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Abortion aftercare

Looking after yourself after an abortion.

When you leave our clinic, your care does not end.

Recovery time after an abortion will be different for everyone, but you'll usually feel better within a few days.

However, if you feel like you’re experiencing any problems – either physical or emotional – after the treatment, we’re here to help. You can call our aftercare line 24 hours a day and talk to one of our friendly, experienced nurses.

Contact us for a confidential chat

We're here to help.

You can contact our 24-hour aftercare line if you need to talk to someone after having your abortion on

0345 122 1441

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What can you expect after an abortion?

It’s good to know what’s normal after an abortion, so you know what to expect and what to look out for.

Everyone will have a different experience after either a medical or surgical abortion has been completed. Usually you will experience some bleeding (ranging from spotting to heavy clots). This can continue up to your next period and may be unpredictable, irregular, or prolonged. It's important you use sanitary towels and not tampons as this will help to prevent infection. It’s also normal to have crampy pains (cramps).

Pregnancy symptoms will start to settle after a couple of days. Nausea and vomiting are one of the first symptoms to disappear after treatment. It is common to have tender breasts for several weeks.

Different feelings can come up for people after an abortion, including relief and sadness. These are all normal things to feel. We’re here to talk at any time and can arrange post-abortion counselling, either face-to-face or over the phone. If you have any concerns call our aftercare line to speak to a nurse.

Pain relief after abortion

Following an abortion, cramps can be constant or can come and go.

It's not unusual to continue to get cramping on and off in the first 2 weeks after treatment. We'll give you advice on pain relief tablets such as paracetamol, codeine, or ibuprofen. Please do not take aspirin as it can increase bleeding.

Here are some other things you can do to lessen the pain:

  • Apply a heat pad or (warm) hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or blanket to your lower abdomen.
  • Wear comfy, loose clothing.
  • Ensure you're comfortable and relaxed at home.

If you have any worries about any pain you experience following your abortion, you can call our aftercare line on 0345 122 1441 any time to speak to a nurse.

Important things to remember after an abortion

Here are some important things to bear in mind:

Please wait for 3 weeks after your abortion before taking a pregnancy test. This is because some pregnancy hormones can be present for up to 3 weeks following an abortion, which can give a positive test result even though you are no longer pregnant. If the pregnancy test is positive please call our aftercare line as soon as possible.

As part of your abortion aftercare, you should avoid sex for 2 weeks following treatment. It’s very important to know that it is possible to get pregnant almost immediately following an abortion. If you do not want to become pregnant, we recommend that you have contraception ready for after your treatment. We can talk to you about different types of contraception to help you find a method that suits you.

You should not have a bath for 48 hours after your abortion as this could increase the risk of infection. You can have a shower, but as you may be feeling light-headed, for your safety please do not have a shower without someone there with you.

Learn more about Contraception

If you experience serious symptoms

If you experience any of the symptoms below, call us straight away:

  • Very heavy bleeding that soaks through more than 2 sanitary pads (suitable for a heavy flow) an hour.
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort that is not helped by pain relief medication, or by heat pad.
  • Vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant.
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please call us immediately on 0345 122 1441.

Looking for more information about abortion aftercare?

You’ll find answers to the questions people ask most about abortion aftercare here. If you can’t find the information you need, please call us on 0345 122 1441.

Feli's story

"If you decide to go through with an abortion, you will not feel alone at Marie Stopes."

Andrea's story

"I was emotional and frightened when I first called so having someone calm and kind to listen was a massive help."

Charlie's story

"I was devastated, and shocked, seeing those two blue lines was a metaphorical slap round the face."

A client from Bristol shares her story

"I was sure my medical abortion would be horrific, but it wasn't."

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