14 Side Effects of Abortion with 11 Recovery Tips

Are there any serious side effects of abortion? Is pregnancy after abortion possible? As an obstetrician, I frequently get these questions. As a doctor, I recommend all read this article before undergoing an abortion.

An abortion may be defined in many ways. For some, it is the termination of unintended pregnancy or a fetus expulsion. It is also known as the removal of an embryo from the uterus. Basically, when someone wants to terminate her unwanted pregnancy, they go for a medical or surgical abortion.

Abortion is a must when it is an informed choice. Although abortion is very safe and there is a rare chance of complications, still it people are unaware of side effects. It takes a big toll on physical and mental health.

These side effects may remain for 10 to14 days. A person who goes through it should know about the side effects to avoid higher risks in the future. Let us talk about various aspects of abortion and its side effects below:  

Is abortion safe?
Is abortion safe?

Is abortion safe?

The very word ‘Abortion’ may sound risky and life-threatening but it is a very safe procedure around the world. Research says that it is 14 times safer than childbirth.

Every year around 73 million abortions are taking place globally. One can go through any type of abortion unless there is a serious complication untreated. A safe abortion depends on the right method at the right time. You may like our recent publication on 20 foods to eat during pregnancy & abortion.

Such as, one cannot manage a medical abortion all by herself after 12weeks of pregnancy.  For that, she has to undergo surgical options. Similarly, a specialist medical service provider can.

Is abortion painful or not?
Is abortion painful or not?

Is abortion painful or not?

Yes, Abortion is painful to most women. Though the level of pain may vary from woman to woman, mostly they can survive through this discomfort. Some may feel like having a heavy period or some may experience intense cramping. The amount of pain may depend on the type of abortion. As we know three types of abortions are most popular. Such As:

1. Medical Abortion

If a woman goes through medical abortion using pills like mifepristone and misoprostol, it may cause her severe pain and heavy cramping. As she may pass the pregnancy tissue within 4/5 hrs, some bleeding or spotting might occur for several weeks.

2. Vacuum Aspiration

Vacuum Aspiration refers to a surgical abortion where suction is used to remove the pregnancy tissues. Medication is used to numb the cervix which leads to a painless procedure. Some may feel sensation in the cervix area while suction is being used. Moderate cramping, bleeding, spotting are the aftermath of Vacuum aspiration.

3. Dilation or evacuation

If a pregnancy crosses 13 weeks of the total duration, then medical or vacuum won’t be useful. At that moment, experts use a general anesthetic to make her sleep. Doctors use forceps and suction to remove the tissue. The patient does not really feel what she went through until the numbness goes away. Cramping and bleeding may occur for 2 weeks.

Side effects of abortion based on below 11 categories:
Side effects of abortion based on below 11 categories:

Common Side Effects of Abortion

There are plenty of side effects in each type of abortion. If you go for medical abortion where mifepristone and misoprostol are used as medicine to reduce the tissues, blood clots, etc. you may suffer from:

  1. Moderate Bleeding/ Heavy Bleeding for three weeks or more
  2. Vomiting
  3. fatigue
  4. fever
  5. dizziness
  6. back pain
  7. cramping
  8. swelling lips and face

In Suction Aspiration is a type of surgery when the doctor dilates the patient’s cervix and suctions out the fetal parts from it including amniotic fluid and placental tissues. This abortion procedure is very sensitive. If the baby is not removed clearly, the infection can develop inside it. Along with this, other side effects that may occur are:

  1. Remaining pregnancy tissue
  2. Cervix/ uterus injuries
  3. Pelvic pain
  4. Uterine damage
  5. Injury to bowel/ bladder/ cervix

Other procedures like D&C, D&E, Medical induction, D&X may include severe damage to the uterus, diarrhea, and infections. Heavy bleeding for weeks is common in most procedures. The patient may go through different types of surgeries if more complications occur.

Side effects of abortion based on 14 categories:

1. Cramps but no bleeding after abortion pill effects

Side effects of Abortion: Cramps but no bleeding after abortion pill effects
Cramps but no bleeding after abortion pill effects

In any abortion type, cramping and bleeding are musts. The amount of painful cramping may differ from person to person but it happens to everyone who goes through an abortion. It lasts for several hours. One can have heavy bleeding with blood clots for 1 or 2 days after having an abortion pill called mifepristone and misoprostol.

These pills are given if an unintended pregnancy is about 9-12 weeks. This helps to bring out the tissues, placental parts from the uterus to end the pregnancy. And that is why Bleeding starts after having 3 times these doses. In other surgery abortions, health providers generally clean out all the tissues from inside the cervix, still, one can face spotted bleeding for several hours.

