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After my abortion

Free medical and counselling services are available in the Republic of Ireland for women who've had an abortion. The counsellors and doctors working in these services are experienced in supporting women who have had an abortion. Services are free of charge to all women, regardless of their age, income or where they live. Click here for more information.

What to expect after your treatment

Recovery after an uncomplicated abortion usually happens fairly quickly, but is different for every woman.Symptoms of nausea, vomiting and tiredness usually stop within 3 days of an abortion. Breasts soreness may take 7 to 10 days to disappear. Your breasts may feel firm and tender and leak milk after your procedure. You will feel more comfortable if you wear a supportive bra and apply cold ice packs to your breasts. Take ibuprofen or paracetamol, if necessary for the pain.

What can I do after my treatment (bathing/work/sex)?

You can take a bath or shower as normal. Take care if you have a bath in the 24 hours following a general anaesthetic. You will need to make sure someone is around to keep an eye on you, in case you still feel drowsy.Most women are fit and well enough to return to normal activities within a day or two. Rest until you feel able to return to your normal routine.You can have sex when you feel sufficiently recovered from the abortion. You can get pregnant almost immediately following an abortion, so it’s important to use contraception if you do not want to get pregnant straight away.

Your next period

Any bleeding immediately after your treatment is not a period. Your next menstrual period will begin 4-6 weeks after your treatment. Do a pregnancy test, if you have not had a period 6 weeks after your treatment and ring the clinic or Aftercare Line if the test is positive

Bleeding

For information about bleeding following your treatment please see to our main aftercare page

How much bleeding is too much?

Telephone for an ambulance if your bleeding soaks 2 or more sanitary towels per hour for 2 hours in a row - see example 3 flooding, below.

Pain

For advice about pain following your treatment - please see our main aftercare page

Travel

It is best not to travel within 24 hours of treatment. If you must travel just make sure you know how to access emergency services at your destination in case of a complication. Please be aware that, if you are having the abortion pill up to 10 weeks and choose to travel soon after taking the second medication (misoprostol), you may start to have cramps and bleed heavily whilst you are travelling.Please inform us if you need to fly following your surgery. Flights of 4 hours or more should be avoided for up to 48 hours after receiving a sedative or anaesthetic.

We advise that:

  • If you need to fly after general anaesthesia/conscious sedation you should only do so, if you flight begins more than 12 hours after receiving your sedative or anaesthetic.
  • You must be accompanied by a responsible adult who can seek medical help should you become unwell
  • You should only catch your flight if you feel well and are not experiencing any of these symptoms: dizzy, lightheaded, nausea or vomiting, heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain

Feelings After abortion

Most women feel relieved, but some can feel sad or guilty.  For more information on free counselling in Ireland with counsellors who are experienced in supporting women who have had abortions click here.

Physical symptoms to look out for 

Telephone for an ambulance if you have experienced any of the following in the last 24 hours after your treatment:

  • loss of consciousness
  • severe allergic reaction
  • a confused state
  • concern for a heart attack or stroke
  • chest pain
  • slurred speech
  • breathing difficulties
  • fits that aren't stopping
  • continuous and heavy bleeding that soaks 2 or more pads in an hour for 2 hours in a row.


Phone the clinic where you were treated (the number is on your copy of 'My BPAS guide and your discharge letter), or the Aftercare Line on 0300 333 68 28 (or +44 1789 508 210) if you have any of the following:

  • Lasting pain
  • Discoloured or smelly vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Fever
  • A general feeling of being unwell or still feeling pregnant
  • If you've had a positive pregnancy test 2 weeks after your abortion pill treatment under 10 weeks'

Alternatively go to A&E or see your GP urgently.

If you have questions or concerns following your abortion treatment you can:

  1. check the aftercare pages on bpas.org
  2. call the clinic where you had your treatment can advise you (during opening hours). The number is written in the front of your copy of 'My BPAS guide' and your discharge letter
  3. call our aftercare helpline (Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week):