5 Ways to Care for Yourself After Abortion
Below we list 5 ways to care for yourself after abortion.
You’ve made the decision to have an abortion. Now what? In a society that stigmatizes abortion, it’s hard to access good information. You might not want to tell loved ones about your decision, or you might worry how you’ll feel after the procedure. As with any medical procedure, you’ll need time to recover from your abortion, and will need someone to drive you home from the abortion clinic. Here are five things you can do to care for yourself after abortion.
Prepare the Supplies You Need
If you’re preparing for an abortion, get the supplies you’ll need together. This allows you to relax comfortably and recover at home for a few days. These items can help:
- Pads. You won’t be able to wear tampons or a menstrual cup, so choose comfortable pads you like.
- Period underwear. Select comfy, cozy underwear. Period underwear like Thinx or a similar brand can help prevent leaks.
- Ibuprofen or Tylenol. OTC drugs can help with cramping after the procedure.
- A heating pad. This can ease cramping, and offer cozy comfort.
- Comfy PJs. You don’t need any special clothing, but a warm pair of PJs and some nice fuzzy slippers can make recovery a little easier.
- Entertainment. Resting for a day or two can help you recover faster. Put some beloved movies in your Netflix queue, or get a few new books.
- Thermometer. While rare, some women develop an infection after abortion. A thermometer can help you monitor your temperature and get prompt care if you need it.
- Snacks. A recovering body deserves nourishment. Plan to drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy, tasty snacks.
Get Help From a Loved One
If you have a surgical abortion, you’ll need someone to drive you home from the clinic. While you won’t need any special care after the procedure, it’s helpful to have someone around who can talk to you, help you process the experience, and make you feel less alone. Your partner may be a good choice, but if not, try asking a friend or family member to hang out with you for the day.
Plan Some Down Time
Most women are able to return to their usual activities within just a few hours of having an abortion. But having a little extra time to recover is good for your body and your mind. Ask for a day or two off of work, and commit to a day of lounging around, watching your favorite movies, and practicing great self-care.
Know the Signs of a Problem
Abortion is safer than many dental procedures, and exponentially safer than giving birth. Only about 1 percent of women experience complications. The sooner you seek treatment for complications, the less likely you are to suffer serious health consequences. So call the abortion clinic or your doctor if you notice these symptoms:
- Heavy bleeding–enough to soak through more than a pad an hour for more than two hours
- Very large clots–larger than a golf ball
- Feeling like blood is pouring out of you
- Intense, unbearable pain
- Foul smell coming from the vagina
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
If you have heavy bleeding and do not get a prompt call back from the abortion clinic, go to the emergency room if bleeding persists.
Tend to Your Emotional Health
There is no right or wrong way to feel about an abortion. In a culture that demonizes abortion and the women who seek them, it is natural to feel conflicted, to worry that others might judge you, or to fear that you might one day regret the procedure. The research tells us that most women feel relief, not regret, after an abortion. One recent study found that, even 5 years following an abortion, 99 percent of women report relief.
Nevertheless, you may feel a range of emotions. That’s doubly true for women who abort wanted pregnancies for their own health or because of catastrophic birth defects. Some people like to find a way to mourn the pregnancy, such as by performing a religious ritual or writing a letter to the child who never was. If you find that you are preoccupied by thoughts of the abortion or pregnancy, a therapist can help. Choose a pro-choice clinician, since they will be best equipped to help you understand your loss and manage your emotions.
A good abortion experience begins with choosing the right abortion clinic. We can help. Find an abortion clinic in your state here.
To learn more about 5 Ways to Care for Yourself After Abortion – contact an abortion clinic nearest to you.