The physical side effects after an abortion will vary from woman to woman. There are potential side effects and risks that you should be aware of. It is important to talk to a health professional as well as the doctor who will perform your abortion about possible side effects. Your period should return about 4 – 6 weeks after the abortion and you can get pregnant again soon after the abortion. If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics, it is important to take them as directed in order to help prevent infection.
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Anticipated physical side effects following an abortion:
The following is a list of side effects that are frequently experienced after an abortion. It is possible to experience these side effects for as long as 2 to 4 weeks following the procedure.
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Spotting and Bleeding
Potential, more serious complications following an abortion.
Although serious complications occur in fewer than 1 out of 100 first trimester abortions and approximately 1 out of every 50 late term abortions, it is important to be aware of the following risks:
- Heavy or persistent bleeding
- Infection or sepsis
- Damage to the cervix
- Scarring of the uterine lining
- Perforation of the uterus
- Damage to other organs
It is important to understand that these risks are rare and that some of these risks are associated with child birth. What matters is that you are aware that these risks exist as you strive to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.
Abortion Physical Side Effects: Call Your Doctor
If you have had an abortion, call your doctor and seek medical attention if your side effects become severe or if you experience any of the following:
- Severe abdominal and back pain that prohibits you from standing up
- Bleeding that is heavier than a normal menstrual period
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Fever above 100.4 F
- Continuing symptoms of pregnancy
Compiled using information from the following sources:
MedlinePlus [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [updated 2006 Feb 24]. Abortion; [updated 2006 Feb 21; reviewed 2006 Feb 21; cited 2006 Feb 24]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/abortion.html
Current Obstetric & Gynecologic Diagnosis & Treatment-Ninth Ed. DeCherney, Alan H., et al, Ch. 33.