Although LifeTalk Resource Center doesn’t perform or refer for abortions, we do provide resources to better understand what you may experience following an abortion. In the event that you or someone you know has an abortion, you’ll know what is considered the normal response and abnormal response. Regardless of the type of abortion procedure you undergo, the post-abortion care will be similar except for some small differences. Your healthcare provider will provide you with home instructions which will educate you on how to care for yourself and will also offer guidance on when you need to call your health care provider.
After an abortion, it is normal to experience cramping pain similar to a period or slightly stronger. Most likely you will be advised to take ibuprofen; do not take aspirin as this can increase bleeding. If pain should increase in severity or not be relieved by ibuprofen, it is recommended that you contact your provider.
You will also have vaginal bleeding which can last up to two weeks. It is usually most heavy within the first few hours after the abortion. It may be accompanied by clots. For the first 24 hours afterward, you should provide yourself with plenty of rest, otherwise, if you are on your feet a lot you may notice an increase in bleeding as well as clotting. If you should bleed such that you are using more than two pads per hour for more than two hours, or you are passing clots larger than the size of a golf ball, you will need to contact your provider.
To avoid any infection and risk of PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), you will be advised against having sexual intercourse until cleared by your doctor or for at least two weeks after the abortion. Similarly, you cannot use tampons, (only pads), as well as no douching, no tub baths (showers only), and no swimming. If you underwent a surgical abortion, you will be given antibiotics to take after the procedure and for a few days afterward. Oftentimes it is common to run a low-grade temperature for the first day. If you continue to run a fever or if it rises to above 100.4, or if you have foul-smelling vaginal discharge, you need to contact your provider, who would want to check you for infection.
Follow up appointment
You should plan on seeing your healthcare provider/physician about two to three weeks post-procedure. For medical abortion patients, this will be done to make sure the abortion is completed, and for surgical patients, to ensure no complications have developed post-operatively.
You may be feeling very emotional, sad or depressed. Hormonal changes can magnify these effects. If they persist or worsen, it is recommended you contact your provider and consider seeking post-abortion counseling.
Most likely, your periods will restart within four to eight weeks after the procedure. Please be aware that if you choose to be sexually active, it is possible to get pregnant soon after an abortion.
Should any other problems or issues arise that are not covered here, it is recommended that you contact your provider for further direction and information. If your symptoms worsen and you cannot reach your provider, then it is recommended that you go to the nearest Emergency Room.
Easing The After-Effects Of Abortion
It is common for those who have gone through an abortion to experience thoughts and emotions that are difficult to process. These uneasy feelings can linger for months and even years. They may come on immediately or suddenly hit you weeks after the procedure. For many, these troubling emotions resurface at various times throughout life and never go away entirely.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by any of the post-abortion symptoms below, please feel free to call us or make an appointment with LifeTalk. Whether you’d just like to talk to a sympathetic caregiver or join a Post-Abortion Support Group, we will walk beside you during this difficult time.
Possible Symptoms of Post-Abortion Trauma:
- Bouts of crying
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Avoiding intimate relationships
- Engaging in unhealthy relationships
If you had an abortion and are currently experiencing any of these symptoms, contact us. We will offer you support and help you work through any struggles you currently face.