Anticipated Physical Side Effects

The physical side effects after an abortion will vary from woman to woman. It is important to talk to a health professional as well as the abortion provider who will perform your abortion about possible side effects. Your period should return about 4 – 6 weeks after the abortion and you can get pregnant again soon after the abortion. If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics, it is important to take them as directed in order to help prevent infection.
The following is a list of side effects that are frequently experienced after an abortion. It is possible to experience these side effects for as long as 2 to 4 weeks following the procedure.

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Spotting and Bleeding

Potential, More Serious Complications Following An Abortion.

Although serious complications occur in fewer than 1 out of 100 first trimester abortions and approximately 1 out of every 50 late term abortions, it is important to be aware of the following risks:

  • Heavy or persistent bleeding
  • Infection or sepsis
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scarring of the uterine lining
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to other organs
  • Death

It is important to understand that these risks are rare and that some of these risks are associated with childbirth. What matters is that you are aware that these risks exist as you strive to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

When to Call Your Doctor

If you have had an abortion, call your doctor and seek medical attention if your side effects become severe or if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe abdominal and back pain that prohibits you from standing up
  • Bleeding that is heavier than a normal menstrual period
  • Foul-smelling discharge
  • Fever above 100.4 F
  • Continuing symptoms of pregnancy

Emotional and Psychological Side Effects

The emotional side effects of an abortion will vary from one woman to another. Emotional and psychological effects are more common than physical side effects and can range from relief to mild regret or to more serious complications like depression. It is important to discuss these risks with a trained professional who can address your questions and concerns. Abortion emotional side effects are just as real as physical side effects.

One important factor related to the vulnerability of negative emotional or psychological effects has to do with your belief about the baby inside. For those that believe it is not a baby until it is born, there is less of a chance of negative consequences. However for those who believe it is a baby versus just growing tissue they are more vulnerable for negative effects.

Emotional And Psychological Sides Effects

The following is a list of potential emotional and psychological side effects of an abortion. The intensity or duration of these effects will vary from one person to another.

Potential side effects include:

  • Regret
  • Anger
  • Guilty feelings
  • Shame
  • Sense of loneliness or isolation
  • Loss of self confidence
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Relationship issues
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic relationship problems

Individuals Who Are More Prone To Experience Emotional Side Effects

It is possible for anyone to experience an unexpected emotional or psychological side effect following an abortion. Women commonly report that the abortion procedure affected them more than they expected. However, some individuals are more susceptible to experiencing some type of emotional or psychological struggle and include:

  • Individuals who have been coerced, forced or persuaded to get an abortion
  • Individuals with previous emotional or psychological issue
  • Individuals with religious beliefs that conflict with abortion
  • Individuals with moral or ethical views that conflict with abortion
  • Individuals who obtain an abortion in the later stages of pregnancy
  • Individuals without support from significant others or their partner
  • Women obtaining an abortion for genetic or fetal abnormalities