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Do’s and don’ts after an abortion

Abortion  •  9 May 2023  • 6 min read

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Everyone will have a different experience after either a medical or surgical abortion has been completed. We are here to support you during and after your treatment, so we’ve created this blog to share some key do’s and don’ts to support your recovery following an abortion.

In this blog, we provide information on:

  • Do’s and don’ts after a medical abortion
  • Do’s and don’ts after a surgical abortion
  • How to contact MSI UK if you have any questions following your abortion

Do’s and Don’ts after a medical abortion

It is important that you take all the time you need to look after yourself following a medical abortion. There are number of things you can do to support your recovery:

  • Do take pain relief before you take the second set of tablets (misoprostol), or if preferred when you start to feel cramps building up. You can find detailed guidance on pain relief on our medical abortion aftercare page.
  • Do drink plenty of water.
  • Do consider using sanitary pads instead of tampons or menstrual cups for 48 hours after taking the second set of tablets (misoprostol), and if you use them, please change them regularly. You can use any sanitary wear during and after the abortion, but sanitary pads can be easier to track your bleeding. On days your bleeding is heavy, we recommend wearing a suitable pad such as the thick maternity ones.
  • Do feel able to have a bath, go swimming and exercise should you wish, as soon as you feel comfortable to do so.
  • Do feel able to have sex when you feel ready. Please remember that fertility returns quickly after an abortion, so you may wish to consider starting a method of contraception. Contraception counselling is a part of your NHS-funded abortion care with MSI Reproductive Choices – if you are looking for a contraceptive method that suits your individual needs, you can book an appointment within three months of your abortion treatment.
  • Do take the pregnancy test provided in your medical abortion pack three weeks after you have taken the misoprostol tablets. Please use the pregnancy test we have provided as it is different to the shop bought tests. The pregnancy hormone can be present for up to two months after an abortion. This means that a shop-bought pregnancy test may remain positive for up to two months, even though you are no longer pregnant, which is why you need to use the special one we provide.
  • Don’t drink alcohol until you feel you are able to.
  • Don’t use a douche or use any soap inside the vagina as this can disrupt the normal bacteria and increase the risk of infection. Your vagina will clean itself with natural discharge.

Do’s and Don’ts after a surgical abortion

After your treatment, you’ll spend some time in our recovery lounge having some light refreshments until you’re ready to go home. Following your treatment, there are a number of things you can do to support your recovery:

  • Do find someone else to drive you home from your appointment if you have had sedation or general anaesthetic.
  • Do feel able to take pain relief tablets, such as paracetamol or codeine, if you are in discomfort following your surgical abortion. Cramping pain is normal – it can be constant or come and go which may last up to two weeks. However, you should avoid taking ibuprofen until 12 hours after your procedure, if you had the painkiller suppository, and avoid pain relief that contains aspirin, as it can increase bleeding.
  • Do wear comfy, loose clothing, and ensure you’re comfortable and relaxed at home.
  • Do use the sanitary wear you are most comfortable with.
  • Do drink plenty of water.
  • Do feel able to have sex when you feel ready. Please remember that fertility returns quickly after an abortion, so you may wish to consider starting a method of contraception. Contraception counselling is a part of your NHS-funded abortion care with MSI Reproductive Choices – if you are looking for a contraceptive method that suits your individual needs, you can book an appointment within three months of your abortion treatment.
  • Do take any antibiotics given to you as part of your treatment, and take all the tablets as directed.
  • Don’t drink alcohol for 48 hours after treatment.
  • Don’t use a vaginal douche as this can disrupt the normal bacteria in the vagina and increase risk of infection. Your vagina will clean itself with natural discharge.
  • Don’t drive, sign important documents (such as contracts) or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours after having an anaesthetic. Some car insurance specifies you shouldn’t drive for 48 hours after an anaesthetic, so please check with your insurance provider.

How to contact MSI Reproductive Choices UK following your abortion

At MSI Reproductive Choices, we are here for you and there are a number of ways you can contact us.

You can always get in touch should you have any questions about our services, would like to book an appointment or you have had treatment with us and want aftercare support.

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