Aftercare Instructions: Surgical Abortion

This information sheet is a summary of the instructions you will be provided following a first-trimester surgical abortion. Your doctor will discuss these instructions with you, in detail, during your appointment.

How active can I be?

You should go home and rest today. You may resume normal activities tomorrow, but avoid an activity if it causes increased pain. Avoid intercourse for two weeks.

Will I have bleeding and cramps?

You may bleed only one day, or off and on for 1-2 weeks after your procedure. The flow may vary from very light to fairly heavy. It may increase with exercise and decrease with rest. You may experience cramps for a few days. Sometimes women experience an episode of heavy bleeding and cramps 4-6 days after the D&C. If this happens, lie down and rest. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) or Tylenol, rest, and a hot water bottle or heating pad on the abdomen are helpful for relieving cramps.

What if I still feel pregnant?

Pregnancy symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and weariness usually cease within three days. Breast tenderness may take 7-10 days to disappear. Your breasts may feel firm and tender and leak fluid after your procedure. Your breasts will return to normal after 3-4 days of swelling. You will feel more comfortable if you wear a bra and apply cold ice packs to your breasts and/or take ibuprofen or Tylenol.

If you still feel pregnant after a week, call the CWHC.

What are the complications I could have?

It is extremely important to report the following to us if they occur:

  • Fever over 100° or chills
  • Excessive bleeding (soaking 1 pad per hour for 3 straight hours)
  • Bad cramps unrelieved by ibuprofen or Tylenol or prolonged abdominal pain

If these symptoms occur, take your temperature and call the CWHC.

How can I avoid infection?

To decrease the chance of getting a serious pelvic infection:

  • You will be given antibiotic pills. Take them as directed on the package.
  • Do not put anything in your vagina for two weeks
  • No vaginal intercourse · No tampons (use sanitary pads)
  • No douching
  • No baths. You may shower, but do not sit in a tub of water.

When will I have my next menstrual period?

Your next menstrual period should begin in 4 to 7 weeks from the day of your procedure. You can get pregnant before then and should use birth control when you resume sexual intercourse. If you take the pill, your period will begin after you complete the first package.

Do I need to schedule a follow-up appointment?

Some women want to see a physician after their procedure, though it is not mandatory unless you are experiencing complications. We recommend that you make an appointment to see a physician if you are due for an annual pap smear and physical/gynecologic exam.

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