There’s a lot of misleading information out there about what abortions involve, what the risks are, and what the effects after an abortion are. Both surgical and medical abortions are safe and legal in Canada. It’s always your right to have one and to choose the kind that you are most comfortable with. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a surgical abortion instead of a medical abortion. This will depend on your situation. Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, or RAMQ, covers both types in Quebec.
Are abortions safe?
Health problems after an abortion are rare. When they happen, they’re usually easy to notice and treat. Surgical and medical abortions can have some risks. But studies show that it is one of the safest medical procedures to have.
If some part of an abortion scares you, it can help to talk to your doctor about your worries. Helplines can also help. You can try…
- Texting us at 514-700-4411
- Calling the Montreal Abortion Appointment Centre at 514-380-8299
- Calling or emailing Action Canada’s Access Line at 1-888-642-2725 or access@actioncanadaSHR.org. You can also text them at 613-800-6757
What should I watch out for after an abortion?
Signs of problems following an abortion often show up early. If you notice any of these, get in touch with the clinic where you had the procedure done right away:
- Heavy bleeding, for example, if you go through more than two maxi-pads per hour for two hours or more.
- Severe stomach pain or discomfort that is not helped by medication.
- Fever or chills after the day of the procedure.
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours after the procedure.
- Foul-smelling discharge from your vagina or front hole.
- Signs that you may still be pregnant.
To reduce the risk of infection after an abortion, for two weeks after the procedure you can:
- Avoid inserting anything into the vagina or front hole
- Avoid sitting in water such as baths (you can shower instead), hot tubs pools or going swimming in any body of water.
- Avoid drinking or using marijuana.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Avoid using medications such as Midol, Ponstan or Anaprox which may increase bleeding.
Most abortion providers will recommend a follow-up appointment 1-3 weeks after the procedure to check that everything is okay. You can do this at the abortion provider or with your family doctor.
Will it be harder to get pregnant again after an abortion?
Choosing to end a pregnancy doesn’t make it harder to get pregnant again. It also won’t increase other risks to future pregnancies.
Most doctors recommend that you avoid penetrative sex for two weeks after an abortion. After this, someone could get pregnant again at any time. Abortions don’t make issues like miscarriages more likely.
If you want to avoid getting pregnant, you can find birth control that’s right for you. Hormonal birth control, IUDs, or condoms are great at preventing pregnancy. They’re also safe. Birth control is simple to get in Montreal. It is usually covered by Medicare or health insurance. You can talk to your doctor about these options to find what might work best for you.
What about other long-term side effects?
Many people who don’t approve of abortions say that they can have long-term side effects. But the risks for long-term side effects after an abortion are about the same as after giving birth.
Some people notice depression or other emotional problems after an abortion. These feelings can coincide with the time of the procedure. But they aren’t necessarily caused by the procedure itself. The risk factors for having negative emotions after an abortion is similar to the risk factors for having postpartum depression in those who give birth. And, supporting people in their decisions lowers their risk of having these negative feelings! There are lots of ways to work through these feelings when they arise.
Most clinics can give referrals for therapists and other places to get support. It might help to ask about this, especially if you’d like more supportive people around you. You can also try…
- Texting Exhale at 617-749-2948
- Calling Connect & Breathe at 1-866-647-1764
- Calling All-Options at 1-888-493-0092
It’s okay to feel sad about ending a pregnancy. Feeling sad, or having complicated feelings, doesn’t mean you made the wrong choice for you. There’s no wrong way to feel about having an abortion. There’s also nothing wrong with asking for help after an abortion, or any other time.
If I already had an abortion, is it dangerous to have another?
Anyone who has had an abortion in a safe environment with a trained provider usually won’t have problems having another. There’s no maximum number of abortions that you can have. The decision is up to you and your doctor.
Abortion is a well-known and easy procedure. Long-term problems are even rarer than short-term ones. Having one abortion doesn’t make it dangerous to have another.