Abortion & Bleeding

You have probably read a lot of information about the options available to you and the methods of abortion that are offered in the UK today but what can you expect after having your abortion?

Depending on the type of abortion you have had you may react differently.  Some medicines that are used in abortions can cause nausea, sickness and diarrhoea while others might make you need a little extra time to recover if you’ve had a general anaesthetic.  In any type of abortion you will always find that you will experience vaginal bleeding afterwards.  How heavy it is and how long it lasts varies from woman to woman but generally this is an indication of what you should expect.

How long will I bleed for after an abortion?

After your abortion you will normally experience vaginal bleeding for around two weeks afterwards.  Sometimes a little longer depending on how pregnant you were.  You will find that the bleeding is a little heavier than a normal period and there may be some blood clots too.  This is perfectly normal and you should not worry.  Sometimes you might experience some spotting and cramps but this should settle down after your periods have started again.

What if I have really heavy bleeding with blood clots?

Some bleeding slightly heavier than a normal period is normal but if you experience heavy bleeding that soaks through more than two sanitary towels in a row for more than two hours at a time you should seek medical help immediately. 

You may also experience the occasional blood clot which again is entirely normal but if these are persistent and regular you should always seek further medical help.

When should I be worried?

After you have had your abortion the clinic will talk you through what to expect and give you an information leaflet which will give you an idea of what to look out for and when to seek further help.  The main symptoms to look out for are:

  • Having a high temperature
  • Excessively heavy bleeding where you soak more than two sanitary towels in the space of an hour and this carries on for more than two hours in a row
  • Regular blood clots
  • Severe abdominal pain and cramps that are not eased by painkillers
  • Unusual and smelly vaginal discharge

These are signs of you having an infection which is the biggest concern after having an abortion.

When will my period start again?

Each woman is individual and your periods are as individual as you are.  As a guide your periods will normally start again between three and 12 weeks after an abortion.  However if you are still experiencing 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.

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