 2. Abortion pill side effects and risk factors

A woman can decide to have an abortion pill when the pregnancy is about 10 weeks. The two medications mifepristone and misoprostol should be taken under the doctor’s guidance because there is a certain time gap and routine to take the pills. One can do it all by herself at home after taking the doctor’s advice. 

Although this procedure is the safest one and is deliberately done by so many women out there, this also has some side effects and risk factors. It causes very painful cramping and only some parts of the treatment can be done at the clinic or hospital. This procedure cannot be done after completing the first trimester.

The abortion pill pushes the uterus to bring out all the tissues which result in heavy bleeding for days. Some may go through dizziness, fever, nausea, fatigue, or diarrhea. As mostly abortion pills are taken without any specialist’s supervision, it may go unnoticed that the pills didn’t work properly to clean the tissues from inside which may result in serious infection.

One can face hemorrhaging instead of regular periodical bleeding. Very rarely, it may increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease if the patient is infected with Chlamydia. She can go through severe mental trauma. Increased infertility or ectopic pregnancy is another big risk factor as these pills cause uterine scarring.

Side effects of Abortion: Side Effects of Abortion Surgery-
Side Effects of Abortion Surgery-

3. Side Effects of Abortion Surgery

Every surgical procedure has risks of complications whether it’s low or high. Surgical abortions are an exception. Though it is said that having a surgical abortion is easier or less risky than continuing with the pregnancy, still chances are left to face some problems. Such As:

  1. Heavy bleeding/ hemorrhaging
  2. Infection
  3. Severe damage to womb, uterus, cervix and other organs
  4. Negative anesthetic reactions
  5. Material left inside the womb
  6. Allergic reaction to treatment
  7. Psychological effects
  8. Uterine perforation
  9. Cervical lacerations
  10. Infertility problems

4. Side Effects of Multiple Abortions

There could be multiple reasons for a woman to go through multiple abortions. Usually, multiple abortions don’t really cause infertility issues but when you go through multiple surgeries or have unlimited pills, these will surely occur problems. Impacts will be upon future pregnancies if the procedures are not taken care of seriously. There could be:

  1. Low birth weight
  2. Premature delivery
  3. Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy weeks
  4. Placenta and womb damage
  5. Infection
  6. Potential leads to miscarriage
  7. Emotional Challenges
  8. Pelvic Inflammatory diseases
Side Effects of Abortion in teenagers:
Side Effects of Abortion in teenagers

5. Side Effects of Abortion in teenagers

The rate of abortion is high in teenagers around the world. Teens that are ignorant about comprehensive sexuality education and access to contraception go through these procedures often. 1 or 3 out of 1000 teenagers go through surgery abortions and others go through the saline administered procedure. Let’s see when to check pregnancy after unprotected intercourse?

Lower chances of morbidity and mortality are seen among teenagers. The highest risk or side effect that a teen may face is preeclampsia. As teens are mentally very immature, they can go through a lot of changes in their life. This abortion may lead them to drugs, suicide attempts, and self-destructive behaviors along with physical problems.

6. Cytotec side effects abortion

Cytotec is another name of misoprostol (doctor-approved medicine) administration for child abortion. This is generally used when the pregnancy is about 9-12 weeks and can be treated without any surgery. Using Cytotec may bring side effects for the patients. Such as:

  1. Vaginal Bleeding for days
  2. Nausea
  3. Upset Stomach/ pain
  4. Heavy sweating along with dry skin
  5. Urinating problem
  6. Severe cramping
  7. Cramping
  8. Ruptured uterine
  9. Coming out large blood clots or tissues
  10. Diarrhea
  11. Skin itching
  12. Thirst for water
  13. Dizziness
  14. Trouble with breathing
  15. Fast/slow heartbeat
  16. Constipation
  17. Nervousness

If these things happen at home after taking Cytotec in the 2nd row, one should consult a doctor as soon as possible to get better treatment.

First pregnancy Abortion side effects:
First pregnancy Abortion side effects

7. First pregnancy Abortion side effects

The first pregnancy is always a different feeling for every woman but when for some reason, when it has to be terminated by any procedure, the mental trauma or psychological impact is heavier than other physical effects. The physical effects are more or less the same for every procedure but the mental trauma gets worse. 

Even if it’s the first abortion or not, one should always know the pros and cons of it. Sometimes, one gets less time to decide when it comes to deciding what to do, but it should be an informed choice. Other risks are not as severe as the 1% chance of getting the infection. 

