinician and change your mind later, please contact us by phone. We cannot provide refunds after medication packets have been mailed. If abortion by mail is not a safe option for you based on your clinician’s professional assessment during your visit, we will provide referrals for in-clinic care.
What to expect
- What does the discreet packaging look like?We work with 3 different mail order pharmacies across the US. They all ship for us using plain Fedex envelopes or small Fedex boxes with just the initials of the pharmacy as the sender. There is no reference to “abortion”, “medication”, “prescription”, “pharmacy” or even “AOD” anywhere on the packaging.
- Should I take time off work?Many people prefer to take a few days off if they have a physical job. But it is not medically necessary to take time off work. It mimics heavy period cramps or an early miscarriage.
- Do I have to be at home to have my abortion?Nope. Just note the heaviest bleeding and cramping is typically in the first day after taking the medicines. You’ll want to have easy access to extra pads and options to change them often.
- Does it work?Early abortion with pills is more than 98% effective. We do a follow-up check by text and medical grade pregnancy test in your packets to ensure it worked.
- Does it hurt?Abortion can definitely be uncomfortable. Medication abortion mimics a natural miscarriage. Most people describe it as similar to very intense period cramps. Our packets come with high dose anti-inflammatory pain medications. It is against the law to send narcotic pain medications in the mail. If you are worried about low pain tolerance or have high sensitivity to pain, you may want to consider in-person care for the abortion procedure.
- How much will I bleed?Any range of light to heavy bleeding is normal and expected. It lasts about 10 days on average, but a wide range of 4 days to 4 weeks can be normal. It’s like a medium period with the heaviest part in the first few days.
- How long does it take to get the pills?Abortion kits for appropriate patients are sent overnight Fedex Express Monday-Friday around 5pm Eastern. You will receive an email with a tracking number when the package is received by the shipper. We do not control operational or weather issues related to nationwide shipping, and there can be delays. Please contact the shipping company directly if you would like extra updates about delivery times.
- What if I have an emergency?Medication abortion is very safe, and emergencies are rare. We keep a board-certified physician on call if needed. Please contact our 24/7 call center at the phone number in your packet. If you are having a serious medical emergency you should call 911.