Caring for Yourself After an Abortion
An abortion can be a stressful procedure for an individual, as well as those around them. There can be psychological distress, anxiety, and depression in the aftermath of an abortion. The aftercare in this case would consist of both emotional and physical support for the patient. It is important to ensure complete recovery to avoid any future complications.
Terminating a pregnancy can lead to tiredness, cramps, and bleeding. Even medical abortions, induced by medicines such as Mifepristone 200 mg, can have certain effects post-abortion. These are natural side effects and there is no reason to be alarmed in case the patient experiences any of these. With the necessary care and treatment, these effects can be controlled and the patient will not experience any further complications. Some important steps to take after having an abortion are:
- Looking after your physical health: If your physician has prescribed any medications, make sure to take them as instructed. Medicines are often prescribed to prevent any infection in the uterus or fallopian tubes. It is a common complaint after having an abortion, and precautions are taken to prevent this early on. A fever that is above 101 F, abdominal pain, and foul-smelling discharge are all symptoms of an infection.
- Taking rest: Avoid any work that would put too much stress on the body, such as lifting heavy weights, strenuous chores, and heavy exercise. Resting can be beneficial for the body and helps avoid most of the side effects of abortion. At least rest for two days before resuming regular activity. Surgical abortions necessitate proper rest, but even medical abortions such as those done by using Misoprostol 200 mcg would require proper rest. Too much physical activity may have detrimental effects.
- A healthy diet: Maintain a diet that will provide you with energy. Green leaves and vegetables are recommended, as well as dry fruits, dairy products, sesame seeds, etc. Do not have too much junk food or foods that have high sugar content. Also avoid potatoes and bananas, as they may cool down your body. Remember to prevent dehydration by drinking water frequently, as your body might feel dehydrated after the procedure. Consuming warm water is ideal as it can help with digestion and keep the patient hydrated.
- Massages: Pain and cramps can be a problem that patients may deal with post-abortion. Massages can be used to reduce back pain or any kind of body ache to bring more comfort. Mustard or sesame oil, when warm, can be used while massaging. These can help relieve aches and cramps. Your extremities such as your feet should also be massaged post-abortion to encourage your body to generate more heat. Using hot bags can also provide relief and reduce cramps in your body. Hot bags are recommended for use post-abortion.
- Emotional well-being: There are hormonal changes that occur after an abortion that can result in fluctuating and intense emotions. Some women might even deal with depression post-abortion as the social and psychological impact of having an abortion sets in. With proper support from family, friends, and other loved ones, this effect can be mitigated. Counseling should also be considered as it can provide relief from emotional stress. While some may not experience emotional stress and may feel relief at having completed the procedure, others may not react the same way. It is important to take care of your mental health post-abortion. Do not be afraid of reaching out to people when in need of help.
- Follow-up appointments: Take regular visits to your physician or gynecologist for check-ups after the procedure. Do not panic if your menstrual cycle gets delayed as a hormonal imbalance can lead to disruption of the cycle. Proper care and recovery will restore your period cycle to normal in a few weeks.
What side effects are to be expected?
Certain women do not experience all the side effects, and the impact of abortion may differ from one individual to another. It may also depend on the medications used for the abortion. MTP Kit, for instance, contains mifepristone and misoprostol and will have side effects specific to this type of medical abortion. Let us look at some of the normal and common side effects experienced post-abortion:
- Bleeding: Bleeding may last for two to six weeks after an abortion. This will be light spotting and may include blood clots.
- Discharge: Discharge may be mucus-like and brown or black in color. It should not cause discomforts such as pain or itchiness.
- Pain: Pain or cramps are also to be expected as the uterus adjusts to the changes that have occurred. Cramps will be similar to menstrual cramps and can remain for a week or so.
The following are abnormal side effects that should be treated as soon as possible:
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Severe pain or cramps
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Persistent depressive feelings
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge