8 Things That Happen To Your Body After Having An Abortion

Abortion is one of the most controversial and sensitive topics out there. By definition, it sounds like a big scary thing, especially if you’ve never had one. It’s one of those topics that is almost certain to start a heated debate if brought up, which most people don’t bother doing, because that’s also considered rude or crass. A lot of the fear people have abortions comes from ignorance – like not knowing exactly what is is or what happens afterwards. We know about the various methods and where to go, but what happens to someone’s body after getting an abortion? A lack of discussion can keep a lot of people uninformed.

For example, did you know there is a recovery process from some abortions that can last up to two weeks? We forget that this can be a major medical procedure and should be handled as such. And listen, before you get furious, this isn’t an article that is meant to convince anyone to get an abortion – that is your choice, and your choice only. But I do think it’s important for you to be aware of what could happen and what to expect if you did choose to get an abortion. It’s part of the decision-making process! Knowledge is power, and leaves us free to make our own decisions about our bodies. So, here are a few things that happen after having an abortion:

You Can't Have Sex, Swim, Take A Bath, Or Use A Tampon For Two Weeks

If you've had a surgical abortion, you can't have sex, you can't submerge your body in water, and you can't put anything in your vag for a few weeks. Your cervix was just opened and might stay open for up to two weeks later. This means your normal line of defense against infection is no longer as protective as it normally is. It's important that you do everything you can to prevent infection or causing damage to yourself while your body undergoes a lot of change. You want the fetal tissue to come out, not stay in, so anything that can shove it back up or introduce new chemicals or bacteria, even if it's jus water, is a no-go.

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Bleeding For One To Two Weeks

In the event of a medical abortion, your uterine lining is going to come out in larger clots than normal. This is fine! You want them to come out of your body, so use pads even if you hate them. Bleeding after an abortion is normal, but should definitely stop after two weeks. To be clear, because I know this is a question you might have, no, you won't see the fetus come out of your vagina, because if it's early term, it's a clump of cells. The whole tiny bloody baby arm in a toilet image that's plaguing your mind comes from anti-abortion propaganda. It's not real.

Source: iStock

Your Milk Might Let Down

This has to be one of the rudest, harshest side effects I've ever heard of. If you had an abortion after nine weeks into your pregnancy, you may notice some milky discharge from your nipples post-abortion. Your body let your hormones know that a pregnancy has just ended, so you might start lactating. Your milk might even let down, which sucks and can feel sore or super triggering, considering you just had an abortion. Don't pump it out. It's recommended that you wear a tight fitting bra around the clock until your milk dries up.

Source: iStock

Your Pregnancy Hormones Might Make You Feel Awful

Your pregnancy hormones don't go away immediately when you terminate a pregnancy. They're working their way out of your body, so ride it out. That being said, while the most common feeling after an abortion is relief, it's also perfectly normal to feel depressed either due to the circumstances or because of your hormones. You may also be dealing with nausea, crying constantly, and your hormones may still be present to the point where you continue to get positive results on a pregnancy test. Your body's just doing what it needs to do in order to adjust, however much it might suck. It will pass.

Source: iStock

Abdominal Discomfort And Menstrual Cramping

You just had an out-patient surgical procedure dealing with your uterus. Of course you're going to feel uncomfortable. There could be cramping in your uterus and the general abdominal discomfort from local anesthetic and surgical trauma. It's said that these cramps shouldn't feel worse than very bad PMS. So, take a Motrin and grab a heating pad, like you normally would. But, if the pain is extreme, you should go back and see a doctor. Something may be wrong.

Source: iStock

Constipation Due To Blood Loss

To state the obvious, abortion may cause blood loss during the procedure and afterwards. So, your doctor may prescribe iron supplements to maintain your iron levels after losing more blood than you're used to. Iron supplements are known to cause constipation. Since you're already cramping around that area, this won't feel good. You can stay hydrated as best you can and eat high fiber food to make this easier if you know you're prone to constipation anyway.

Source: iStock

Your Doctor May Prescribe Antibiotics

Take them! All of them, for the prescribed period of time. Your cervix was just opened and won't close all the way for two weeks. It's important to take these antibiotics so that you don't have a bacterial infection in your uterus. I know a lot of us get lazy about antibiotics, especially when we start to feel better, but trust me, especially when it comes to post-abortion care - TAKE ALL OF YOUR ANTIBIOTICS.

Source: iStock

A Two-Week Check Up Should Be Scheduled

A two week follow up appointment is important so that your doctor can make sure that all the fetal tissue is out of your uterus, that your cervix has gone back to normal, and that there's no present infection. It sounds easy enough, but a lot of people feel like they can't go back to the clinic where they had the abortion for emotional or logistical reasons.

In that case, it's best to see your regular gynecologist. They might not want to see you if you tell them that you've had an abortion for fear of malpractice in case they tamper with another doctor's "work." However, you can fake an emergency or call another doctor on your insurance plan and again, fake an emergency where you need to see them immediately within that two week window. I know it sounds sketchy, but since reproductive care is constantly under fire, it's unfortunately the state of the world right now. However you're feeling, it's important to not skip this appointment as it's extremely necessary.

Source: iStock

How do you feel about abortion? Was this helpful to know? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.


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