Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

What to Expect after an Abortion

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 15: Abortion and Complications from Abortion > What to Expect after an Abortion


Normal monthly bleeding should start about 4 to 6 weeks after an abortion. But you can become pregnant again after 11 days.

After an abortion, signs of pregnancy, like nausea and sore breasts, should disappear within a day. If they do not, you could still be pregnant, either in your womb or in one of your tubes (ectopic pregnancy). This is an emergency. See a health worker right away.

You may feel a little tired and have some cramps or pains for a day after the abortion. You will have some bleeding from the vagina for as long as 2 weeks. But after the first day it should be no more than a light monthly bleeding. Your next normal monthly bleeding should start about 4 to 6 weeks after an abortion. It might take longer if you were more than 5 to 6 months pregnant.

If you had no one to talk to before the abortion, it may help to talk to someone now. Talking about your feelings with someone you trust can make you feel better.

How to care for yourself after an abortion:
  • To prevent infection, take 100 mg of doxycycline 2 times a day on the day of the abortion. (But if you are breastfeeding, it is better to take 500 mg of erythromycin 4 times a day for 7 days instead.)
a health worker showing a man and woman some family planning methods
After an abortion, start family planning right away. You can get pregnant again before your next monthly bleeding.
  • Do not have sex or put anything into your vagina for at least 2 days after bleeding stops.
  • If you have cramps or pains, rest and use a hot water bottle on your abdomen. Or take paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • To lessen pain and bleeding, rub or massage your lower abdomen often. This helps the womb to squeeze down to normal size and lessen bleeding.
  • Drink plenty of liquids to help you recover faster.
  • You can go back to your usual activities as soon as you feel well, usually within a day.


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