Just as every woman’s body is unique, so is her abortion experience. All abortions involve bleeding and cramping, but experts say the amount of bleeding varies from person to person. How far along you were in your pregnancy and the type of abortion procedure make a difference.

Knowing what to expect after an abortion is critical. You need to recognize negative symptoms if they should happen.

Symptoms After a Medical Abortion

Medical abortion is also known as the abortion pill, medication, or chemical abortion. You take two drugs to terminate a pregnancy. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, a pregnancy cannot survive.

Misoprostol, the second drug, causes contractions to expel the pregnancy from your body through the vagina. Usually, bleeding doesn’t begin until after taking the second drug. How far along you are in your pregnancy may affect the amount of bleeding.

The drugs cause abdominal cramping, which may require some form of pain relief. The Mayo Clinic states you may also experience diarrhea, headaches, chills, nausea, and vomiting as you go through the abortion, which may continue for a while after.

Symptoms After Surgical Abortion

Early surgical abortions use vacuum or suction aspiration. Later surgical procedures may require surgical instruments such as a sharp scraping tool or forceps to remove larger parts.

You will experience cramping and bleeding afterward, although typically not as much as a medical abortion. Because surgical abortion usually requires dilation (opening) of your cervix and either general or local anesthesia, you may experience nausea and vomiting.

The abortion provider may suggest taking ibuprofen for cramping.

Preventing Infection

One of the risks of both medical and surgical abortion is an infection. Do not use tampons after an abortion or engage in sexual activity for at least a week afterward.

Signs of complications include the following:

  • Heavy bleeding – soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

You May Have Emotional as well as Physical Symptoms

Abortion is a serious medical decision with possible physical and emotional consequences. Be aware that you may have a mix of emotions. A study published by the National Institute of Health noted that some women who have abortions have a higher rate of mental illness than women who have never had one.

If you are feeling overwhelmed emotionally, talk with your healthcare provider. Your feelings matter.

How Can Southwest Options for Women Help Me?

Although we do not provide or refer for abortion, we do offer fact-based information on abortion procedures, side effects, and potential risks. In addition, before any abortion, you should confirm your pregnancy.

Confirmation involves knowing if your pregnancy is growing or if you have had a miscarriage (26% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage). An ultrasound exam can determine if you’ve miscarried, the pregnancy’s location, and how far along you are.

We offer free, limited obstetrical ultrasound examinations. Contact us to find out how you can receive one. Use our online contact form or call (952) 938-4496. We’re here to help you.