Post Abortion
Care: When
To Get Help
& Emotional Effects

Post Abortion Care: When to Get Help

According to the Mayo Clinic website,
Signs that may require medical attention after a medical abortion include:

  • Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C) or any fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge

After a medical abortion, you’ll need a follow-up visit with your health care provider to make sure you’re healing properly and to evaluate your uterine size, bleeding and any signs of infection. To reduce the risk of infection, don’t have vaginal intercourse or use tampons for two weeks after the abortion.

Your health care provider will likely ask if you still feel pregnant, if you saw the expulsion of the gestational sac or fetus, how much bleeding you had, and whether you’re still bleeding. If your health care provider suspects an incomplete abortion or ongoing pregnancy, you may need an ultrasound and possible follow-up treatment. 1

Post Abortion Care: Emotional Effects

Women will sometimes have concerns following an abortion regarding:

  • physical
  • emotional health

It is important to understand what symptoms to expect and how to take care of yourself to help alleviate the physical and emotional impacts of an abortion.

Research suggests that women who have had abortions may be at increased risk for mental health problems.1 Some women who have experienced an abortion report symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.2
Possible symptoms may include:

  • Regret
  • Grief
  • Sadness/Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt/Shame
  • Suicidal thoughts

Please seek professional help if you are experiencing any of the negative symptoms listed above. Avoid the temptation to ignore these feelings, in hopes that they will go away.  It will be much better for your health to deal with these symptoms head on. Your area pregnancy resource center may be able to provide a professional referral, or you may call confidential line at Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities: 763-250-9313 or go online to http://rvineyardmn.orgonline: www.nationalhelpline.org.

Also, it is important to note that temporary feelings of relief are frequently followed by a period psychiatrists identify as emotional “paralysis,” or post-abortion “numbness.”3

Recommended Books: 

Her Choice to Heal by Sydna Masse and Joan Phillips

Redeeming a Father’s Heart by Kevin Burke, LSW, David Wemhoff & Marvin Stockwell

A Solitary Sorrow:  Finding Healing & Wholeness after Abortion by Teri Reisser with Paul Reisser

The Jericho Plan: Breaking Down the Walls Which Prevent Post-Abortion Healing by David C. Reardon

Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortionby Theresa Burke and David Reardon. (more clinical)

Helping Women Recover from Abortion by Nancy Michels,

Experiencing God’s Forgiveness by John Ensor

Psycho-Spiritual Healing After Abortion by Douglas R. Crawford & Michael T. Mannion

A Path to Hope by John J. Dillon

Does Anyone Else Feel Like I do? by Pam Koerbel

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1. Retrieved on 12.21.13 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical-abortion/MY00819/DSECTION=what-you-can-expect

2 Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ, Ridder E (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. J Child Psychol Psyc 47(1):16-24.

3 Coyle CT, Coleman PK, Rue VM (2010). Inadequate preabortion counseling and decision conflict as predictors of subsequent relationship difficulties and psychological stress in men and women. Traumatology 16(1):16-30.

4. Kent, et.al., “Emotional Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion: A Comparative Study”, presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychiatric Association at Saskatoon, Sept. 1977.