Medical Abortion Care - Topic Overview
Care after a medical abortion
Carefully follow all
of your doctor's instructions and review what-to-expect information after a
Follow these instructions:
- Most women can return to normal activities in 1
to 2 days after the uterus has cleared. Avoid strenuous exercise for 1 to 2
- Do not have sexual intercourse for 1 to 2 weeks or as
advised by your doctor.
- Be sure to use birth control when you
start having sex again. And use condoms to prevent infection. For more information, see
- Do not rinse the vagina with fluids (douche). This could increase your risk
of infections that can lead to
pelvic inflammatory disease.
Normal symptoms that most women will
experience after a medical abortion include:
- Bleeding or spotting for up to 14 days.
Bleeding may last longer for pregnancies of more than 7
- Cramping for the first 2 weeks. Some women may have
cramping (like menstrual cramps) for as long as 6 weeks.
- Emotional reactions
for 2 to 3 weeks, often influenced by changes in pregnancy hormones. It's
normal to feel one or more emotions such as relief, guilt, sadness, and/or grief.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms
after an abortion:
- Severe bleeding. Both medical and surgical
abortions usually cause bleeding that is different from a normal menstrual
period. Severe bleeding can mean:
- Passing clots that are bigger than a golf
ball, lasting 2 or more hours.
- Soaking more than 2 large sanitary
pads in an hour, for 2 hours in a row.
- Bleeding heavily for 12
hours in a row.
- Signs of infection in your whole body, such as
headache, muscle aches, dizziness, or a general feeling of illness. Severe
infection is possible without fever.
- Severe pain in the belly
that is not relieved by pain medicine, rest, or heat
- Hot flushes or a fever of
100.4°F (38°C) or higher that
lasts longer than 4 hours
- Vomiting lasting more than 4 to 6
- Sudden belly swelling or rapid heart
- Vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells
- Pain, swelling, or redness in the genital area