How to care for yourself after an abortion
Depending on a woman’s medical needs and stage of pregnancy, a doctor may recommend one of several different methods of abortion, ranging from the pill to surgical evacuation (D&C or D&E). Depending on how far along the pregnancy is will give a good estimate for how long the symptoms after the procedure will be. It’s very important that a woman has a responsible adult to drive her to the procedure to allow recovery time and to reduce side effects.
Usually, it takes about 4 to 8 weeks for the menstrual cycle to resume, with period-like bleeding or spotting with cramping for 3-6 weeks, though some women might not bleed at all. Small to medium sized clots are normal during this time. Mood swings can also occur due to the change in pregnancy hormones. It is strongly advised that the woman avoids anything physically or emotionally strenuous right away to decrease stress and encourage healing.
It is possible to get pregnant immediately after an abortion, so it is very important to use birth control or abstain from sex to when trying to avoid pregnancy.
After an abortion, a woman should not use tampons, have sex or go swimming for at least 2 weeks. Anything inserted into the vagina can lead to an infection, and having unprotected sex could cause pregnancy. All medications, including antibiotics, prescribed for after the procedure should be taken as the surgeon prescribed them, and follow up appointments
should always be kept. Stomach cramps can be relieved with heating packs and over the counter medications such as ibuprofen.
Reasons to call the doctor right away are: if the pain is too great and is unresolved by ibuprofen or other over-the-counter medications, foul smelling discharge from the vagina, a fever develops, or severe bleeding (heavily saturating more than one maxi pad in an hour or passing clots larger than golf balls).
Most women heal fully within 6 weeks and have no residual problems after an abortion. However, it is very important to be proactive after an abortion, and to know your body just in case something is wrong so it can be addressed to a medical professional right away.