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Pregnancy After Abortion - Having a Healthy Pregnancy after Abortion

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A common question for many women who are considering an abortion is about how the abortion affects future pregnancies. In most cases, there are no problems with women getting pregnant after an abortion. In fact, if you plan on having sex again soon afterward, an acceptable form of birth control is recommended. Women have been known to get pregnant within a single week after having an abortion.

To understand about having a healthy pregnancy after abortion, it is necessary to understand exactly what an abortion is. Abortion is the early termination of a pregnancy, and statistics estimate that one out of three women will have one performed before they reach the age of 45. Abortion can be done through one of two general methods: medical or surgical.

Medical Abortions
Medical abortions are early terminations that can be done via taking a drug – the so-called “abortion pill,” clinically known as mifepristone. A second medication, misoprostol is administered to induce cramping. Medical abortions can only be done in the first 63 days of a pregnancy, and they are 97% effective within 4 to 48 hours.

Complications with medical abortions are rare, but can occur. These complications include allergic reaction, infection, incomplete abortion, and heavy bleeding. Even rarer than the complications themselves is the chance that the complications will affect your chances of having a later pregnancy. Most women feel physically fine about 24 hours after the abortion.

After the medical abortion, care instructions will be given by the doctor. A new menstrual cycle usually begins immediately afterward and most women experience regular menstruation 4 to 8 weeks later. Most doctors recommend that vaginal intercourse be abstained from for at least one full week after a medical abortion. Since women can get pregnant so soon after abortion, birth control should be used to avoid further abortions.

Surgical Abortions
Surgical abortions can be done through different methods at any time during a pregnancy, but very few doctors will perform late abortions after the third trimester. Most surgical abortions are performed on an out-patient basis in a clinic.

There are two types of surgical abortions. The most common type is called vacuum aspiration, where a suction device is used to clear out the uterus within the first 16-weeks of pregnancy. The other type is called dilation and evacuation. It is mostly used after the first 16-weeks of pregnancy. Both types are over 99.99% effective.

Complications are possible from surgical abortions. These can include allergic reaction, blood clots, infection, incomplete abortion, internal and bodily injury, and heavy bleeding. Most of these complications are easily treated, but in rare instances they can become serious and even lead to death. Even so, statistics show that death from full-term childbirth is 11 times greater than the risk of death from a surgical abortion.

After a surgical abortion, a new menstrual cycle begins immediately and most women experience regular menstruation within 4 to 8 weeks. Vaginal intercourse is not recommended for 2 to 4 weeks, but if it is done, birth control is important in preventing another pregnancy.

Women who have one of the Rh-negative blood types may require a shot after the abortion to help with future pregnancies. Additionally, to ensure that recovery is achieved and you are capable of becoming pregnant again in the future, several steps for basic care are recommended that include the following:

• Drink plenty of liquids
• Do not work for 2 to 4 days afterward
• Take vitamins
• Eat and sleep regularly and healthily
• Avoid exercise for two weeks
• Avoid baths or swimming for two weeks
• Avoid heavy lifting
• Schedule a follow-up appointment with the doctor for two weeks after the abortion

Emotional Factors of Pregnancy after Abortion
Many women have emotional difficulties after experiencing an abortion. While relief is the most common emotion felt, some women can feel guilt, regret, anger, or sadness. Long-term emotional difficulties are rare, but they occur with the same frequency of women going through childbirth.

If any of these emotions are experienced, it is recommended to talk to a counselor or therapist. If you cannot afford a therapist, free post-abortion counseling is available via phone by calling Exhale toll-free at 866-439-4253 Monday through Friday 5pm to 10pm PT or Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 10pm PT.

In some cases, these emotions can recur during your next pregnancy, whether it is a wanted pregnancy or not. These feelings should never be ignored in hopes they will fix themselves. It is important to work out these feelings so that you are both physically and mentally capable of conceiving and raising a child.

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