Abortion is extremely effective. In-clinic abortions work more than 99 out of 100 times. Needing to get another procedure because the abortion didn’t work is really rare.
Abortion pills are also very effective at ending early pregnancies — you can use abortion pills for up to 77 days (11 weeks) after the first day of your last period. They work 87-99 out of 100 times, depending on how far along your pregnancy is and how much medicine you take. Abortion pills usually work, but if they don’t you may need to take more medicine or have an in-clinic abortion to complete the abortion.
If you get your abortion pills from a health care provider like Planned Parenthood, they may give you a special, extra-sensitive pregnancy test to use later to make sure the abortion worked. You may also be able to get an ultrasound or blood test to confirm that the abortion worked. If you had an in-clinic abortion, they will check to make sure the abortion was complete. If they see something that makes them think it wasn’t, they may have you do follow-up tests to make sure. Your nurse or doctor will talk you through everything you need to know.
Remember that if you have any concerns about your health, including any symptoms you’re experiencing during or after an abortion, your local Planned Parenthood is available to help you, even if we didn’t provide your abortion.
Regular pregnancy tests that you get at the store and some health centers may give you a false positive result for up to 5 weeks after your abortion — that’s because you may still have some pregnancy hormones left in your body that the test can pick up. But it doesn’t mean you’re pregnant. However, it IS possible to get pregnant very soon after an abortion, even if pregnancy tests are coming up positive or your period hasn’t started yet. So if you’ve had sex without using birth control since having an abortion, a positive pregnancy test could mean that you’re pregnant again.
The signs of pregnancy after an abortion are pretty much the same as they are any other time:
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Feeling tired
- Peeing more often than usual
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 a Planned Parenthood health center.