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When to take a pregnancy test after an abortion

Abortion  •  19 December 2023  • 5 min read

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Some pregnancy hormones and symptoms can be present for up to two months following an abortion. If you have had a medical abortion (also known as an ‘abortion with pills’), it is important to follow the instructions given on when and how to take the pregnancy test we have provided.

In this blog, we provide information on:

  • When and how to take a pregnancy test after an abortion
  • Why you might get a positive pregnancy test after an abortion
  • What to do if you get a positive pregnancy test after an abortion

When and how to take a pregnancy test after an abortion

In order to check that your abortion treatment has been successful, we will provide you with a pregnancy test as part of your medical abortion pack.

The pregnancy test we provide is specially calibrated, and different to shop-bought tests. Because some pregnancy hormones can be present for up to two months after a medical abortion (abortion with pills), a shop-bought pregnancy test may remain positive for up to two months, even if you are no longer pregnant. This is why it is important to use the special test we have given you.

It is also important that you follow our instructions on how to take the pregnancy test. For example, you should:

  • Wait for at least three weeks after taking the second abortion pills (misoprostol) before taking the pregnancy test we have given you.
  • Make sure you follow the instructions given in the pregnancy test packet, including when to check the result. If these instructions are not followed, the result may not be accurate.

Why might you get a positive pregnancy test after an abortion?

There are a number of reasons you might get a positive result on your pregnancy test after your abortion, even if you have taken the test we have given you three weeks after taking the abortion pills.

1) You might get a positive pregnancy test because there are still pregnancy hormones present. Some pregnancy hormones and symptoms can remain present for up to two months following an abortion.

2) Occasionally, some pregnancy tissue and/or blood clots can remain in the womb after a medical abortion. This is called retained products of conception (RPOC). This may mean that you get a positive result on a pregnancy test, even if you take the pregnancy test we have given you three weeks after taking the second set of abortion pills (misoprostol).

Often, this pregnancy tissue and/or blood clots will come away without treatment. It can take a few days or weeks to do this, as it usually happens during your next menstrual period.

Sometimes, treatment is needed to help remove any remaining pregnancy tissue or blood clots. This could involve taking more tablets or coming to one of our clinics for a small procedure (this is very rare).

3) You may get a positive pregnancy test if you have taken the test we provide incorrectly, or you have used a shop-bought test.

What to do if you get a positive pregnancy test after an abortion

If you get a positive result when you take our pregnancy test three weeks following your treatment, please know that we are here to advise and support you.

Please call our dedicated 24-hour aftercare line on 0345 122 1441 if:

  • You have taken our pregnancy test three weeks after treatment and see a strong positive result.
  • You continue to have symptoms three weeks after treatment – for example, if you are continuing to experience heavy bleeding, gushes with clots and abdominal pain.
  • You’re not confident that you’ve passed the pregnancy – for example, you haven’t had any or much heavy bleeding or pain after taking the second set of abortion pills (misoprostol). 
  • You know that you’ve taken the pregnancy test we provided incorrectly and would like another pregnancy test to be sent to you.
  • You have a faint positive result and would like to discuss this with a nurse.

Often, our aftercare team will talk through your treatment, symptoms and aftercare, arrange for another test to be sent to you and advise that you re-test in two weeks time.

Occasionally, we may offer a follow-up appointment at one of our clinics. During this appointment, you might have a scan to check whether there is remaining pregnancy tissue and/or blood clots in the womb.

If, during your follow-up appointment at a clinic, a scan shows that there is pregnancy tissue and/or blood clots in your womb, you may:

  • be given extra tablets to take
  • be advised to wait until your next menstrual period, where pregnancy tissue and/or blood clots may be expelled
  • be booked in for a small procedure to remove the pregnancy tissue or blood clots

We are here for you. If you would like to talk to a nurse following your treatment, do get in touch by calling 0345 122 1441. This dedicated aftercare line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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