When to Get Help
According to the Mayo Clinic website,
Signs that may require medical attention after a medical abortion include:
- Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
- Severe abdominal or back pain
- Fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C) or any fever lasting more than 24 hours
- Foul smelling vaginal discharge
After a medical abortion, you’ll need a follow-up visit with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re healing properly and to evaluate your uterine size, bleeding, and any signs of infection. To reduce the risk of infection, don’t have vaginal intercourse or use tampons for two weeks after the abortion.
Your healthcare provider will likely ask if you still feel pregnant, if you saw the expulsion of the gestational sac or fetus, how much bleeding you had, and whether you’re still bleeding. If your healthcare provider suspects an incomplete abortion or ongoing pregnancy, you may need an ultrasound and possible follow-up treatment.1
Women will sometimes have concerns following an abortion regarding:
- emotional health
It is important to understand what symptoms to expect and how to take care of yourself to help alleviate the physical and emotional impacts of an abortion.
Research suggests that women who have had abortions may be at increased risk for mental health problems.1
Some women who have experienced an abortion report symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.2
Possible symptoms may include:
- Suicidal thoughts
Please seek professional help if you are experiencing any of the negative symptoms listed above. Avoid the temptation to ignore these feelings, in hopes that they will go away. It will be much better for your health to deal with these symptoms head on. Your area pregnancy resource center may be able to provide a professional referral, or you may call confidential line at Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities: 763-250-9313 or go online to http://rvineyardmn.org or online: www.nationalhelpline.org.
Also, it is important to note that temporary feelings of relief are frequently followed by a period psychiatrists identify as emotional “paralysis,” or post-abortion “numbness.”3
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1. Retrieved on 12.21.13 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical-abortion/MY00819/DSECTION=what-you-can-expect
2 Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ, Ridder E (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. J Child Psychol Psyc 47(1):16-24.
3 Coyle CT, Coleman PK, Rue VM (2010). Inadequate preabortion counseling and decision conflict as predictors of subsequent relationship difficulties and psychological stress in men and women. Traumatology 16(1):16-30.
4. Kent, et.al., “Emotional Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion: A Comparative Study”, presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychiatric Association at Saskatoon, Sept. 1977.