The risk of complications after an abortion is rare. However, you can always contact us in case you have further questions or any symptoms.
We perform the procedure carefully to prevent pain or other avoidable risks.
What to keep in mind after the abortion?
The uterus contracts immediately after the abortion. Rarely, this may cause some cramping or pain. You will be given pain treatment if you experience pain.
Women frequently feel cramps or pain in the lower abdomen after taking the 2 tablets of prostaglandin (Cytotec®/Cyprostol®). We therefore recommend that you take a pain treatment together with the prostaglandin, such as:
- (Ibu-)Brufen, 200mg (such as Dismenol®)
- Diclofenac (such as Voltaren®, 50 or 75mg)
We recommend you take a pain treatment without delay if you experience pain.
Usually bleeding after a surgical abortion is less compared to normal menstruation. But it can be irregular. For example, sometimes there is no bleeding at all the first 1-2 days. In a few cases, bleeding is heavier than the first day of menstruation. Sometimes blood coagulates as soon as it arrives in the vagina, which causes blood clots to be expelled. This is not body tissue, but simply blood. However, blood clots coming out of the vagina are a sign of heavy bleeding.
Usually bleeding only starts after taking the prostaglandin Cytotec®/Cyprostol® in medical abortion. However, sometimes bleeding begins before even taking the prostaglandin. In most cases, the bleeding is heavier than the first day of menstruation. This heavy bleeding usually lasts for half a day and diminishes once the gestational sac is expelled. Slight bleeding usually lasts for two weeks.
Sexual intercourse, tampons, swimming, etc
During the first 2 days following the abortion you are advised not to have intercourse, swim, or use tampons, because there is a risk of infection. There is no evidence of an increased risk of infection for any of these activities later than 2 days after the abortion.
You can take a shower at any time.
We take a vaginal smear prior to any surgical abortion. If we find signs of infection, we prescribe antibiotics. But we do not prescribe antibiotics routinely if there is no indication for its need.
In medical abortion there is no increased risk of infection, so we do not prescribe antibiotics.
Infection is very rare after an abortion. However, an infection can lead to fever within 2-3 days after the abortion. Please contact us as soon as possible if you experience fever.
Symptoms of pregnancy: nausea, breast tenderness
Usually nausea caused by the pregnancy disappears within a day after the abortion. But breast tenderness can remain for up to 3 weeks in some women.
It can take your body up to 4 weeks to eliminate the pregnancy hormone hCG. Standard pregnancy tests done with urine are very sensitive and can continue to give a positive result up to the next menstruation, even after a successful abortion.
Only an ultrasound examination can provide an immediate and reliable confirmation of a successful abortion. The ultrasound should ideally be done immediately after a surgical abortion or 1-3 weeks after medical abortion.
A surgical abortion in the first 3 months of pregnancy is one of the safest and fastest surgical procedures. The drugs used for general anaesthesia are very well-tolerated. Therefore, women recover very quickly after a surgical abortion and a sick leave is usually not necessary.
Frequently there is heavy bleeding for a few hours after taking the prostaglandin Cytotec®/ Cyprostol®. We recommend that women not work during that time.
Heavy physical work
For most women the physical burden is comparable to a menstruation. This means you can do any work that you normally do during a typical menstruation.
We perform an ultrasound examination immediately after every surgical abortion to be sure the uterine cavity is truly empty. However, it may be useful to visit your gynaecologist after a few weeks to discuss your contraception.
It is important for you to have a follow-up visit 1-3 weeks after the abortion to verify the expulsion of the pregnancy.
Your body starts a new cycle immediately after the abortion. Consequently, most women will have an ovulation 2-3 weeks after the abortion and the next menstruation in 4-5 weeks. After a medical abortion, the next menstruation may be a bit heavier than a normal menstruation.
Psychological well-being after an abortion
For most women, the time before the abortion is very stressful and they feel relieved once the abortion is done.
Very few women have chronic psychological problems after an abortion or because of an abortion. However the following is crucial for women’s well-being:
- You should be well-informed before undergoing an abortion.
- You should understand and make the decision yourself.
- Your private environment should be supportive and accepting of your decision.
- The abortion should be performed in a patient-centred, empathetic environment, using state-of-the-art medical treatment
Most women feel relieved after an abortion. However, it is absolutely normal and not a contradiction that many women feel sad from time to time, just as in any other crisis situation.
Fertility - contraception
The current pregnancy confirms you are fertile, as a woman and as a couple. An abortion without complications has no negative impact on your fertility. Consequently, your next ovulation will occur around 2 weeks after the abortion. You can get pregnant again immediately if you do not use a reliable contraception. Therefore, you should start birth control immediately after the surgical abortion, including any hormonal contraception like the Pill, vaginal ring, patch, 3-month injection or implant. If you have had a medical abortion, you can start the day following the beginning of the bleeding.
Complications are very rare after an abortion. However, it is important that you contact us as soon as possible if you suspect you are suffering from a complication. You can reach one of our doctors at any time by telephone.