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Abortion - surgical - aftercare
You have had a surgical abortion. This is a procedure that ends pregnancy by removing the fetus and placenta from your womb (uterus).
What to Expect
You will likely recover without problems. It may take a few days to feel well.
You may have cramps that feel like menstrual cramps for a few days.
Your normal period will likely return in 4 to 6 weeks.
It is normal to feel sad or depressed after this procedure. Seek help from your health care provider or a counselor if these feelings do not go away. A family member or friend can also provide comfort.
To relieve discomfort or pain in your abdomen:
- Take a warm bath.
- Apply a heating pad to your lower abdomen or place a hot water bottle filled with warm water on your abdomen.
- Take over-the-counter painkillers as instructed.
Follow these activity guidelines after your procedure:
- Rest as needed.
- DO NOT do any strenuous activity the first few days. This includes not lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds (about the weight of a 1-gallon milk jug).
- Also, DO NOT do any aerobic activity, including running or working out. Light housework is fine.
Other things to help speed your recovery include:
- Use pads to absorb bleeding and drainage from your vagina. Change the pads every 2 to 4 hours to avoid infection.
- DO NOT use tampons or put anything in your vagina, including douching.
- DO NOT have vaginal intercourse for 2 to 3 weeks, or until cleared by your health care provider.
- Take any other medicine, such as an antibiotic, as instructed.
- Begin using birth control right after your procedure. It is possible to get pregnant again even before your normal period resumes. Birth control can help prevent unplanned pregnancies. Be aware though, unplanned pregnancies can occur even when you use birth control.
Contact Your Health Care Provider If:
- You have vaginal bleeding that increases or you need to change your pads more often than every 2 to 4 hours.
- You have continued pain or pregnancy symptoms.
- You have signs of infection, including fever that does not go away, vaginal drainage with a foul odor, vaginal drainage that looks like pus, or pain or tenderness in your abdomen.
Jensen JT, Mishell Jr. DR. Family planning: contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy termination. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 13.
Reviewed By: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.