What to Expect after an Abor tion 249
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, see page 73). 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.
➤ Normal monthly
bleeding should start
about 4 to 6 weeks
after an abortion.
But you can become
pregnant again after
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 take 500 mg of erythromycin 4 times a day for
7 days instead.)
• 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 (see page 482).
• To lessen pain and bleeding, rub or massage your
lower abdomen often. This helps the womb
to squeeze down to normal size and lessen
• Drink plenty of liquids to help you
• You can go back to your usual activities as soon
as you feel well, usually within a day.
After an abortion, start family planning
right away. You can get pregnant again
before your next monthly bleeding.
If you have any of these signs, get medical help fast:
• Heavy bleeding from the vagina (see page 251)
• High fever (see ‘Infection’, page 255)
• Severe pain in the abdomen (see ‘Internal Injury’, page 258, and ‘Infection’, page 255)
• Fainting and confusion (see ‘Shock’, page 254)
• Bad-smelling discharge from the vagina (see ‘Infection’, page 255)
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012