After an abortion: Here’s how to look after yourself

After an abortion, proper self-care is important for physical and mental health.

According to one estimate, approximately one out of every four women will have an abortion before the age of 45.

Abortion is a relatively risk-free operation when conducted by a medical practitioner. People should, however, be mindful of what to expect physically and mentally later.

Continue reading to learn more about what to expect following an abortion, how to care for yourself, and when to seek medical help.

Gender and sex exist on a spectrum. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to the sex assigned at birth. To learn more, visit here.

Symptoms after an abortion

Symptoms after an abortion

Abortion can come in a variety of forms. A doctor will advise on the best method for a person’s medical needs and pregnancy stage. Abortion comes in a variety of forms, including:

  • the abortion pill
  • vacuum aspiration
  • dilation and evacuation, or D&E

A person’s regular menstrual period should return in 4–8 weeks after the procedure. They may, however, experience irregular spotting or bleeding at first.

In the days and weeks after an abortion, some people experience powerful emotions and mood swings. This can be caused by a sudden change in hormones, as well as a person’s feelings regarding their abortion or pregnancy.

Abortion can be a difficult emotional event, and people may need support from close friends in the days and weeks following the surgery.

When a woman ovulates, she has a chance of becoming pregnant. This might happen before the first menstruation or shortly after an abortion. If a person wants to avoid pregnancy, he or she should utilize contraception or refrain from sex.

Symptoms that commonly occur after an abortion

Regardless of the form of abortion, people may experience symptoms. However, if a woman has an abortion later in her pregnancy, the symptoms may be more severe.

Following an abortion, you should expect to experience the following symptoms:

  • light vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • pain and cramping
  • painful or swollen breasts

How to care for yourself after an abortion

A person may feel exhausted and depleted in the days following an abortion.

Physical care

Pain from cramping — similar to menstrual cramps — is common.

After the procedure, people should be driven home by a friend or family member. They may wish to take the next day or two off work if feasible to ensure that they get enough rest. They should strive to stay away from physically and emotionally challenging activities.

The cervix takes some time to close after an abortion, putting the person at risk of infection. They should avoid the following for two weeks to limit the risk of infection:

  • using tampons
  • having penetrative sex
  • putting anything in the vagina
  • using swimming pools

It is equally important to look after oneself following an abortion. Although the operation is generally fast, physical recovery can take several days or weeks. It is possible to try:

  • massaging the stomach and lower back
  • using a heat pack
  • taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetimenophen (Tylenol)
  • attending follow-up appointments

Emotional support

Making the decision to have an abortion is a difficult one, and it may be an emotionally draining affair.

Hormonal shifts worsen this following the surgery, resulting in mood changes. The levels of progesterone and estrogen in a person’s body gradually drop after an abortion. This can result in poor mood and mood changes.

Hormone levels will normalize once a person’s menstrual cycle returns to normal.

However, some people have continuing emotional issues that should not be overlooked. Abortion is linked to increased risks of depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and other mental health issues.

Additionally, people with a history of mental health issues may be more susceptible to these side effects.

If someone is experiencing mental health people, they should take time from work, talk to family and friends, and see a doctor.

Rrecovery time

The time it takes to heal from an abortion varies from person to person.

If an abortion is performed in the first trimester with no complications, the patient will most likely recover in a few days.

Late-term abortions may take longer to recover from. Recovery may take many weeks if complications arise. However, this is improbable, given just 2% of people experience difficulties as a result of an abortion.

Medical attention following an abortion

In a few weeks, most people who have had abortions will have a follow-up appointment. Further medical attention will not be required if there are no signs of problems.

People who are experiencing any symptoms of problems should see a doctor very once. Some abortion complications may necessitate a trip to the emergency room, though this is uncommon.

When should you see a doctor?

Many abortion clinics offer a 24-hour advising line to help people figure out if their symptoms require medical attention. If you have any of the following symptoms, call the advice line, your local emergency services, or go to the emergency room:

  • have increased or excessive bleeding
  • experience severe back or abdominal pain
  • are feeling dizzy or faint
  • have a fever
  • have foul-smelling discharge
  • experience nausea and vomiting

Outlook

For the vast majority of people, abortion is a simple medical procedure with no long-term consequences.

Some people are concerned that abortion will have long-term consequences. Doctors, on the other hand, largely agree that having an abortion has no effect on a person’s future chances of becoming pregnant or on the probability of pregnancy difficulties.

Abortion is a tough decision, and it is natural to feel a variety of emotions as a result. If a person is experiencing emotional or physical problems as a result of an abortion, they should see a doctor.

It’s important to remember that having an abortion can be both mentally and physically challenging. The abrupt change in hormone levels, along with the emotional stress of deciding to have the surgery, can make recuperation difficult for many people.

During this period, people should seek support from close friends and family members. They can also seek help from close relatives and friends, as well as an abortion support group.

Summary

Abortion can be a physically and emotionally demanding procedure. While most people recover in a few days, there are several issues to be aware of.

They should also seek assistance from family and friends, as having an abortion can be emotionally draining.

Sources

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6207970/
  • https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304042
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322533
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304195/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430793/

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