ALLEGHENY REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CENTER,INC.

1-800-221-3988     412-661-8811

POST SURGICAL ABORTION INSTRUCTIONS

Because we care, we want to help you take good care of yourself when you get home. It is important that you know what is normal after an abortion and what may indicate a problem.

RESTRICTIONS It is important to take precautions to prevent an infection. For one week after an abortion:
DO NOT have sexual intercourse
DO NOT insert anything, including tampons, into your vagina

WE HAVE A 24-HOUR ANSWERING SERVICE
FOR EMERGENCIES: 1-800-221-3988

CALL US FIRST WITH ANY PROBLEMS.  We can best determine how to handle your concerns and can often help you avoid costly and unnecessary hospital bills.

CALL US IMMEDIATELY if you have any of the following:

Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher. You should take your temperature if you feel warm or think
   you have a fever.

Heavy Bleeding that consists of soaking through 2 or more full-size pads in 1 hour and continues for more than 1 hour.

Severe Cramping or Pain that does not respond to ibuprofen products such as Advil, Nuprin, Motrin; Aleve, Extra Strength Tylenol, rest, heating pad, or lower abdominal massage.

No normal period by 7 weeks after the abortion.

MEDICATIONS

Methergine or Misoprostol: Some women may be given Methergine or Misoprostol. This medication helps to slow down bleeding and contract the uterus. It may cause more cramping.

Medication For Cramps: As your uterus returns to normal size, you may experience cramps for several days following the abortion or you may not experience any cramps at all. We recommend ibuprofen products including: Advil or Motrin (up to 800 mg every 6-8 hours as needed); naproxen / Aleve (up to 660 mg every 8 hours); or acetaminophen/Extra Strength Tylenol (up to 1000 mg every 4-6 hours. Other good remedies for cramps include placing a heating pad over the lower abdomen or back, taking a hot shower, massaging the lower abdomen, and movement. If your cramps don't respond to these treatments, please contact the office.

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE ABORTION

Will I bleed? Most women experience some bleeding after this type of procedure. The flow varies from woman to woman and may last a few days to a few weeks. Some women don't bleed at all or have only light spotting, while others have a flow similar to a period. You may bleed and stop, then start again several days later.

In 2-5% of abortions, for unknown reasons, clots may cover the cervix, causing the uterus to become swollen with blood. This can occur within hours or up to 7 days after the abortion and is accompanied by severe cramping. Frequently, a hot shower and abdominal massage will give relief and sometimes will alleviate the problem. When home remedies fail, it is sometimes necessary to re-suction the uterus, which provides almost immediate relief.

Other common bleeding patterns: an increase in cramping and passing clots (which may be large), an increase in bleeding, 3-5 days after the procedure and passing some clots off and on for a few weeks. All of these types of bleeding are normal.

Should I rest? Listen to your body. Get extra rest if you feel you need it, if you tire easily, or if you have cramps or heavy bleeding. Feel free to resume your normal activities as soon as you feel able. We provide medical excuses as needed.

When will I get my period? You can expect to have your next normal period about 4-7 weeks after the abortion. We cannot predict exactly when you will have your next period because pregnancy and abortion affect your menstrual cycle. The onset of your next menstrual cycle is more predictable if starting hormonal contraceptives such as the pill or the Nuva Ring.

Should I have a follow-up exam? A follow-up exam is recommended, and you may follow-up with your own provider or return to us for free exam within 3-6 weeks from your abortion. Our follow-up visits are usually offered on Wednesdays. Please call us 1-2 weeks in advance if you'd like to schedule. If you are experiencing any problems after your abortion, we may require that you return for an exam before 3 weeks.

What about birth control? If you do resume sexual intercourse two weeks after the abortion, it is very important to use contraception even before your period starts, because YOU COULD BECOME PREGNANT AGAIN RIGHT AFTER THIS ABORTION. We can give you a supply of birth control pills or the Nuva Ring to start within 5 days after your abortion. For an additional fee, Depo-Provera injections can also be given up to five days following your surgery, or within the first five days of the start of your next normal period.

IF YOU HAD IV SEDATION TODAY

If you received IV sedation, you should not drive, drink alcohol, go to work, take on responsibilities such as childcare, or make any major life decisions for the next 24 hours.

If you were given Valium you should not drive for at least 6 hours.

Emotional Healing

It is normal to experience many different feelings after an abortion. You may feel relief, sadness, guilt, doubt, grief, or simply peace. All of these feelings, even In combination, are normal.

No matter what you are feeling, it’s OK. Having negative feelings does not mean you made the wrong decision. Do not be afraid of strong emotions. However, if you think you’d like to talk to someone about your feelings, you might consider talking with a counselor. There could even be other issues in your life that you would like to talk about.

If you feel that a professional could be helpful, please call us for a referral.