After Care Guide
You will receive specific after care instructions after your abortion procedure. Here is a general guide of what to expect after your abortion. Call us at 404-728-7900 if you have any questions or concerns.
You can download a PDF version of the guide here: After Care Guide
If you think you are having an emergency after your abortion, please call us any time at 404-728-7900. There is always a nurse on-call to speak to you. Call us immediately if you have any of the following emergencies:
● You soak one maxipad per hour (2 pads in a row), or have blood clots larger than a golf ball (2 inches).
● Your body temperature is over 100.4° or you have discharge from your vagina that has a foul smell or strange color.
● You have severe pain that does not improve with medication.
● You feel overwhelmed by your emotions and think you may hurt yourself.
Call us at 404-728-7900. We would be happy to address any non-emergency concerns during regular business hours, Mon-Fri 8:00 am – 5:30 pm at 404-728-7900. Please only call after-hours if you are experiencing an emergency.
Are you looking for someone to talk to about your abortion? Visit exhaleprovoice.org:
- Exhale offers a free, national talkline that provides emotional support, resources and information.
- All calls are completely confidential and counselors offer support and respect without judgment.
- The Exhale talkline is available to people who have had abortions, and to their partners, friends, and family members.
- Exhale is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Bosnian.
Call us immediately if you soak 1 maxipad completely in an hour (twice in a row) or have blood clots larger than a golf ball (2 inches).
- Everyone’s bleeding is different after an abortion. It may be constant or off-and-on for up to 8 weeks, but should still not be heavy.
- It is normal to not start bleeding until days after your abortion, or bleed for just 1 day.
- Blood clots are normal if they are smaller than 2 inches.
- You may use either pads or tampons as long you can see how much you are bleeding.
Call us immediately if your temperature is over 100.4 degrees or you have discharge from your vagina that has a foul smell or strange color.
- Fever can be a sign of infection. If you feel feverish or have chills, take your temperature. Call us if it is over 100.4.
- Infection after abortion is rare. Most infections can be treated with medication and do not require hospitalization, but early treatment is important.
Call us immediately if you have severe pain that is not helped by medications listed below or given at your visit.
- Ibuprofen, Advil and Motrin are all the same medication and you can buy them without a prescription (take 800mg of Ibuprofen every 8 hours for cramping). If you prefer naproxen or Aleve, take 500mg every 12 hours.
- Do NOT take any medication containing asprin – it can increase bleeding.
- It may help to lie in the fetal position, use a heating pad, or massage your lower abdomen.
A follow-up visit is not needed after an abortion if you have no concerns or questions. If you do need it, a follow-up visit within 4 weeks after your abortion is free. Call us during business hours to schedule your appointment. If you want other services like a pap test at that visit, please tell the staff member making your appointment. You may also follow up with your regular OB/GYN provider or skip it if you have no concerns.
You can return to your normal activities and exercise when you feel ready. Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for several days after your procedure. These activities may increase bleeding – if so, avoid them for a few more days.
Birth Control and Sex
You can get pregnant within 2 weeks after your abortion. If you choose to use birth control, you may start it the day after your abortion. Hormonal methods take 1 week of use to become effective if you do not start the day after your abortion. You can have sexual intercourse when you feel ready. Use birth control if you do not want to become pregnant.
After an abortion, women report feeling many things, like relief, sadness, anger, or confusion. Whatever your feelings are, they are valid. See the next page for information about the Exhale talkline – you may feel better after talking with them. If you feel overwhelmed by your feelings or feel you may hurt yourself, please call us immediately.
Your period should start in 4-8 weeks. Call us if it does not start within 8 weeks.
● Pregnancy symptoms, including nausea, should decrease within 2-3 days.
● Breast tenderness may last 2 weeks. Your breasts may produce some milk.
● To relieve breast tenderness, wear a supportive, snug bra, even while you sleep. Take Ibuprofen or Tylenol as directed on the bottle for pain. Avoid touching or squeezing your breasts. Do not express any milk or apply heat.