If you or someone you know has recently had an abortion or is considering it, be on the look-out for these symptoms after the procedure. If you experience any of these side effects, you must get to your doctor or clinic ASAP.
Try to return to the place you had the procedure (if it was a legal abortion provider), but if that’s not possible, try to avoid going to religious-run organisations. Instead, stick to non-biased healthcare providers. And, if was an illegal abortion provider, do not go back. Rather go to a proper clinic or doctor where you’ll receive good quality, trustworthy treatment.
Important: if you have an abortion at a legal service provider, it’s unlikely that anything will go wrong. While there is a chance of complications, it’s rare. However, the risks are much higher if the procedure is carried out by an illegal abortion provider in an unsafe or non-sterile environment. Avoid illegal abortion providers at all costs – your health is worth more.
Post-abortion symptoms to watch out for
1.Very heavy bleeding
It’s unusual for heavy bleeding to occur, so if you soak through two maxi pads in a two-hour period, contact your doctor. The same applies if you notice that you’re passing large clots of blood or begin to feel light-headed. Sometimes, excessive bleeding occurs when there is infection; when there has been uterine injury, and/or if some placenta remains in the uterus.
2.Excessive discomfort or pain
Non-stop or severe pelvic pain can be an indication that something is wrong. If the pain persists even after you’ve taken painkillers, get in touch with your doctor or clinic. Most often, pain is caused by infection which, if caught early, can be easily treated at home with antibiotics. Ignoring it can turn it into something far more serious.
Pain can also indicate retained tissue, clots, or an ectopic pregnancy (in rare cases). Whatever the cause, intense pain must not be ignored.
3.Having a temperature
Fever can indicate infection. If yours remains over 38 degrees Celsius for several hours, and/or is accompanied by pain, contact your healthcare provider.
4.Continued signs of pregnancy
Although this is rare with legal abortions, it’s fairly common for illegal service providers to botch abortions (or intentionally provide drugs that don’t terminate the pregnancy).
If you continue to have pregnancy-type symptoms for longer than two weeks after your procedure – like sore breasts, nausea, and/or bloating – chat to your healthcare provider. Bear in mind that even after a successful abortion, a home pregnancy test may indicate that you’re still pregnant, due to the hormones that remain in your body for around six weeks after the termination.
Need a safe, legal and confidential abortion? Marie Stopes can help
Marie Stopes is an approved, legal provider of abortions in South Africa. We’re able to assist you up to 20 weeks into your pregnancy.