What To Expect After Your Abortion
Vaginal Bleeding after an abortion is perfectly normal. The amount of bleeding varies from woman to woman. Some women have little to no bleeding, while others bleed lightly up until their first period (four to eight weeks after the procedure).
It is not uncommon to have no bleeding for the first few days after your procedure and then to begin moderate to heavy bleeding 3-5 days later. Most of the time, this increase in symptoms is related to increased activity and can be resolved by restricting the level of activity and resting.
In addition, many women will pass clots. Clots of nickel or quarter size are not unusual.
When to Call: Women’s Health Services has a 24-hour answering service with staff on-call for any emergency. Certainly, call us if you are having heavy bleeding, such as soaking through more than one full size maxi pad per hour.
We would also like to hear from you, if you are passing large clots or if you don’t get your period after eight weeks.
For non-emergent matters, please call us during our normal business hours weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Most women experience some cramping after a procedure. Normal cramping is on and off and generally becomes less severe with time. Occasionally, a short episode of intense cramps will be associated with the passage of a clot. You will receive a prescription for pain medication to use when you experience cramping.
When to Call: Be sure to call us if your cramping is severe or unrelieved by the pain medication prescribed. Call us if your cramping becomes continuous pain and/or appears to be getting worse with time.
An elevation in temperature may be a sign that an infection is developing. This is why it is very important that you take your temperature twice a day (morning and evening) for seven days following your procedure.
When to Call: Call us if your temperature is over 100.4 degrees.
If you experienced breast tenderness or swelling prior to your procedure, you should expect these symptoms to disappear within four to five days (if your pregnancy termination occurred in the first trimester).
Some women will begin to produce milk after a second trimester procedure. This is normal and will usually stop within a few weeks if the breasts are not stimulated. Wearing a tight fitting bra with absorbent pads will help. Also, the use of ice packs can reduce discomfort and lactation.
Many women experience nausea when pregnant, especially in the morning. This “morning sickness” feeling should fade away within the first week.
While many women experience psychological relief following an abortion, some women may experience signs of depression. This may be due not only to the nature of the event, but also to the hormonal changes in the body.
If you have had a history of mental health problems in the past, it is important that you have the name and phone number of a therapist who can support your decision to have an abortion and provide therapy before and after the procedure, should you need this.
Often times the support of family and friends during this time can be very helpful.
When to Call: Call us anytime that you feel like talking to one of our counselors. Also, call us if you would like follow-up counseling referrals.
Do’s and Don’ts
• Do get a follow-up exam 2-3 weeks following your procedure
• Do take all of your medication as prescribed
• Do take your temperature twice a day for 7 days
• Do call us anytime with questions or concerns
• Don’t have sexual intercourse for at least two weeks
• Don’t use tampons for at least two weeks
• Don’t swim or take tub baths for at least 2 weeks or until your bleeding stops