It is heard that, if the first pregnancy is terminated then conceiving again may become a problem. But there is nothing like that. A woman can have babies even after having multiple abortions. What happens is sometimes the womb or cervix gets damaged due to medication or surgical procedures. 

This should be taken care of seriously. Mental health should be taken under care because at this time she may get disturbed in little things, she may have suicidal thoughts or unsocial behavior. These impacts may last long until she gets pregnant again.

8. Long Term side Effects of Abortion

One of the most common concerns of many women is if there is any long-term effect of abortion on their health. Abortion is a sensitive issue and facing it with courage is a challenge as it concerns your body. Though abortion is very safe there is only a 1% chance of infection if the selected procedure is not done smoothly. 

Still, chances are there to have long-term physical effects. A woman may suffer from uncontrollable bleeding known as hemorrhaging which is rare in abortion. But if bad luck happens, a blood transfusion may be required in this case. Womb damage can be another effect. This may affect future pregnancies.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is another long-term risk that may occur if the abortion spreads to fallopian tubes or ovaries. It causes high risks of infertility or ectopic pregnancy. Abortion may increase the risk of preterm birth if the woman gets pregnant right after six months of the termination. She may give birth on or before 28 weeks.q                                       

Infection is common in abortion procedures. But if it’s not treated on time, it may damage the reproductive organs which will lead to infertility later. Psychological and emotional impacts are also there. A woman may suffer from long-term depression, anxiety, and also PTFB (post-traumatic flashbacks). This will hamper her mental health and her relations with others.

Physical Side effects of Abortion:
Physical Side effects of Abortion:

9. Physical Side effects of Abortion

Physical side effects are more or less the same in the types of abortion. Two or three people out of 100 may experience physical and emotional effects after having an abortion. You will usually have period-type pains, sometimes it’s more painful than period pains, cramping, nausea, and heavy vaginal bleeding. 

This is very normal and you will gradually improve within 1or 2 weeks. These things happen in medical abortion but if you go for surgical abortion, bleeding may not happen until the next period. Anesthesia may have some impacts on the body. In surgical abortion, you may face nausea, dizziness, thirst for water, etc.

10. Emotional effects of Abortion

Terminating your child inside the womb is always painful. Nobody wants to do it unless there is a problem or emergency. There will always be depression, anxiety, rudeness, loneliness, and post-traumatic flashbacks. Let’s talk about this in the following:

11. Depression, the common side effects of abortion

It is never easy for a woman to end her pregnancy through termination. They suffer from depression and they kind of mourn for their unborn child. This especially happens when she is forcefully having it or she was confused till last. She may feel guilty, ashamed, or regret her decision. All these thoughts get her into severe depression sometimes and she might need professional help to get out of this.

12. Anxiety, another common side effects of abortion

Most women get anxious about the effects of surgical instruments on their bodies after an abortion. Even if they have a medical one, they keep worrying if they can conceive again in the near future or not. Out of anxiety, they start behaving rudely. This may result in dysfunctional behavior and they may not end happily because of the continuous guilt they have inside.

13. PTFB (post traumatic flashbacks)

Abortions can be highly traumatic for many women. They may not get enough sleep at night after having it, flashbacks will haunt them to death. It happens with those who are under such circumstances deciding to end the pregnancy. Psychological trauma is the worst part of terminating a pregnancy.

Side effects of Abortion: Infertility after abortion pill
Infertility after abortion pill:

14. Infertility after abortion pill

Infertility after the abortion pill is a rare thing.  It is not even directly associated. The abortion pill globally known as mifepristone and misoprostol is the safest medication to have a medical abortion. Professional health providers suggest these pills when the pregnancy is about 9-12 weeks, after that these pills cannot be used. 

Surgery will be needed for 13-27 weeks of pregnancy termination. So these pills don’t really create infertility in women’s bodies, a woman can get pregnant even after 8 weeks of abortion. But these pills may affect future pregnancies such as this may result in ectopic or pre-term birth of a child. You may like what fruits to avoid during pregnancy?

What are the symptoms and signs of infection after abortion?

The reproductive organs of a woman may get infected if the procedure of abortion is not completed smoothly. If the symptoms are visible then one should not be late to seek a doctor’s advice. Now, what can be the signs to understand if it is an infection or not? The signs are:

  1. Foul Vaginal discharge
  2. Heavy Abdominal Pain
  3. Feeling feverish/ above 101 degree
  4. Nausea
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Larger blood clots with bleeding
  7. Fainting
  8. Medication cannot help relieving

If all these symptoms are visible at home, without any hurry professional help or medication is needed to be cured. Infection in the vaginal area or womb may cause difficulties in future pregnancies. That is why this should be addressed seriously. Doctors prescribed antibiotics should be taken on time.

