How Soon After an Abortion Can I Get Pregnant?
The specter of another pregnancy looms in the minds of many women who seek abortions. Those aborting wanted babies for medical reasons may be eager to get pregnant again as quickly as possible. Those with unwanted pregnancies may fear going through the process again. So how soon after an abortion can you get pregnant? In theory, it’s possible to get pregnant again almost immediately.
Here’s what you need to know.
Pregnancy 101: How you get pregnant
To get pregnant, you have to ovulate. Most women ovulate about two weeks after their period begins, but when you have just had an abortion, you’ll ovulate before your next period starts. That makes it difficult to pinpoint ovulation.
Most women who have abortions ovulate a few weeks after the procedure. For some, ovulation is slightly delayed, but it is possible to ovulate just a few days after the abortion. Because sperm can live in the reproductive tract for up to seven days, fertilizing an egg when you have sex before it is released, it is possible to get pregnant immediately after an abortion.
Can I get pregnant after an abortion?
You can get pregnant immediately after an abortion–even if you are still bleeding, even if you have a history of infertility, even if your partner says they are infertile. It can happen even the day of the abortion. If you have sex, sperm can live in your reproductive tract, waiting for an egg, for many days. If you ovulate within a week or so, sperm will be able to fertilize that egg. So assume you are fertile, and use contraceptives.
If you normally use natural fertility methods such as monitoring cervical fluid, basal body temperature, or ovulation testing, these methods may not work until your first period returns. So use a back-up method or abstain from sex.
Learn about other strategies to care for yourself after abortion here.
Pregnancy after late-term abortion
Women who have very late abortions — after 20 weeks or so — may begin producing breast milk after the abortion. Lactation can suppress ovulation. This is called lactational amenorrhea. If you continue producing breast milk, which can happen if you donate the milk, or are nursing another baby, it can suppress ovulation for as long as 6 months. The emphasis here is on “can.” Lactational amenorrhea is not guaranteed. Some women ovulate regularly even when breastfeeding a newborn. Others do not begin ovulating for months or even years after they begin producing milk. Every situation is different.
Women who do not want to get pregnant should use a back-up form of birth control even if they produce breast milk. Women who hope to get pregnant right away may want to suppress breast milk production. A lactation consultant or doctor can advise about strategies to maximize fertility following an abortion if you begin lactating.
Good abortion clinics listen to your concerns about producing breast milk and fertility. They can offer advice, tell you what you might expect, and refer you to additional help if necessary.
Begin your search for a quality abortion clinic here.