Below is some information on what to expect after your abortion.
Before you leave the clinic, we will give you clear and concise directions about aftercare recommendations and medicines. Because each patient, doctor, and abortion facility is different, you should contact your local Summit office regarding specific questions or concerns. You can also refer to our Frequently Asked Questions
Immediately after your (surgical) abortion:
A nurse or medical staff person will bring you to the recovery room, where you’ll rest for about an hour. The nurse will give you medicines to help with cramping, which is a normal and common part of abortion recovery. The nurse will monitor your condition closely (heart rate, temperature, bleeding, oxygenation, blood pressure). If you feel hungry, we provide a snack and a drink.
Before leaving, we will provide a list of aftercare instructions and medicines to take home, including birth control if you would like. We will also be sure to give you a 24-hour number that you can call with any questions or concerns. A registered nurse is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you’re ready to go home, we will contact your ride and help escort you to your car.
For the rest of the day:
We suggest you plan to have the rest of the day off in a safe and comfortable place. You should have access to a telephone, and if possible, a supportive partner, friend, or family member nearby. Though there are no food/drink restrictions after an abortion, we recommend eating lightly and drinking plenty of water. It is best to avoid recreational drugs and alcoholic beverages.
You will experience some cramping and bleeding (similar to a period, but it is normal to have more) in the days to come. Please use sanitary pads only (no tampons), and ibuprofen (Motrin) or other non-aspirin medications to ease discomfort.
The weeks after:
You may return to normal activity as you feel ready. However we recommend you wait several days before beginning strenuous exercise routines and/or heavy physical labor and activities.
If you are starting or resuming birth control, follow the start-date instructions your doctor gives you. Most patients will begin their birth control pills, ring, or patch as soon as possible after their procedure. (Many people ovulate soon after the abortion, so if you are not ready to be pregnant, it is best to use birth control and/or condoms.)
For at least one week, use only sanitary pads, no tampons.
Nothing should go inside the vagina for at least one week (this is to prevent infection as the body returns to a non-pregnant state). Please avoid tampons, intercourse, sex toys, douching, feminine sprays, and so forth. Swimming, baths, showers, and normal washing with a mild soap are fine.
Bleeding and cramping after your abortion may last only a few hours or days. It is also normal to have light or heavy spotting or even period-like bleeding for several weeks. While it is difficult to determine exactly what to expect, most patients will be back to their regular menstrual cycle within six weeks.
You do not need to return to Summit Medical for a follow-up visit after your abortion. The doctor does an ultrasound right after the abortion to make sure that you are no longer pregnant. Do not do a pregnancy test on your own because it may still come out with a positive result in the weeks following your abortion. If you have concerns, it is best to contact Summit. The nurse on call can advise you whether you are experiencing normal symptoms, or whether you should return to the clinic for a short, no-cost appointment. She can also advise you whether you should go to the emergency room (and what to expect there).