Care for Yourself After an Abortion (PDF version)
What You May Experience
Bleeding may vary from a few
days of spotting to a few weeks of
moderate flow. Some women do not bleed
at all. Also, it is not unusual to stop
bleeding and then begin again. Often,
48-72 hours after the abortion, there is
a hormonal shift that may “suddenly”
cause cramping, bleeding and clots. This
can be normal.
Cramping may feel similar to menstrual
cramps, and may stop and start depending
on your activity level. You can take up
to 800mg of Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil,
Nuprin) every 6-8 hours. This dosage
should be decreased as soon as the
cramping decreases. Do NOT take aspirin.
You can perform uterine massage to help
your uterus contract and to slow any
bleeding. To do this, push down as hard
as you can above your pubic bone while
sitting on the toilet. You may notice
that you pass clots as you are doing
this. That is normal. Keep in mind that
the water will make the clots appear
larger. You may wish to use a heating
pad or hot water bottle on your abdomen
to relieve discomfort. Lying down and
elevating your feet can also help
Small blood clots are normal to pass and
are not a problem unless you also have a
fever above 100.5 F or severe cramping.
Emotions may be strong from the
hormonal changes and are considered
normal. It may help to talk with a close
friend or family member. Click
here for a list of supportive resources.
Pregnancy symptoms such as nausea
usually decrease in two days. Other
symptoms should be gone in 1-2 weeks.
Breast tenderness is normal for up to
two weeks following an abortion. It is
very important that you do not stimulate
your breasts at all. Do not sleep on
your stomach, let water hit them in the
shower, squeeze the nipples, etc. You
may apply ice to decrease the swelling:
20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off.
Menstrual period: your next period will
start anywhere from 4-8 weeks from the
date of your abortion, and it may be
different than usual (heavier, lighter,
longer, shorter, etc.).
Please call Aradia Women's Health Center if you have:
- Heavy, persistent bleeding - soaking through a pad an hour for three hours in a row.
- Unusually severe cramping, where you are doubled over in pain.
- Passing large blood clots - walnut or golf-ball in size.
- Bad smelling vaginal discharge.
- Fever of 100.5° F or more.
- Continued symptoms of pregnancy after two weeks
Call us during our
office hours at 206-323-9388. If you have a medical emergency when Aradia is closed (after hours or weekends) call 206-726-2632.
|-Use pads and change them often to keep harmful bacteria from growing on the pad.
-Rest often, especially during the first 48 hours, to give your body time to begin healing.
-Finish taking the full course of prescribed antibiotics.
-Monitor your temperature and bleeding. Take your temperature twice a day for one full week following the abortion.
-Call the clinic if any unusual symptoms develop or if you have any questions.
-Return to the clinic if you are
experiencing any problems. A
follow-up appointment is included in
|-Put anything in your vagina for three weeks after your abortion. It is very important to keep bacteria out of the vagina and uterus in order to avoid infection. This includes tampons, vaginal intercourse, douching, baths, swimming and hot-tubbing. You may take showers or stand in the tub to wash down.
-Engage in any strenuous exercise or
heavy lifting for two weeks.
Strenuous activities (including
being on your feet a lot or walking
long distances) may cause heavier
bleeding and cramping.
-Take aspirin, drink alcohol or
smoke marijuana for three weeks.
These blood thinners and muscle
relaxants may cause heavier
It is easily possible to become
pregnant immediately following an
abortion and before your next period.
Plan to have a
contraceptive method to
use. Remember, you should not have
vaginal intercourse for three weeks
after the abortion in order to prevent
If you plan to use birth control pills
for contraception you should begin
taking them the first Sunday after the
abortion, whether or not you are still
bleeding. Remember that they will not
protect you from pregnancy during the
entire first cycle, and they do not
protect against sexually transmitted
Aradia provides birth control. You may
be eligible for FREE birth control. Schedule an
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