How much Vitamin C to use -
I have found different dosages listed in various books and zines. I've listed them here to illustrate that there is some flexibility when dealing with these home remedies. I have also added my own opinions based on what other women have done and my personal experiences. Please keep in mind, that I don't have any medical training, and can't tell someone how much to take.
Rebecca Chalker has the dosage listed at 6-10 grams a day for 5-10 days.13
It specifically states the type of Vitamin C to use, which is Ascorbic Acid. Another feminist publication from the 70's, The Monthly Extract, lists the dosage as 6 grams for 5 consecutive days.14
Joy Gardener agrees, writing that 6 grams (6,000 mg) per day, for 5 days and menstruation should begin on the 6th or 7th day.15
When deciding how much Vitamin C to take, consider your body weight, fat vs muscle, whether you smoke tobacco (tobacco messes with Vitamin C uptake), do you already take a Vitamin C supplement?
Another thing to keep in mind that Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, which means that your kidneys will remove excess vitamin c and flush it out in your urine. So mega dosing doesn't really help, and may even teach your kidneys to excrete too much vitamin c. Small frequent doses are the key to keeping a constant level circulating in your body. Huge quantities of vitamin c will only irritate your kidneys, and probably won't make the vitamin c anymore effective.
Terminating pregnancy is a process. In cases of confirmed pregnancy, bleeding rarely starts before the 6th day of self-treatment. So it is important to pace yourself, so that you can go the duration, and not harm yourself in the process. These home remedies are hard on the body, and the process can be mentally and physically draining. Herbal Abortion is much more involved than just popping pills and sipping teas.
In cases of confirmed pregnancy, for an average woman who's period is no more than two weeks overdue, 8 to 12 grams per day should be sufficient. I prefer a slightly higher dose than Rebecca Chalker mentions in her book. Partly because the average American has their bodies subjected to environmental pollutants on a daily basis - perhaps more so now than in the 70's, and partly because lesser doses didn't work for me. But I also didn't know then what I know now. Even so, it still doesn't mean that it would work for me today either. Use your own judgment, do what feels right to you.
Divide your total grams for the day into equal doses, equally spaced. Doses consisting of one 500 mg tablet per hour are most common. It is helpful if you have a watch with a timer to set it to go off to remind you to take your dose. The idea is to keep a constant level circulating in the blood, which is also why I think waking once or twice during the night is helpful, this way the body doesn't have 8 hours to undo any progress made during the day.
Waking during the night adds additional stress to the process, but some women have felt it was important to continue putting the Vitamins and/or herbs into their systems at least once during the night. There are also plenty of other women who were also successful without taking doses during the night. Again, do what works best for you. A parsley pessary might be a good nighttime alternative.
A couple women have also placed a vitamin c tablet in the vagina next to the cervix overnight. Some used their diaphragms to hold it in place. I'm not sure if this would have a negative effect on the diaphragm material, and if you try that, you might want to replace your diaphragm after to make sure your contraceptive protection is as good as it can be. I would also be concerned about the Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) irritating the cervix or vagina. I'm not sure how I feel about doing Ascorbic Acid in the vagina on a daily basis or for weeks at a time. Again I have concerns for the safety and health of the cervix. Doing it once for emergency contraception would be ok, but I don't think putting Vitamin C in the vagina daily is a good idea at this point - I don't know enough about how it would affect the cervix cells, and I don't think anyone wants to go get a pap before they try it, then get another afterwards, or go through the invasive treatments doctors will prescribe if abnormal cervix cells are found, or time consuming naturopathic treatments.16
Vitamin c is a water soluble vitamin, so excess amounts are eliminated through the kidneys, and cause problems for those who are predisposed to kidney issues. I also think its a good idea to take a couple doses during the night to help maintain a constant level in the body.
Expect to be using the vitamin c for a minimum of 6 days, bleeding rarely begins before then. Vitamin C should not be taken for more than 10 to 14 days at a time. 14 days maximum. Some women have used vitamin C longer than that, as long as 30 days, however you should know that taking large amounts of ascorbic acid over an extended period of time will increase your risk for getting kidney stones. Individuals who have sensitive kidneys or a history of kidney stones and pebbles really should not work with ascorbic acid at all.17
Taking these quantities of Vitamin C for periods longer than two weeks may produce unexpected effects in some individuals.
If vitamin C starts bleeding within the allotted time, it may be discontinued once bleeding is like a normal period.
Some women have written me wondering about using high doses of vitamin C while nursing. Information published by the USDA on Vitamin C based on scientific research indicates that only a certain amount of vitamin c can be transmitted through breast milk. Once the maximum level is reached, that's it, it doesn't matter how excessive the mother's Vitamin C intake is, the level in breast milk doesn't appear to exceed 100.5 mg/L which is "the high end of values reported for human milk, but not reflective of the high intake."18
However, caution should still be used. I have had women report their breastfed children experiencing diarrhea and skin rashes due to their high intakes of Vitamin C.