If you have decided to have an abortion, that is a decision anyone has the right to make, and like any invasive medical procedure, one would need abortion aftercare, both physically and mentally. First of all, you have to know what to expect. After an abortion, it is normal to have or feel:
- Light bleeding or spotting
- Sore breasts
- Sadness, relief, even guilt.
Sometimes these emotions are due to the drastic hormonal changes that come with pregnancy and you might still feel this way a few weeks after the abortion, which is why it is imperative to have a support system.
Here are a few ways to improve physical and mental health after getting an abortion.
- The first step is to go with someone you trust.
It is important that you have a solid support system, someone you can count on to be supportive and to help you with anything you need, including driving you home after the process. This could be a partner, a friend or family member.
It is important to take things easy for at least a few days, to give your body time to recover. Therefore, avoid anything that might be strenuous physically and emotionally. Abortion aftercare involves lots of rest.
- Use heating and sanitary pads
Heating pads might help with the cramps, and sanitary pads are necessary for the bleeding which is a normal result of abortions. However, if your blood clots are larger than a lemon or your bleeding soaks through a maxi pad in an hour, you should see your doctor immediately.
- Refrain from sex
Avoid penetrative sex or inserting anything vaginally for at least two weeks to prevent infection. Use sanitary pads only.
- Take prescribed pain medication
Your doctor will most likely prescribe pain medications to help with the cramps and also antibiotics to fight off any chance of infection. You can also use over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen for abortion aftercare.
- Seek counselling
Transient feelings of guilt, sadness and loss are normal after getting an abortion, and while you have no reason to feel guilty, in this part of the world where abortion is seen as taboo, it might do a lot of good if you cannot shake the feelings of guilt or loss.
Most women who have had an abortion will have a follow up with doctors a few weeks after to make sure that there are no complications if there aren’t, no further medical care would be necessary and you can carry on with your life. However, you should see a doctor if you are having intense pain, large blood clots, a fever, or anything that feels like an allergic reaction.
Doctors generally agree that abortions do not affect the chances of getting pregnant again, and do not increase chances of pregnancy complications in future. Before getting an abortion, speak to a trusted doctor, to know what to expect and the right steps to take. Women can get post-abortion help from clinics like Marie Stopes, also support and care from close friends or family.