After An Abortion

If you have had an abortion, it is important to take care of yourself.

  • Drink water and healthy fluids.
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise and lifting heavy objects for at least one week.
  • Take any antibiotics you were given for the full number of days prescribed.
  • Avoid vaginal insertions for at least two weeks, including sex and tampons.

Call your doctor if you are concerned about any symptoms you are having.

Common Physical Effects

Most women experience some of the following after an abortion:

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  • Bleeding – on average bleeding lasts 14 days, but can last as long as 21 days. (1)
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea/Vomiting

These symptoms typically resolve within a week, sometimes longer. If symptoms persist or become severe, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.

 

Post-Abortion Complications

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms after an abortion:

  • Heavy bleeding or passing large clots (larger than golf ball size).black_woman
  • Bleeding that lasts more than 14 days.
  • Fever over 100 degrees.
  • Abdominal pain that is worse than a normal period.
  • Signs of infection such as achiness and general feeling of illness.
  • Vomiting that lasts more than 4 hours.
  • Sudden abdominal swelling or rapid heart rate.
  • Vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad.
  • Pain, redness or swelling in the genital area.
  • Signs or symptoms of depression

Emotional Effects

It is normal to have mixed emotions after an abortion.  For some women, these feelings can be serious.

Research suggests that women who have had abortions may be at increased risk for mental health problems. (2) Some women who have experienced an abortion report symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (3) Some of those symptoms may include:

  • Regret
  • Grief
  • Sadness/Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt/Shame
  • Suicidal thoughts (24 Suicide Helpline: 1 (800) 273-8255)

It is important for your health that you not ignore any negative feelings you may have.  If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

If you have had an abortion and would like support, we offer post abortion services free of charge.

 

Notes:

  1. Davis A, Westhoff C, De Nonno L (2000). Bleeding patterns after early abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol or manual vacuum aspiration. J Am Med Womens Assoc 55(3 Suppl):141-4; Harwood B, Meckstroth KR, Mishell Dr, Jain JK (2001). Serum beta-human chorionic gonadotropin levels and endometrial thickness after medical abortion. Contraception 63(4):255-6.
  2. Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ, Ridder E (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. J Child Psychol Psyc 47(1):16-24.
  3. Coyle CT, Coleman PK, Rue VM (2010). Inadequate preabortion counseling and decision conflict as predictors of subsequent relationship difficulties and psychological stress in men and women. Traumatology 16(1):16-30.