If you’ve found yourself looking for ways to handle an unplanned pregnancy, you’ve probably come across the vitamin C technique. It calls for taking large doses of vitamin C supplements for several days in a row to cause an abortion.

It sounds like an easy solution, as this vitamin is readily available in most grocery stores and pharmacies. And you already get plenty of vitamin C from food sources, so what could the harm be?

In terms of abortion home remedies, vitamin C is probably among the safest options. But this is only because it doesn’t do much of anything, and there’s no evidence that it will cause an abortion. Pregnant women regularly take vitamin C without any adverse consequences.

Read on to learn more about where this remedy may have originated, the risks associated with it, and your options for a safe, effective abortion.

There is no credible scientific information suggesting that vitamin C has any effect on pregnancy, implantation, or menstruation.

The claims that it can cause an abortion possibly originated from a mistranslated Russian journal article from the 1960s.

The article documented a handful of cases in which vitamin C led to abortion. But this hasn’t been confirmed in any other studies since then. The ability to replicate findings several times over is a hallmark of quality scientific research.

In addition, a 2016 review of existing studies found that taking vitamin C had no effect on someone’s risk of having a spontaneous miscarriage.

Vitamin C is relatively harmless, even in large doses. Some holistic wellness centers even offer intravenous vitamin C.

At most, taking too much vitamin C will leave you with diarrhea and a stomachache.

There’s also some debate within the medical community that it may increase your risk of kidney stones. Generally speaking, when taking vitamin C supplements, it’s probably best not to exceed 2,000 milligrams each day.

It’s vitamin C’s lack of effectiveness that makes it a risky abortion method. Abortions are easier to get earlier on in a pregnancy. If you wait too long or first try ineffective remedies, local laws may prevent you from having an abortion later.

Getting an abortion sooner rather than later has several benefits, such as:

  • reduced risk of complications
  • shortened procedure time
  • lower costs
  • increased access, due to laws regulating when an abortion can be done

If you’ve decided that an abortion is right for you, there are alternatives to doing it yourself. Even if you live in an area with strict abortion laws, you have options that are safer than home remedies.

There are two main types of abortion:

  • Medical abortion. A medical abortion involves taking oral medication or dissolving medication in your vagina or inner cheek.
  • Surgical abortion. A surgical abortion is a medical procedure involving suction. It’s done by a doctor in a medical facility, and you can usually go home right after the procedure so long as you bring someone to drive you home.

Medical abortion

You can have a medical abortion on your own at home. But you’ll need to make sure you get a prescription from a doctor.

When considering your options, keep in mind that medical abortions are only recommended if you’re 10 weeks pregnant or less.

Medical abortions generally involve two medications called mifepristone and misoprostol. There are several approaches to using the medication. Some involve taking two oral pills, while others involve taking one pill orally and dissolving the other in your vagina.

Other approaches include taking methotrexate, an arthritis medication, followed by oral or vaginal misoprostol. This is considered an off-label use of methotrexate, meaning it isn’t approved for use in abortion. Still, some healthcare providers may recommend it.

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant, a medical abortion likely won’t be effective. It also increases your risk of having an incomplete abortion. Instead, you’ll need a surgical abortion.

Surgical abortion

There are a couple of ways to do a surgical abortion:

  • Vacuum aspiration. After giving you a local anesthetic or pain medication, a doctor uses dilators to open your cervix. They insert a tube through your cervix and into your uterus. This tube is hooked up to a suction device that empties your uterus. Vacuum aspiration is generally used if you’re up to 15 weeks pregnant.
  • Dilation and evacuation. Similar to a vacuum aspiration, a doctor starts by giving you an anesthetic and dilating your cervix. Next, they remove the products of the pregnancy with forceps. Any remaining tissue is removed through a small tube inserted in your cervix. Dilation and evacuation is generally used if you’re more than 15 weeks pregnant.

Vacuum aspiration abortions take about 10 minutes to perform, while dilation and evacuation takes closer to 30 minutes. Both procedures often require some extra time to allow your cervix to dilate.

Learn more about the different types of abortion, including when they’re done and cost information.

Keep in mind that many areas have laws that restrict when you can have a surgical abortion. Most don’t allow surgical abortions after 20 to 24 weeks, or the end of the second trimester. They’re usually only done after this point if the pregnancy poses a serious health risk.

If you’re more than 24 weeks pregnant, consider looking into other alternatives.

If you live in the United States, there are several organizations that can offer guidance on what your options are, help you find a provider, and assist with covering the costs of an abortion.

Information and services

If you’re not sure where to start, consider reaching out to your local Planned Parenthood clinic, which you can find here.

Clinic staff can counsel you on what your options are and help you weigh the pros and cons of each.

Once you’ve made a decision, they can provide you with discreet, low-cost services, including both medical and surgical abortions.

Financial assistance

The National Network of Abortion Funds offers financial assistance to help with paying for both an abortion and related costs, including transportation.

Legal information

For up-to-date information about abortion laws in your area, the Guttmacher Institute offers a handy guide to both federal and state regulations.

Telemedicine

While it’s always best to do a medical abortion with the help of a doctor, this isn’t always an option.

If all else fails, Aid Access can provide you with a prescription from a doctor. You’ll need to have a quick online consultation first to make sure a medical abortion will work for you. If it will, they’ll mail the pills to you, allowing you to have a medical abortion at home.

Unlike many sites offering abortion pills, Aid Access provides detailed information in each shipment to help you use the pills effectively and safely. They also include important information that will help you recognize any potential complications sooner rather than later.

Buying online: Is it safe?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends against purchasing abortion pills online. However, this is sometimes the safest option.

A 2017 study involving 1,000 Irish women found that medical abortions done with the help of Women on Web were highly effective. Those who did have complications were well-equipped to recognize them, and nearly all participants who did have complications reported seeking medical treatment.

Having an abortion done by a qualified healthcare provider is the safest option. But a medical abortion done with medication from a reputable source is much safer than attempting a self-abortion with home remedies.

Abortion laws vary greatly from country to country. If you’re not sure about what’s available in your country, Marie Stopes International is a good starting point. They have offices all over the world and can offer guidance on local laws and available services in your area. Choose your general area out of their list of locations to find country-specific information.

Women Help Women also offers information about resources and hotlines in many countries.

If you can’t safely access a clinic, Women on Web mails abortion pills to people in countries with restrictive laws. You’ll need to have a quick consultation online to make sure you qualify. If you do, a doctor will provide a prescription and mail the pills to you so you can have a medical abortion at home. If you’re having trouble accessing the site, you can find a workaround here.

Regardless of the laws and regulations in your area, you deserve the right to make decisions about what happens to your body.

You may feel like vitamin C and other home remedies are your only option, but there are resources available to you in nearly every country to help you find a safe, effective alternative.