Abortion affects women physically and emotionally, which is why women’s self-care and well-being post-abortion is essential for complete recovery. Here are a few tips for looking after yourself in order to bounce back readily after a medical or surgical abortion.

  1. Manage your symptoms
  2. Bleeding and cramping are common side effects of an abortion. However, how long do you bleed after an abortion depends on several factors. For example, these symptoms may last up to fourteen days or more, when pregnancies have been more than seven weeks. Bleeding leads to the expulsion of pregnancy tissue from the uterus, whereas cramping indicates your uterus is returning to its normal size before the pregnancy. Some women also experience spotting for up to six weeks. A small number of women may not experience any bleeding after an abortion; they bleed when their next period arrives. Because of hormonal fluctuations, you may also experience mood swings and breast soreness for a few days. Seek medical assistance immediately if you observe symptoms such as fever for more than 12 hours, vaginal odour or pus, heavy vaginal bleeding, unbearable abdominal pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may point to an infection and need treatment at the earliest.

  1. Have ample rest
  2. The after-effects of abortion include several physical and psychological changes, which can leave you feeling exhausted. Give your body adequate time to return to normal and take it easy for a few days. Aim for 7-9 hours of deep sleep every night. You should avoid strenuous exercise for 7-10 days and abstain from sexual intercourse or penetrative masturbation for 2-3 weeks to prevent infections. In addition, without contraception, you can also get pregnant again immediately after an abortion. You surely do not want another unintended pregnancy. To manage pain, take over-the-counter painkillers and place a warm heating pad on your lower abdomen and back. Get your partner or someone to gently massage your stomach for pain relief and passing uterine tissue. If you have been prescribed medicines, take those as per the doctor’s advice. If you tend to be forgetful, you may use Ginger-U’s ‘medicine reminder’ feature. It is an effective way to practice adherence to get well faster.

  1. Eat well
  2. Diet plays a significant role in care after abortion. Quality nutrition helps your body heal faster. Eat a balanced diet comprising plenty of protein, B vitamins, iron, and calcium; your body needs these nutrients to recover. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can be particularly beneficial. You may also experience abdominal issues (diarrhea or constipation), nausea, and bloating.Therefore, avoid foods and drinks that aggravate these conditions. Stay away from spicy, oily, acidic, and sugary foods for a few days. If you have any health condition, consult your doctor to know what to eat and drink after an abortion.

    Additional tip: Do NOT drink grapefruit or eat grapefruit for 24 hours after taking mifepristone. Grapefruit affects the efficacy of this medicine.

  1. Seek help
  2. Sometimes, post-abortion physical care may not be enough. Because of the varying cultural, societal and economic contexts, the emotional burden of an abortion may be very heavy. If so, get professional mental health to work through your emotional burden. Support from friends and family may be available, which would be great. However, it may not alleviate the need for professional help.