Deciding to have an abortion is one of the hardest decisions you might ever have to make. And, with the decision to have an abortion also comes both the physical and emotional side effects that follow. Remember, that each woman is different, and so recovery will feel different for everybody. However, if something doesn’t feel right, it’s important to visit your doctor or clinic.
Before we take a look at some of the most common side effects that you may encounter after having the procedure, let’s unpack the two different types of abortions: medical and surgical. Both require an ultrasound to be performed prior to the abortion to make sure that the pregnancy is in your uterus and not is a dangerous place like your fallopian tube, for example.
- Medical Abortion: Also known as the abortion pill, this involves taking two types of tablets to end a pregnancy. It does not require surgery or an anesthetic and can be taken up to 11 weeks gestational age.
- Surgical Abortion: This involves a surgical procedure to remove the pregnancy from the uterus requiring either be conscious sedation or general anesthetic.
Common Physical Side Effects After Having an Abortion
As mentioned above side effects differ from person to person and can depend on a variety of factors. Below are just some of the side effects many women have experienced:
- After having an abortion, you are likely to experience period-type pains, stomach cramps, and bleeding. This should start to improve after a few days but can last for up to 2 weeks or longer.
- Generally, the bleeding is heavier than your normal period. You may also pass some blood clots or tissue vaginally.
- If you have a medical abortion, you may experience various side effects from the medications, such as nausea, severe pelvic cramping, and diarrhea. The practitioner who is administering the medicine should talk you through each of these.
- After a surgical abortion you might not have any bleeding until your next period is due.
- If you undergo general anesthetic or conscious sedation, you may also experience common side effects from these procedures such as nausea and vomiting. Your doctor should discuss these possible symptoms with you.
What Do I Do After an Abortion?
After either procedure, it is important to rest and take care of yourself. If you can, try to take a few days off work or school. For pain and discomfort, you can typeically take ibuprofen and use sanitary pads until the bleeding has stopped. For any abdominal cramps try to ease the discomfort with a hot water bottle or a heated pad.
Something Doesn’t Feel Right, Now What?
As with taking any strong medication or undergoing a medical procedure or surgery, there are risks involved. For example, one long-term risk of having an abortion is an increased risk of getting breast cancer in the future. Regarding immediate risks, if you feel unwell after a few days, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor or visit your clinic again for a follow-up. It is possible that you may have remaining fetal tissue in the uterus or damage to the uterus requiring surgery, or you may have an infection and will need to go on a course of antibiotics. If something does not feel right, look out for the following persistent symptoms:
- Your pain cannot be controlled with over-the-counter painkillers
- Continuous (2 hours or more) heavy bleeding that soaks a new pad each hour
- Abdominal discomfort that is not helped by rest, a hot water bottle, or a heated pad
- A fever or a temperature of 100.5°F (38°C) or higher
- If you’ve had a medical abortion and no bleeding has occurred 24 hours after taking the second medication that you have been given
The Emotional Side of Having an Abortion
As mentioned, deciding to have an abortion can be a very difficult decision, and with it might come a rollercoaster of emotions. Feelings of guilt, sadness, fear, and relief are all normal emotional changes that occur after an abortion. If these feelings persist and you feel as though you are very depressed following the procedure you should talk to your partner and loved ones. If you are still struggling with your emotions, it is a good idea to go and see your healthcare provider or a counselor.
Do you think you might be pregnant and are considering an abortion? Make an appointment at a PRC Naples Free Clinic today. We know that being faced with an unplanned pregnancy can be an extremely difficult time. A free community pregnancy clinic, PRC offers free pregnancy tests and free ultrasounds in Naples, FL, and is here to help you every step of the way. Our highly skilled and trained staff can also chat with you about the various options available to you, as well as offer free counseling pre- and post-pregnancy. Call PRC Clinic today or simply drop by one of our branches.