An abortion is a safe way to end a pregnancy. If you’re going to have an abortion it can be useful to know what to expect so you can plan your rest and recovery. Everyone has their own ways of taking care of themselves and healing after an abortion. What you can do depends on what kind of abortion you chose and on your needs.
What happens after an abortion?
There are two types of abortion, surgical and medical abortions. The steps immediately after the process depend on what kind of abortion you chose.
For a surgical abortion you will need to go to a clinic or hospital where a doctor uses a tool to remove the pregnancy tissue. The doctor will likely offer you medicine to reduce pain. After the process a nurse or doctor will take you to a recovery room to rest. It’s usually recommended that someone take you home. If the doctors gave you an anesthetic during the abortion, you need someone to take you home.
For a medical abortion, you take two oral medications under the direction of your doctor. The medicine empties the uterus, which will feel like a heavy period. You’ll take the first medication at the clinic or hospital. You can bring someone with you for the visit. Then you can go to your home or another place where you feel comfortable to take the second medication.
When you are finished at the clinic or hospital your doctor will give you instructions for what to expect and do after an abortion. This could be information on any medication you may need or symptoms you may experience. Some common side effects after an abortion are bleeding and cramping. If you experience intense pain, heavy bleeding, or a high fever after your abortion you should contact your doctor.
You may also have to go back to the clinic for a follow-up appointment a few weeks after the abortion. The doctor will let you know if this is the case.
Recovering after an abortion
After an abortion, it’s important to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Give yourself the time and space you need to recover.
After you leave the hospital or clinic you should plan to take the rest of the day to rest and heal. You can do whatever activities help you relax. Some activities could be:
- Watching a movie or TV show
- Lying in bed
- Listening to music
- Taking a bath or shower
- Reading a book
- Self massage to relieve any cramps
Remember that everyone has their own healing process and timeline. Some people are able to start their regular activities the day after the procedure and others may take longer. Be sure to take whatever time you need to heal.
Feelings after an abortion
After an abortion you may feel a range of emotions like happiness, sadness, guilt, or anger. You may not feel any strong emotions afterwards. Each person feels differently about their experience. You’re allowed to feel whatever you feel about your abortion.
It can be helpful to talk with someone you trust about the experience. You can also call Tel-Jeunes (1-800-263-2266) or Action Canada (1-888-642-2725) to talk with a counselor. Tel-Jeunes provides confidential services for young people to call, text, email, and chat with a professional counselor to talk. Action Canada is an organization that works on issues of sexuality and reproduction.
Another option for support is an abortion doula. This is someone who provides emotional and physical support before, during, and after an abortion. They do things like give information on your options or escort you to doctors appointments. If you live in Montreal, the Montreal Abortion Access Project could be a good resource. This is a group of volunteer abortion doulas who help people seeking an abortion in Montreal.