You may have cramping, bleeding, and spotting after your abortion. You’ll want to rest for a while, but most people are back to their usual activities the next day.

What happens after my abortion?

Right after your abortion, you’ll rest in a recovery room for up to around an hour. If you had any kind of sedation, you can’t drive or leave by yourself, so bring someone to help you get home safely. Plan on taking it easy for the rest of the day.

You can go back to work, school, driving, and most other normal activities the next day if you feel up to it. But DON’T do hard work or heavy exercise for several days. You can have sex as soon as you feel ready.

It’s normal to have some bleeding after your abortion. Use pads until your heavy bleeding lets up. After that, it’s OK if you want to use tampons.  You may have spotting for several weeks. And some people don’t bleed at all. All of this is normal.

You’ll get written information about what to expect and how to take care of yourself after your abortion. You’ll get a phone number you can call with any questions or concerns -- we’re here to help 24/7 after your abortion.

It’s important to take all of your antibiotics, no matter how you feel. Your doctor or nurse may want you to come back for a follow-up appointment in 2-4 weeks.

Most people don’t have any problems after their abortion, and recovery is usually quick and easy. But call your doctor right away if you:

  • soak 2 maxi pads per hour for 2 hours

  • have belly pain or cramps that don’t get better with pain medication

  • have a fever of 100.4° F or higher

How will I feel after my abortion?

It varies from person to person. You’ll probably have some bleeding and cramping after your abortion, so plan on resting in a comfortable place afterwards.

Most people are back to their regular activities within a day, but recovery after a D&E can take a little longer. You can take pain medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). You can also put a heating pad or hot water bottle on your belly or have someone rub your back. If you’re not feeling well after a couple of days, call your doctor or nurse.

You may have a range of emotions after having an abortion. Most people feel relief, but sometimes people feel sad or regretful. This is totally normal. If your mood keeps you from doing the things you usually do each day, call your doctor or nurse for help. You can also call Exhale or Backline for free, confidential, and non-judgmental emotional support after an abortion — no matter how you’re feeling.

How will my abortion affect my periods?

Abortion starts a new menstrual cycle, so your period should go back to normal 4-8 weeks after your abortion. When your next period will come depends on the birth control method you use.

If you’re not on birth control, you should have a period by 8 weeks after your abortion. If you’re not using birth control and you don’t get your period 8 weeks after your abortion, call your doctor or health center.

You may have some bleeding right after your abortion that’s different than your period. You could have heavy bleeding with clots for a few days, or spotting for several weeks. Use pads until the heavy bleeding lets up. This way it will be easier to tell how much you’re bleeding with a pad than a tampon. Wait at least a week before using tampons or cups. If you’re concerned about bleeding after your abortion, give your nurse or doctor a call.

How soon can I have sex after an in-clinic abortion?

You can have sex as soon as you feel ready. 

When can I start using birth control after my abortion?

You can get pregnant right after your abortion, so it’s a good idea to talk with your nurse or doctor about birth control as soon as you can — they can help you find a method that’s right for you. You can start using birth control immediately after having an abortion.

Some doctors, abortion clinics, and Planned Parenthood health centers can put an IUD in your uterus right after your abortion, during the same procedure. This is really convenient because you’ll get super effective birth control without having to go to a separate appointment. Ask about getting an IUD at the same time as your abortion when you call to make your appointment.

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