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
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.
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.
Telephone for an ambulance if you have experienced any of the following in the last 24 hours after your treatment:
Alternatively go to A&E or see your GP urgently.