What is abortion procedure?
What is the abortion procedure?

What is abortion procedure? (4 Types)

An abortion procedure known is as a system to terminate unintended pregnancies. It is classified into two types. Such as:

1. Medical Abortion

Most women who terminate their pregnancies in between 9-12 weeks go for medical abortion. In medical abortion, there is no use of surgical equipment. Only two medications are enough to clear out the uterus filled with placental tissues and all. These two medications are mifepristone and misoprostol. This two help in starting bleeding with heavy flow. There is a time gap in taking each tablet. This procedure can be done at home without any supervision.

2. Surgery Abortion

surgery procedures are of 3/4 types. When the fetus is older than 12 weeks, then it needs surgery to stop flourishing. In this procedure vacuum aspiration or suction curettage, D&C, D&E are included.

3. Vacuum Aspiration

Vacuum Aspiration refers to a surgical abortion where suction is used to remove the pregnancy tissues. Medication is used to numb the cervix which leads to a painless procedure. Some may feel sensation in the cervix area while suction is being used.

4. Dilation or Evacuation

If a pregnancy crosses 13 weeks of the total duration, then medical or vacuum won’t be useful. At that moment, experts use a general anesthetic to make her sleep. Doctors use forceps and suction to remove the tissue. The patient does not really feel what she went through until the numbness goes away. Cramping and bleeding may occur for 2 weeks.

How you prepare for an abortion?
How you prepare for an abortion?

How you prepare for an abortion?

Although abortion is a safe choice for those who don’t want a baby now, still abortion takes a lot of physical and emotional toll. It is not easy for any woman to handle the situation strongly. If you have already decided to terminate your pregnancy, Then there are certain things to prepare for your own knowledge and satisfaction.

Firstly, make an information-based choice. You need to know the pregnancy trimester and what procedure you have to go through. Try to settle down your mind to overcome all the hassles and pain. Try to gather knowledge about medical and surgical abortion so that you can take the next step.

Discuss everything with your doctor. The risks, confusions, probability, cost and most importantly the law in your country should be known. Discuss all these before going under scissors. You need to remember that it is your body and your choice.

Talk to someone who can accompany you to the hospital. After the procedure, you may not be able to go home on your own; you will need someone to give you a hand.

Bring your necessary things with you. If you take any medication, you have to bring the prescription and medication with you. Also, you can take referral letters from previous doctors, extra clothes, sanitary napkins, etc.

You can take a day off from work for rest and let your body heal from it. Take enough time to rest your body and mind. If you need emotional support, then talk to someone who can help you in healing.

How can one recover from abortion?
How can one recover from abortion?

How can one recover from abortion?

As it brings a huge toll on physical and mental health, intensive care is a must for every woman. A woman needs full care and support at this time. Physical and mental care is equally important to recovery.

Physical Care:

Abortion leaves the cervix open for some time which may lead to any kind of infection, at this moment one should take care of certain things to avoid infection. Things are-

  1. Avoid tampons
  2. Do not have penetrative sex
  3. Avoid putting anything into the vagina
  4. Do not use swimming pools

Also, the person can have a relaxing stomach or back massage to feel relieved. Attending follow-up appointments is equally important. It should not be forgotten that if anything unusual happens during the resting time, the person should not wait to call for professional help.

Emotional Care:

Emotional care is often ignored in this situation. People tend to forget that it is a very hard decision for a mother to accept a decision like abortion. This may cause depression, sleep disorders, and anxiety. For many, it is hard to handle which leads to mood swings. 

Also, a decrease in progesterone and estrogen causes mood changes which will be back on track with regular periods. During this time, people should talk to family members, near and dear ones. Adequate time off from work and talking to the doctor in an emergency should be done later.

