After an Abortion


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Having an abortion can be a difficult time, both emotionally and physically.  What will happen and how you will feel after an abortion will be different for everyone so it can be hard to say for sure how you will feel.  You may feel a sense of relief or sadness or just want to get on with your life.

Going Home after an Abortion

Most clinics advise you to go home and rest as soon as possible after having an abortion and to have someone with you as you may feel quite low or may have had a general anaesthetic.  Depending on the type of abortion you have had you may be able to go home within an hour or so of having the procedure.  You do not normally have a check up appointment but you can ask to see someone at the clinic if you are concerned in any way.

Many women feel a sense of relief afterwards but some may feel guilt or other difficult emotions.  Clinics offer specialist counselling to help you come to terms with your emotions and feelings and provide you with the necessary support, advice and guidance you need. 

Physical effects after an Abortion

After an abortion you will experience bleeding like a heavy period, sometimes with clots, which can last a couple of weeks or longer if you were further into your pregnancy.  You may also have period pains, which can be controlled with normal painkillers.  You might still feel some pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness or morning sickness but these should go within a few days of having the abortion. Your body will not look any different from before you were pregnant.

You should use sanitary towels rather than tampons after an abortion to reduce the risk of infection.  If you do get an infection you will be prescribed antibiotics and the full course must be taken to ensure the infection is cleared completely and will not spread.

If, however you have heavy bleeding that soaks more than two sanitary towels within an hour for more than two hours you should contact your clinic as soon as possible or go straight to A&E department.

You can take a bath or shower when you feel ready but remember that if you have had an anaesthetic you should have someone around, in case you need them.

Travelling after an Abortion

Travel, particularly long distance air travel or more than four hours, is not recommended on the same day as your abortion due to the increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).   The raised level of hormones in your body due to your pregnancy along with the risks of clots from surgery can increase the chances of DVT and so long periods of sitting whether in a car, train, plane can be risky and not recommended on the same day as your abortion.

Sex after an Abortion

After having an abortion you should use contraception as you can become pregnant within a week of having an abortion, although you are recommended to wait for two weeks after an abortion before having sexual intercourse to reduce the risk of infection.  You should consider what contraception you are going to use and get it arranged quickly.  Most clinics can talk this through with you before your abortion.

Periods after an Abortion

When your period starts again varies to the individual.  It will usually start within three and 12 weeks after an abortion.  If you are still having pregnancy symptoms or your period has not started after four weeks, you should take a pregnancy test and if it is positive, contact the clinic you went to.

Going back to Work after an Abortion

You can go back to work as soon as you feel able to and for many women this is what they need to help move on from the abortion.  However if you have a very physical job you should think about taking a few days off to let your body recover.

Swimming after an Abortion

There is no medical reason why you shouldn’t swim after having an abortion but it may increase your chance of getting an infection.  It is best to wait a couple of weeks after having an abortion before going swimming.

The Foetus after an Abortion

In the UK there are strict guidelines and procedures about what happens to foetal tissue after an abortion.  You might feel more at ease to know that the foetus is disposed of in a sensitive way.  If you want to know more you should speak with your clinic about what will happen. 


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