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Abortion (cont.)

Follow-up

Abortion does not require a stay in the hospital unless you have a medical condition that requires you to be monitored or if you have a complication with the surgical procedure.

Medical care after a surgical abortion

  • Your health care professional will watch you for at least 30 minutes after the surgery, checking for abdominal pain and unusual bleeding.
  • If you have decided to use an IUD for birth control, it will be inserted. If you have decided to use a hormonal injection form of birth control, you may receive your injection on this day.
  • You will be asked to return to the clinic in one to three weeks to make sure the pregnancy has been terminated and to check for any medical complications.
  • If you have these symptoms, you should see your health care professional:
    • Severe pain
    • Fever of 100.4 F or higher
    • Bleeding through more than four or five pads per hour or more than 12 pads in 24 hours
  • You may be given pain relievers during the first 24 hours after surgery, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). After that time you can switch to a pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen.
  • You should make sure you have been given emergency contact numbers and instructions regarding where to go if you have an emergency and cannot reach your health care professional. You may bleed very little, if at all. The most common bleeding pattern is bleeding the day of the procedure, then not much until the fifth day after surgery, when heavier cramping and clotting occurs.
  • You should not use tampons for five days and should not have intercourse until bleeding has stopped for a week or you have been cleared by your doctor at your appointment after the surgery.

Psychological effects of abortion

  • You may feel normal emotions such as sadness and grief after an abortion. You may also feel depression. The most common feeling experienced after an abortion is that of relief and confidence in the decision. Few women may experience feelings of grief and guilt, and these feelings usually pass within days to weeks in most cases and do not lead to mental health problems. One study showed that women who had abortions had mental health issues such as depression 1% of the time, compared with 10% of women who gave birth who experienced depression.
  • How you feel may be affected by your emotional status during the decision making, your relationships, religion, age, social support networks, and whether you have had mental health issues before If you were a victim of rape or incest, you may have entirely different feelings and emotions undergoing an abortion.
  • Counseling may help you work through your emotions and cope with your feelings.

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