After Abortion Care - Side Effects, Complications & more

How to Take Care of Yourself After an Abortion

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Whether a woman opts for a surgical procedure for abortion or takes pills, there are bound to be some complications. Many women believe that when the surgical abortion procedure is performed by a medical professional, there are no complications, but that may not be entirely true. An abortion can have severe side effects – from mental stress to physical pain – on a woman’s body. Hence, proper self-care is important to recover after abortion.

A young woman sitting on the couch, unhappy with her positive pregnancy result

Side Effects and Complications of Abortion

An abortion can be physically and emotionally taxing for a woman. Even after it is carried out by a professional, there are side effects that could arise after the procedure.

1. Bleeding

This is probably one of the most common complications women face after an abortion. During the procedure, a lot of blood is lost from the blood vessels between the placenta and the uterus. The bleeding could persist for a long time and could become heavier too. One can experience light to heavy bleeding after an abortion. Blood clots may also pass post an abortion; however, if they pass for more than a couple of hours, it could be a sign of complication.

2. Cramps/Pain

Cramps are another side effect of abortion which could cause discomfort. If a woman has an abortion after 12 weeks of her pregnancy, she will most likely have cramps. Experiencing pain in the pelvic region, however, could be a sign of an infection in the body, but again, not always. Hence, a woman should check with a doctor if the pain lasts for long.

3. Vaginal Discharge

After undergoing an abortion, a woman can have foul-smelling vaginal discharge, which basically indicates an infection in the uterus, fallopian tube, or the vagina. If left untreated it could lead to pelvic inflammatory diseases, hence consulting a doctor about the same is necessary.

4. High Body Temperature

A woman who has undergone an abortion can expect her body temperature to remain higher than normal due to various changes occurring in the body. However, if the temperature rises beyond 100.4°C, consulting a doctor is a must.

5. Some Other Side Effects

A woman can also experience septic shock after the termination of her pregnancy. The symptoms of the same include chills, abdominal pain, fever, and low blood pressure. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, bleeding and fever are also indicators of uterine perforation.

Emotions After Abortion

All women react differently to abortion. Many women go through a roller-coaster of emotions after an abortion while others take it in their stride. For some, there is a sense of relief while others feel a deep regret of having undergone the procedure. In any case, it is important to acknowledge these feelings and accept that they are as real as physical side effects. If the feelings of regret are not addressed quickly, they could lead to long-term depression.


If you experience pain or cramps or have an infection, do not self-medicate. Inform all your symptoms to your doctor – she will guide you the best. In order to prevent infections after an abortion, doctors usually recommend Azithromycin and Flagyl. Methergine and Ergotamine medication is prescribed to bring the uterus back to its original size. However, these medicines should only be taken if prescribed by the doctor.

Tips to Take Care of Yourself After an Abortion

If you have recently had an abortion, your body will undergo many changes. While some symptoms will remain for around two weeks, a few will subside within 72 hours of the abortion. To recover quickly, after-abortion care is necessary. Here are a few tips that will help you recover faster –

1. Make Changes in Your Diet

Since a lot of blood is lost during an abortion, quickly getting on to a nutrient-rich diet can help. After an abortion, you should also drink 8-9 glasses of water daily and up your protein and vitamin intake.

2. Use Contraceptives

You should consider using contraceptives after an abortion to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Your fertility will be high after abortion because of the hormonal changes, so if you plan to have sex, use birth control options. Better yet, abstain from sex for at least two weeks – give your body some time to recover, then you can have sex with your partner. Doctors usually recommend women to avoid sex until the next period.

3. Invest in Good Bras

After undergoing an abortion surgery, you will notice changes in your breasts. They may feel tender and heavy for about two weeks or more. So wear well-fitting bras during this time and avoid stimulating your breasts.

A depressed young woman lying in bed

4. Change Pads Frequently

Post-abortion, you may experience light to heavy bleeding; bleeding is the body’s natural way of recovering from the procedure. You can use pads – and keep changing them frequently. But if the flow is quite heavy, it is suggested that you consult a doctor as heavy bleeding can be a sign of an infection.

6. Use Heating Pads

You could experience severe cramping if the abortion has taken place after 12 or more weeks of pregnancy. Your uterus will also try to return to its normal position, which again could lead to cramps. If you experience cramps or severe pain, you can use a heating pad. A heating pad will ease the pain and provide you some relief.

7. Share Your Concerns With Your Partner

Abortion can leave some emotional scars and you could experience emotional turmoil and may feel sad. Hence, it is important that you let those emotions out of your system. To get out from that emotional phase, you need to have a support system, and who better than your husband! So talk to your partner and spend quality time with him. Try to uplift your mood by going out for walks or spending some time in the company of friends.

8. Take Rest

After undergoing an abortion, you will need to take rest. You can’t just go back to work as you did before. Your body will need some time to recover and for that it needs rest. So if possible, stay at home for a week or two, and rest. Get enough sleep and eat healthy foods – these will help you recover soon!


1. When Can You Expect Your Period to Return After an Abortion?

After an abortion, your body will start preparing itself for the next menstrual cycle. So you can expect your period to return 4-8 weeks after the abortion. But do expect your menstrual cycle to be accompanied by cramping during the first one or two weeks.

Your periods will also depend on the type of birth control method you use. You should have your periods by 8 weeks if you don’t use birth control pills.

2. Can You Have Sex After an Abortion?

You can have sex after an abortion, but doctors suggest couples to wait for about 2 weeks before having sex as it lowers the risk of infections. Sex should also be avoided to prevent another pregnancy.

3. Can You Get Pregnant Soon After an Abortion?

Your body will start preparing for the next menstrual cycle immediately after the abortion. So if you indulge in unprotected sex, you can become pregnant any time before your period too. If you want to avoid getting pregnant, you should discuss the birth control methods with him. Post-abortion, your periods should resume after four to eight weeks unless you are on birth control pills.

Abortion can take a toll on your health, hence it is important that you take adequate rest to come out of that emotionally and physically taxing phase. Your body will tell you exactly when to return to normal routines, and you should take a call accordingly. Increased activity will cause cramping or bleeding, so avoid any exercise. Eat healthy foods and take good care of yourself. Also, go for a pelvic examination four weeks after the abortion to rule out any infections or other problems and to know how your body is recovering. This will ensure that your body has recovered entirely from the abortion and you are ready to lead a healthy life.

Also Read:

Side Effects After Abortion
D and C After a Miscarriage/Abortion
Chances Of Conceiving After An Abortion

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