After your abortion, a healing process takes place and your body will return to normal over two to three weeks. During that time, please take good care of yourself and report any concerns promptly. Although it's best to call during office hours if you need help, we do have someone on call 24 hours. The sooner a problem is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it is to cause serious complications.
We ask that you call us two weeks after your surgical abortion to make a follow-up appointment.
Please consider taking advantage of the online after-abortion talkline called "Connect and Breathe." Their mission is as follows: "We listen. We affirm women's lives and decisions. We provide an unbiased talk line for women and their loved ones after an abortion."
Contact information: 1-866-647-1764 or www.connectandbreathe.org
Connect and Breathe Call Center Hours:
- Tues. 6:00pm-9:00pm EST
- Thurs.6:00pm-9:00pm EST
- Sat. 10:00am-2:00pm EST
Click any of the options below for more specific information:
What symptoms can I expect as I heal?
Although most have few or no symptoms, you may experience some of the following:
- Bleeding and clots. Most will experience light to heavy bleeding for one or more days following an abortion. Some have no bleeding at all, some will bleed for a number of days, and some have spotting or light bleeding for several weeks. Due to hormone changes, you may experience sudden, heavy bleeding in about three to five days after a surgical abortion, along with heavy cramping and passing of clots. This "hormonal bleed" is normal and will generally let up within six to eight hours. Call if bleeding is excessive.
- Cramping. Cramping occurs because, after an abortion, the uterus contracts to return to its normal size and to expel any blood clots or tissue left inside. You may experience mild to heavy cramping at any time over the following week, especially if you are passing large blood clots. Ibuprofen (Advil), rest, and a heating pad will usually provide adequate relief.
- Diminishing pregnancy symptoms. These should begin to go away within a few days. Nausea is usually better within two days; breast tenderness may take a week or more to go away.
- Emotional changes. As the pregnancy hormones gradually leave your body, you may experience some mood changes such as mild depression, sadness or irritability over the next two weeks. Severe or long-lasting emotional effects are rare, especially for those who feel certain of their decision and have the support of significant others in their lives.
What should I do to take care of myself after the abortion?
Just follow the simple instructions you were sent home with:
- Take the entire course of antibiotics we send home with you, even if you are feeling well.
- Take your temperature by mouth morning and evening for the next five days.
- Do not put anything into your vagina for the next seven days, e.g., no sexual intercourse, douching, or tampons. Regular tub baths are okay, although whirlpool baths and hot tubs are not advisable.
- Avoid strenuous activity if possible for one week. Exercise and heavy lifting can increase bleeding and cramps and slow your healing.
What danger signs should I be aware of?
Be aware of the following potential danger signs, and if you experience them, call the Health Center.
- Fever. If your temperature is 100 degrees or more, wait four hours and take it again. If it is still 1000 or higher, call the Health Center.
- Excessive bleeding. If you are soaking two maxi-pads per hour for two hours or more call the Health Center.
- Persistent clots. It is normal to pass some clots after the abortion procedure, sometimes even large ones. However, if you seem to be passing nothing but clots for six hours, call the Health Center.
- Persistent severe pain. If you still have severe pain after taking ibuprofen or Aleve, resting, and using your heating pad, call the Health Center.
- Continuing pregnancy symptoms. If you have pregnancy symptoms after a week-- aside from slight continuing breast tenderness -- call the Health Center.
- No menstrual period. You can expect to get your period four to six weeks after the abortion. If, after six weeks, you still haven't had your period, call the Health Center.
- Severe emotional distress. You may experience some mild to moderate mood shifts as your hormone levels return to normal. However, if your emotional distress interferes with your daily life or lasts more than a week after the abortion, call the Health Center.
What information should I have ready if I need to call the Health Center?
You should have the following information ready if you need to call the Health Center:
- Your temperature, taken within the last hour
- The number of pads you have soaked in the past two hours
- The approximate size of any clots you have passed
- The time of your last dose of pain medication
- The telephone number of a pharmacy that is open when you call us
- A phone number where we can call you back
You can reach us in the office, (603) 225-2739, 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM Mondays and 8:30-4:30 Tuesday through Friday. Please call during office hours if possible, as it is easier for us to help you.
After hours, you can reach our answering service at 1-866-494-6365. The answering service will take your name and number and someone from our staff will get back to you.
Can I go to another health care provider for my check-up?
We advise calling CFHC first, since we are familiar with what is normal following an abortion. If you need treatment, we make every effort to provide you with that treatment at CFHC during regular business hours at no additional charge. However, circumstances may require that you be seen elsewhere at your own expense.
What happens at the follow-up appointment?
To confirm the success of your abortion, we give you a non-sensitive pregnancy test that will only come up positive if you're really pregnant. If you take a home pregnancy test it may come up positive for up to six weeks following the abortion, because home tests are so sensitive that they pick up the last remaining bit of pregnancy hormone in your system.
You should also return to the Health Center for a follow-up physical exam if you are experiencing any abnormal symptoms.
What does the follow-up visit cost?
There is no charge; it is covered in the initial cost of your abortion.
When should I call to make a follow-up appointment?
We ask that you call us two weeks after your surgical abortion to let us know how you are feeling and discuss follow-up options.
If you would like post-abortion counseling at your follow-up visit, we will schedule it when you call to make your appointment.
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