The 11 After Abortion Care Tips

Most women return to normal track within one or two days after a medical or surgical abortion. There is no such change in their diet chart. They can have what they want.  Abortion doesn’t result in future infertility and that is why people should not get afraid. They only need a few medications and proper one or two rest to feel fit again.  They need to focus on a few things. Such as:

  1. Do not rinse your reproductive organ (vagina) with douche or other fluids
  2. Start using birth control methods when you start intercourse
  3. Resume intercourse after almost 2 weeks
  4. Take proper rest
  5. Avoid activities that increase pain
  6. Check body temperature regularly to identify infection
  7. Take medicine if cramping or pain is intolerable
  8. Take care of your mental health.
  9. Talk your closest ones to avoid mental trauma
  10. Stay under doctor’s supervision
  11. Don’t jump into the swimming pool. Take shower but don’t sit in a tub
Safety measures for Improving Abortion:
Safety measures for Improving Abortion:

Safety Measures for Improving Abortion

In our society, safety measures for abortion depend on certain aspects. Social and financial stability are major factors. Those women who have these two get maximum attention and care regarding their abortion. Under privileged generally, opt for unsafe abortion which increases morbidity and mortality ratio. Abortion is a safe procedure when it is done under health care guidance.

Implementing recommendations by WHO should be one of the first safety measures to improve abortion. Easy access to any type of abortion should be taken under consideration. The national legislation should become easier for everybody. There should not be anything called legal or illegal as a sign of showing respect to a woman’s informed decision-making.

Confidentiality and privacy are the special needs along with necessary equipment, supplies, instruments, etc. The skills and performance of the health care providers should be scrutinized. They need sufficient training to deal with this sensitive issue. A health care provider doesn’t only treat physical health but the mental peace of his patient also depends on his motivational skill.

Effective communication is needed between the patient and doctor to improve the scenario of abortion. Abortion is a neglected and illegal medical procedure in many countries which leads to unsafe abortion. To stop this, a systematic approach should be taken into consideration. It will also help in promoting women’s health and rights.

After abortion birth control usage tips:
After abortion birth control usage tips:

After abortion birth control usage tips

After having an abortion, a person needs proper rest and knowledge for further family planning or so. If a person is used to birth control pills and still wants to have them after abortion, she can start taking them because there is no such problem in taking them. 

You will be fertile again and if you don’t want an unwanted pregnancy again, you should start having contraceptives or other precautions under your doctor’s guidance. If you don’t have any particular choice, your healthcare professional will be able to help you in this regard. You can switch options to be protected and then go back to your preferred options.

How do I know if a medical abortion is right for me?
How do I know if a medical abortion is right for me?

How do I know if a medical abortion is right for me?

Access to information is very important in this case. You need to know everything to make an informed choice. Each type of abortion has a time duration. If your pregnancy is 9 to 12 weeks, then a medical abortion is right for you. You cannot cross 12th weeks or else you’ll have to face surgical ones.

Medical abortion is done when the pregnancy is in the first trimester part. Only two medicines, mifepristone, and misoprostol are taken to end the pregnancy. You need to do a health check-up also to make sure that your body is ready for medical abortion.

How to stop bleeding after abortion pill-
How to stop bleeding after abortion pill-

How to stop bleeding after abortion pill?

Bleeding after abortion is normal when the quantity is similar to normal periodical bleeding. After a medical abortion, a person may bleed heavily because the medication wants her to. Through bleeding, all the pregnancy tissues come out from the uterus area which results at the end of pregnancy. It may not happen in other procedures.

Eventually, the heavy bleeding will stop after one or two days. The normal period cycle will start within 4-8 weeks. If bleeding doesn’t stop within a week, you must seek your doctor’s attention. You can take ibuprofen or use a heating pack. Decreasing activity may help too. If nothing helps, seek your gynecologist’s attention.

How long do side effects of abortion pill last-
How long do side effects of abortion pill last-

How long do side effects of abortion pill last?

The abortion pill affects the body and brings out several side effects. People feel extreme cramping and heavy bleeding for several hours. Mostly it lasts for 4-5 hours but it may last longer. The cramping and heavy flow bleeding slow down when all the tissue comes out from inside. The cramping may last for 1 or 2 days.

You may feel nausea or dizziness for a day or two. You need to make sure that you are in your comfort zone at the time of taking misoprostol, which causes vaginal bleeding, cramps, nausea, and diarrhea will begin within 2 to 24 hours after taking it but it might begin within 2 hours after taking the pills. Vaginal heavy bleeding or spotting generally lasts for 9-16 days, but sometimes it may last for 30days ahead.

Abortion becomes necessary when unintended pregnancy occurs suddenly. There are so many things to be focused on to avoid the side effects of Abortion. If you get to know all the facts before taking them into consideration, things get easier. Serious complications are very rare in this process but once you know what to do, You can avoid unnecessary hassles and make healthy choices.

Dr Vilma

M.D., MPH (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) Furman University, BS - Tulane University School of Public Health, MPH - University of Illinois at Chicago, MD

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