As with every other aspect of a woman’s body, the physical side effects after an abortion differ from woman to woman.
Think of it this way: you may have one friend who loves being on the pill and suffers no ill effects, and another who experience a whole range of unpleasant symptoms and downright hates it!
Every woman’s body reacts differently to the same things, for a multitude of reasons. The same goes for abortion. Some women bounce back quickly, while others find it takes a bit longer.
Most common physical side effects after abortion
These side effects are often reported, and could last for two to four weeks after the procedure. They’re relatively normal after a termination, and unless they become severe, they aren’t cause for undue concern.
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Spotting and/or bleeding
If you use an approved abortion provider and your procedure is carried out by qualified medical professionals, you shouldn’t experience any symptoms more serious than those listed above.
However, not all women go the route of legal abortions. Some turn to illegal providers, and that’s where the side effects can become dangerous and even life-threatening.
More serious physical side effects after abortion
The side effects listed in this section are usually the result of illegal abortions carried out by unskilled and/or unqualified individuals.
In some cases, the side effects of an illegal abortion can be extremely serious, leading to illness, infertility and, in the most severe circumstances, death. These include:
- Heavy bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Infection or sepsis (septicaemia)
- Damage to the cervix
- Scarring of the uterine lining
- Uterus perforation
- Organ damage
Note that these side effects are extremely rare, especially if your doctor follows correct abortion procedures. It’s also worth remembering that some of the side effects can also arise as a result of giving birth.
When should I visit the doctor?
If you’ve had an abortion and you start to experience any of the following symptoms, you should get to your doctor or clinic as soon as possible.
- Severe abdominal and/or back pain that prevents you from standing up
- Bleeding that is heavier than your normal period
- Awful-smelling discharge
- A temperature over 38C
- If you suspect you are still pregnant
How to find a safe, legal abortion provider
If you’re considering an abortion, you’re in safe hands at Marie Stopes. You’ll receive counselling beforehand, and your doctor or nurse will talk you through all the potential side effects of the procedure so you know exactly what to expect.
Make an appointment to see us, and let us help guide you through this decision gently and confidentially.