After Abortion Care
Most medical or surgical procedures require some sort of after-care instructions. The facility and staff providing your abortion procedure should provide you with written instructions regarding both your physical health and safety and your emotional health for your after abortion care, if applicable.
Basic After-Abortion Care
- Drink lots of fluids – water, milk, juice, sports drinks. Consider eliminating or limiting carbonated beverages for a few days to prevent the risk of gas build-up
- If possible, take a few days off from work or school to give your body a chance to recover; rest and nap/sleep as much as possible
- Take a daily vitamin and choose healthy foods, to aid your body in recovery.
- If you are prescribed antibiotics, begin taking them right away and take the full prescription as part of your after abortion care.
- Limit vigorous exercise for up to two weeks
- Don’t lift anything heavier than about 15 pounds (average bowling ball weight)
- No swimming, tub baths, or douching for a minimum of two weeks.
- Do not insert anything into your vagina for a minimum of two weeks – this means no sex, no tampons, etc.
- If the pregnancy was past 9 weeks, you may experience some breast soreness, tightness, swelling, and possibly some fluid leakage. Wear a well-fitting, slightly snug bra or sports bra until the feeling(s) are gone; these symptoms usually go away in about 2-4 weeks.
- If you develop fever, extreme tenderness, or notice red streaks and/or heat in your breast, call your doctor.
Note: You may ovulate within a couple weeks after the abortion procedure which means you could get pregnant before you resume your normal period cycles.
Follow-up Appointment for After-Abortion Care
- You will be checked to be sure there is no infection in your uterus, and that you are healing properly after the abortion procedure.
- Your cervix should be checked to make sure it is closing or has closed completely. Once it has closed you’ll be able to swim, take a bath, etc. As long as your cervix remains open, there is an increased risk that bacteria introduced to the vaginal canal could travel up into the uterus and create an infection.
- You should also be checked to make certain the abortion procedure was completed. A missed or incomplete abortion happens when fetal tissue remains in the uterus; this can cause serious complications if it is not taken care of.
Reasons to Seek Immediate Medical Care After an Abortion Procedure
- Fever over 1000 that doesn’t go away even with medication; if you have a fever for more than 48 hours, or it’s over 1000
- Excessive cramping and pain that does not go away with medication
- Any discharge of tissue
- Any foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Abdominal swelling and/or tenderness
- Continued signs of pregnancy
- Change in bowel or urine habits; a lack of bowel movements
- Blood in your urine or stool
- Bleeding from IV sites that doesn’t stop
- Dizziness and/or a faint feeling
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Abnormal bleeding: anything heavier than your heaviest period, passing clots the size of an apricot or orange or bigger (a couple quarter size clots once or twice is okay but that’s it), bleeding that continues to get heavy instead of lessening, bright red blood – may indicate new bleeding
- Postabortal syndrome: Severe cramping, sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, pale colored skin, increased heart-rate, the uterus feels large and hard in the abdomen
Emotional Side Effects
The emotional side effects after an abortion procedure are varied and range from slight to severe; these effects might be experienced days after the abortion but sometimes not for years.
- Relief at “getting it over with”
- Post-abortion “numbness” or emotional “paralysis”
- Sleep disturbances
- Sadness and/or depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Exacerbation of existing mental health conditions
- Development of post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as post-abortion syndrome
Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? Contact us to schedule a free post-abortion consultation. It is important to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally and we would like to assist you. Also, you can contact the National Hotline for Abortion Recovery at 866-482-5433, or at www.nationalhelpline.org.
More Information about Abortion
- What is Abortion
- The Abortion Pill – First Trimester, before 7 weeks
- First Trimester Surgical Abortion – 6 to 12 weeks
- Second Trimester Surgical Abortion – 13 weeks to point of viability
- Abortion Risks and Side Effects
- Abortion Costs
- After Abortion Care
- IL Abortion Law
- Elliot Institute. (n.d.). Abortion Risks: A list of major psychological complications related to abortion | After Abortion. Retrieved from http://afterabortion.org/2011/abortion-risks-a-list-of-major-psychological-complications-related-to-abortion/ ↩
- The After Effects of Abortion. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/the-after-effects-of-abortion ↩