Some women may feel a little anxious thinking about their next period after an abortion. The recovery process may be different for every woman as it depends on factors like how their bodies cope with the abortion, how well they look after their health after the abortion, and how far their pregnancy had progressed before the abortion.
But it is important to understand the difference between post-abortion bleeding and the start of regular periods after the procedure. In case of surgical abortion, bleeding after the procedure is normal, but it should not be mistaken for menstruation.
Moreover, abortions that occur in the second trimester of pregnancy may pose health issues both physically and mentally. On the whole, most women usually experience irregular or delayed periods after an abortion.
Medical Abortion vs Surgical Abortion
What is the difference between surgical and medical abortion? We have the answers for you.
|Surgical Abortion||Medical Abortion|
|· A procedure where the doctor uses a suction to empty the uterus||· A procedure involving a combination of medications that help shed the lining of the uterus|
|· Can be done till up to 14 weeks since the start of your last period||· Can be done till up to 9 weeks since the start of your last period|
|· Usually requires one visit for the procedure||· Usually requires more than one visit for the procedure|
|· 98% affective||· 95-97% affective|
|· You may experience mild cramps||· You may experience strong cramping and nausea|
Surgical abortions are generally safer and more effective than medical abortions. Medical abortions also aren’t for the faint of heart; they can cause heavy bleeding and unpleasant side-effects that might last a while. Your doctor should be able to give you the right advice on which way to go.
When Do Periods Start After an Abortion?
After the abortion, some bleeding for 2 to 6 weeks is considered normal. Post-abortion bleeding is normally heavier in the beginning but becomes lighter eventually. After the recovery bleeding has reduced, the body starts preparing for the first period after the abortion which can take several weeks.
Women who have an abortion during the first trimester of their pregnancy are likely to get their first period after the abortion within 4 to 8 weeks. However, in case the recovery bleeding has extended beyond 8 weeks and your period has not started, contact your doctor.
It is also important to keep in mind that even after the abortion the pregnancy hormone levels in the body may be high, which can cause changes in the menstrual cycle. Also, having an abortion does not affect fertility. So in case of unprotected sex after an abortion, you can get pregnant again.
Things to Remember About Bleeding After Surgical/Medical Abortion
Here are some important things to remember about bleeding after getting an abortion:
- After a surgical abortion procedure, it is normal to experience heavy bleeding, no bleeding or erratic bleeding for several weeks.
- After getting an abortion via a medical procedure, heavier bleeding than a surgical abortion is considered normal.
- You may pass some tissues while bleeding, and this usually lasts for a couple of days.
- It may take some time for your regular period to start. Your body may be taking more time to heal from the abortion process or to expel the pregnancy hormones from your body. You may also have a delayed period if you are suffering from stress and depression.
Changes in the Menstrual Cycle After an Abortion
There may be certain changes in your menstrual cycle after an abortion, and they are:
1. Change in the Flow
If you have gotten an abortion through a surgical process, your first period may have a ligher flow. It also may last only for a few days, unlike your normal period. But in case you experience heavy bleeding that continues unusually for days together, contact your doctor. If your abortion was done through medical means, you may experience a heavy period.
2. Some New Symptoms
You may find that your periods after the abortion are unlike your regular periods. You may now experience painful cramping, large blood clots or some pregnancy symptoms like a lower backache, swollen breasts, and fatigue. These changes are likely to last for a few menstruation cycles.
3. Irregular Periods
After an abortion, you will most likely experience irregularities while menstruating. For example, you may notice light bleeding 2 weeks after your period. The abnormalities can occur due to the presence of pregnancy hormones in the body.
What If You Have an Abnormal Period?
The sudden termination of the pregnancy can confuse your body, and it may take some time to get rid of the pregnancy hormones and come back to its regular cycle. The presence of pregnancy hormones in the body can bring about certain changes or delays in the menstruation cycle or cause irregular periods after abortion.
During the first period after your abortion, heavy or light bleeding may occur depending on the type of abortion you have had, accompanied by blood clots and cramping. It is the body’s way of ejecting all the remaining tissues and products of pregnancy. You may experience this for the next few menstruation cycles.
Medication for Menstrual Cramping
Your doctor may suggest over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen for mild menstrual cramping. Taking these medicines as soon as cramping or bleeding starts may prove to be useful. Putting a hot bottle wrapped in a towel or a heating pad on your lower back or stomach may bring relief from the pain. You can also try propping up your feet or consider taking birth control pills, but do so only after consulting the doctor.
Tips for Self-care Post Abortion
Abortion can take a toll on a woman, both physically and mentally. Therefore, it is vital to take care of one’s health after an abortion for complete recovery. Some helpful tips are listed below:
- Take adequate rest and maintain a healthy diet.
- Turn to your family and friends for emotional support o to deal with the situation.
- Avoid unprotected intercourse with your partner.
- Ensure regular check-ups and follow-up care with your doctor.
- Avoid lifting of heavy objects.
- Do not indulge in heavy exercise for a while.
When to Call Your Doctor?
It is advisable to contact your doctor if you happen to experience excessive bleeding – soaking up to two pads or more in an hour – or large blood clots along with painful cramping. In case you pass tissues with painful cramping, experience foul-smelling vaginal discharge or run high temperatures, you might require medical intervention. Some women may experience late periods after having an abortion. However, if there is no sign of periods post abortion, it may be a cause for concern. Also, recovery bleeding post yourabortion that goes up to 8 weeks or more will need medical attention. It can also happen that some women may get their first period but skip their second period after the abortion. In that case, they may want to get a pregnancy test done or consult a doctor.
It is normal to experience some deviations while menstruating after an abortion. Nevertheless, in case of any doubt, it is always advisable to consult a doctor for necessary guidance and timely treatment. Not worrying unnecessarily and remaining stress-free along with taking good rest and eating healthy will go a long way in helping your body to recover from the trauma of abortion.