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What to expect after Medical Abortion
What to expect after Medical Abortion
How will I feel after taking the abortion pill?
How you feel during and after a medication abortion varies from person to person. On the day you take your second medicine, plan on resting and being in a comfortable place. You may feel tired for 1 or 2 days after, but you should be back to normal soon.
You can go back to work, school, driving, and most other normal activities the next day if you feel up to it. But DON’T do hard work or heavy exercise for several days. You should start to feel better as the days go by, but call your doctor or health center if you still feel ill.
After your abortion is complete, cramping and bleeding should lighten up as the hours and days go by. You may also have tender breasts, and they may leak a milky discharge. That should stop in a couple of days. Wearing a snug-fitting bra will help you feel more comfortable.
Any chills, fevers, or nausea you have should go away pretty quickly. Call your doctor or health center right away if you have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol (the second set of pills). It could be a sign of an infection.
Your doctor or health care center staff will give you written after-care instructions, and a phone number you can call with any questions about abortion pill side effects or any other concerns. Follow all of your doctor’s directions during and after your abortion.
It’s important to have a follow-up visit or phone call with your nurse or doctor to make sure that your abortion is complete and that you’re healthy.
People can have a range of emotions after having an abortion. Most people feel relief, but sometimes people feel sad or regretful. This is totally normal. If your mood keeps you from doing the things you usually do each day, call your doctor or nurse for help. You can also call Exhale or All-Options for free, confidential, and non-judgmental emotional support after an abortion — no matter how you’re feeling.
How will the abortion pill affect my periods?
It’s normal to bleed and spot off and on for several weeks after your abortion. You can use pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup — whatever's the most comfortable for you. But your nurse or doctor may recommend you use pads for a few days after the abortion so you can track how much you're bleeding.
Abortion starts a new menstrual cycle, so your period should go back to normal 4-8 weeks after your abortion.
How soon can I have sex after a medication abortion?
You can have sex as soon as you feel ready.
When can I start using birth control after my medication abortion?
You can start a new birth control method immediately after having a medication abortion. You can get pregnant very quickly after your abortion, so it’s a good idea to talk with your nurse or doctor about birth control as soon as you can — they can help you find a method that’s right for you.
Can I breastfeed if I take the abortion pill?
The medicines in the abortion pill can sometimes pass into breast milk. But it's usually in small amounts that shouldn’t affect a baby. You can talk with your nurse or doctor if you’re breastfeeding, and they’ll help you figure out what’s best for you and your baby.
What are the possible risks of taking the abortion pill?
Medication abortion has been used safely in the U.S. for more than 15 years. Serious complications are really rare, but can happen. These include:
- the abortion pills don’t work and the pregnancy doesn’t end
- some of the pregnancy tissue is left in your uterus
- blood clots in your uterus
- bleeding too much or too long
- allergic reaction to one of the medicines
These problems aren’t common. And if they do happen, they’re usually easy to take care of with medication or other treatments.
In extremely rare cases, some complications can be very serious or even life threatening. Call your doctor or health center right away if you:
- have no bleeding within 24 hours after taking the second medicine (misoprostol)
- have heavy bleeding from your vagina that soaks through more than 2 maxi pads in an hour, for 2 or more hours in a row
- pass large clots (bigger than a lemon) for more than 2 hours
- have belly pain or cramps that don’t get better with pain medication
- have a fever of 100.4 or higher more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol
- have weakness, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol
You should start to feel better the day after your abortion. Feeling sick with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, belly pain, or a fever for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol (the second set of pills) can be a sign of infection. Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of those symptoms. Serious problems can cause death in the most rare cases, but abortion is typically very safe. In fact, pregnancy and childbirth is riskier than most abortions.
If you have complications during your medication abortion, you may have to go back to the doctor’s office or health center. In the unlikely event that you are still pregnant, your doctor or nurse will discuss your options with you. You may need another dose of medication or to have an in-clinic abortion to end the pregnancy.
Like all medications, the abortion pill isn’t right for everyone. The abortion pill may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or take certain medications. Your doctor or nurse will talk with you and help you decide if the abortion pill is the right option for you.
Does the abortion pill have long-term side effects?
The abortion pill is really safe and effective. It’s a super common way to have an abortion, and millions of people have used it safely.
Unless there’s a rare and serious complication that’s not treated, there’s no risk to your future pregnancies or to your overall health. Having an abortion doesn’t increase your risk for breast cancer or affect your fertility. It doesn’t cause problems for future pregnancies like birth defects, premature birth or low birth weight, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or infant death.
Serious, long-term emotional problems after an abortion are rare, and about as uncommon as they are after giving birth. They are more likely to happen in people who have to end a pregnancy because of health reasons, people who do not have support around their decision to have an abortion, or people who have a history of mental health problems. Most people feel relief after an abortion.
There are many myths out there about the effects of abortion. Your nurse or doctor can give you accurate information about abortion pill side effects or any other concerns you may have.
How much does the abortion pill cost?
The abortion pill can cost up to around $1000, but is often less. The cost of a medication abortion varies and depends on where you get it and whether or not you have health insurance that will cover some or all of the cost.
Your abortion may be free or low cost with health insurance, but some insurance plans don’t cover abortions. You can call your insurance provider directly to find out their policies.
Some government health insurance plans in certain states (like Medicaid) cover abortion, but others do not. And some plans only cover abortion in certain cases. Your local Planned Parenthood health center can give you more information about coverage in your state, or other funds that can help you pay for your abortion. The professionals at Planned Parenthood work to give you the services you need, whether or not you have insurance. Many charge less for services depending on your income. If you’re worried about cost,