How To Have A Healthy Recovery After An Abortion

 There are few risks associated with having a medical abortion performed by a qualified medical practitioner. However, this does not mean that there are no risks and that complications cannot arise after the procedure.

 It is critical to understand the risks, take the necessary steps to heal and recover and be aware of signs and symptoms that could mean that you may need medical care. There are two important aspects of recovery from an abortion - physical and emotional. 

Taking Care Of Your Physical Needs After An Abortion

No matter which type of abortion has been performed, you should expect similar symptoms. Your doctor may use one of the following abortion methods:

- Vacuum Aspiration
- A D&E or Dilation and Evacuation
- The Abortion Pill

The method that is used is dependent on a number of factors such as the length of the pregnancy, your age and other health and medical factors.

1. Bleeding

Light spotting or bleeding can be expected for up to 4-6 weeks after an abortion. Bleeding may only start 3-5 days or be at its heaviest at this time - similar to that of your period. The blood may be of a darker color or brownish and may contain clots or thickened blood. 

Heavy bleeding may occur in some cases. Heavy bleeding is where a full-sized maxi-pad is soaked in under an hour. If this type of bleeding continues for more than 3 hours, contact your medical practitioner, doctor or seek medical attention as soon as possible. Normal bleeding can continue anywhere from a few days to 6 weeks.

2. Cramping and Pain

Generalized pain and cramping should be expected after and abortion which is similar to that of regular period pain and cramps. This happens as the uterus (womb) contracts in order to return to its pre-pregnancy size. If you had an early first trimester abortion , the cramping will be less severe and should pass quickly. The later the pregnancy, the more severe the cramping will be and the longer it will last.

Cramping may be most severe between the 3rd and 5th day after the procedure. Call your doctor or medical practitioner if severe cramping persists after the 6th day. Your breasts may also be swollen and tender or sore. Call your doctor if you are experiencing severe sharp or stabbing pains.

3. Discharge

A vaginal discharge may be expected and can range anywhere from light brown to black in color and have the consistency of mucus or spit. Call your doctor if the discharge has a foul odor or a pus-like color and consistency. Itching, burning or pain associated with a discharge is another reason to call your doctor.

How To Care For The Physical Side Effects Of Abortion

- It is essential to rest after the procedure has been performed. Even if you feel fine, this does not mean that your body has recovered fully. You should be ready to return to normal activity after a day or two. However, recovery can take up to 5 days or longer if complications have occurred.

- Wear a maxi-pad to absorb the blood and avoid using tampons. Replace the pad as often as necessary and make sure that the genital area is kept clean. 

- If the bleeding or cramping is intense, take 800 mg Ibuprofen after eating and perform deep uterine massage for about 10-15 minutes. Heat packs or a hot water bottle and hot drinks can also help alleviate the pain. It is not recommended to get into a hot bath or shower as this can increase the bleeding.

- Avoid having sexual intercourse or penetrative sex for at least 1-2 weeks.

- Avoid swimming.

- Take medication as prescribed by your doctor. If antibiotics have been prescribed, complete the entire course.

- Take note of your temperature. An increased temperature could indicate a fever which is the result of infection. Call your doctor if you have a high temperature.

- Make sure that you keep your appointment for a checkup with your doctor or medical practitioner.

- Eat well and drink plenty of fluids.

- Contact your doctor if nausea, vomiting or faintness occur in the first few days. 

- If you are still experiencing pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness after two weeks, call your doctor.

Taking Care Of Your Emotional Needs After An Abortion

It is common to experience extreme emotions after an abortion. These could be feelings of elation, sadness, relief or depression. Mood swings are also common where you may feel happy at one moment and be in tears the next. 

There are two reasons for experiencing these emotions. The first is due to pregnancy hormones in the body. The second is a result of the psychological and emotional stress associated with having an abortion. Both can result in extreme or chronic depression.

If the emotional symptoms persist or have a detrimental affect on your ability to resume your normal daily routine or activities, contact your doctor or see a counselor or therapist. Counseling and therapy are important to help you deal and cope with the emotional side effects of an abortion.
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