What to Expect After a Surgical Abortion

Take the steps to heal after an abortion.

After your abortion is completed, you may resume most normal activity. However, there are some restrictions that need to be followed to lessen your risk of post-operative complications. This information is to advise you of what to expect and do after an abortion and what to do should the unexpected happen.

Physical Changes

Bleeding after an abortion is normal and the amount and duration of bleeding time varies with each patient. Your experience may vary from no bleeding at all to spotting or bleeding off and on for several weeks.

Since bleeding may be sporadic, wearing a full-size sanitary pad is recommended. The amount is the most important thing to look for. If you are bleeding heavily try to measure the number of pads you use in a certain amount of time, If there are clots that go beyond the pad, try to estimate how many there are and size, i.e. nickel, quarter, silver dollar size.

If your bleeding is heavy (saturating 1 pad in less than an hour for a few hours back to back) call our office immediately. When calling, please have your pharmacy’s phone number ready. If you call at night, we will need the phone number of a 24-hour pharmacy.

A fever of over 100.4 degrees could be an indication of early infection and should be reported to our office immediately. For the first seven days following your termination, take your temperature every morning and every evening. If it goes over 100.4 degrees, please call us immediately. An infection discovered early is easily treated by our doctor.

Call our office immediately if you experience the following:

  • If you are soaking more than 2 maxi pads per hour for 2 hours or more.
  • If you are passing clots larger than a half dollar.
  • If you have cramping which interferes with the activity and is unrelieved by pain medication.
  • If you have a temperature over 100.4 for two readings in a row.
  • If you have an allergic reaction to one of the medications you have been given.

If your breasts become swollen or tender, wear a tight bra (sports bra) and wear the bra while sleeping. You may also use ice packs applied to your breasts for a few minutes twice a day. While this condition may be uncomfortable, it will pass and doesn’t require special medical attention.

Your period should begin in approximately 3 to 6 weeks. It may take your body some time to regulate after the abortion. Your next period may be heavier than usual with more cramping and possible clotting. If you do not get a period within 6 weeks, return to Whole Woman’s Health as soon as possible.

General Information

You must limit your physical activity for two weeks after your procedure. You should avoid any of the following activities as they could cause heavy bleeding or hemorrhaging:

  • Heavy lifting (nothing more than 15 lbs)
  • Running
  • Gym classes or other strenuous activities

In order to reduce your risk of infection you must have NOTHING in your vagina until your follow-up appointment. This means:

  • No tampons (you must use pads for any bleeding)
  • No sexual intercourse
  • No douching
  • No tub baths (showers only)
  • No swimming

At your follow-up appointment, the nurse will let you know when you may resume normal activities.

Pregnancy and Contraception

There is no way to know when you will ovulate after your abortion, so it is possible to become pregnant at any time. A reliable method of contraception is recommended when you resume intercourse to prevent another unwanted pregnancy. Unwanted pregnancies occur for many reasons. The most common are:

  • Failure of contraceptive method
  • Failure of a couple to use contraceptives
  • Lack of knowledge about birth control.

If sexual intercourse is practiced without the use of contraception, there is an 80% probability that pregnancy will occur within a year. We are happy to help you with making a choice of method and giving you samples if possible.

It is very important that you take your medications as prescribed. We will send you home with prescriptions for antibiotics (to prevent infection) and pain medication. Please note that it is normal to experience cramping after the procedure. Cramping should be light to moderate and you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Tylenol, or the prescribed pain medication to relieve the pain.

Do not take aspirin or any products that contain aspirin, as aspirin is a blood thinner and could increase your bleeding. Increased cramps, accompanied by bleeding, may occur 3 to 6 days after your procedure as your hormone level drops. If rash or itching occurs while taking antibiotics, discontinue medication and take Benadryl, over-the-counter, according to the directions. Call our office on the next business day.

If swelling of the throat or tongue occurs or you have difficulty breathing while taking medications, discontinue taking them and go to the emergency room immediately. If vomiting occurs, discontinue medication and call the office on the next business day.

Feelings

After an abortion, some women feel elated and relieved while others feel sad. It is best not to ignore your feelings, but to talk about them with someone you trust. If your feelings become overwhelming for you, you may need professional help. We are happy to provide post-abortion discussion and/or referrals. Please call our office anytime.

We also recommend the following books, which have proven to help many women in your same situation:

  • “The Healing Choice: Your Guide to Emotional Recovery After an Abortion” by Candace De Puy and Dana Dovitch
  • “Peace After Abortion” by Ava Torre-Bueno
  • “Unspeakable Losses: Healing from Miscarriage, Abortion, and Other Pregnancy Loss” by Kim Kluger-Bell

If you need to talk with someone after the abortion, there are several places we recommend:

Post-Operative Exam

It is important that you have a post-operative exam two to three weeks after the procedure. This is the time when we can check to make sure that everything is back to normal, that you don’t have any infections and that the abortion was successful. This is also a good time to discuss contraception and your ongoing GYN care. We recommend that you have this examination with us so that we can be sure to follow through on the care that was started here with your abortion. There is no fee for the post operative exam.

It is our sincerest concern that your experience at Whole Woman’s Health was positive and that you were taken care of in a pleasant and professional manner. Please let a staff person know if there is anything we can do to further assist you.

 

How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

At-home pregnancy tests have 99% accuracy.

Determining if you are pregnant can be a stressful experience. What type of pregnancy test is the best? Can you trust the results? How does the test determine if you are pregnant?

At Whole Woman’s Health, we offer free pregnancy testing to help you answer some of these questions. There are urine tests and blood tests, which can be completed 4-5 days after conception.

Both urine and blood pregnancy tests are looking for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), which appears in the body immediately after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall.

Urine Tests

Urine tests can be completed at home or in a doctor’s office. It is common to take an at-home pregnancy test after a missed period, and before consulting a physician.

Many women worry about the accuracy of at-home urine tests, however they are 99 percent accurate (blood tests are even more accurate).

When taking an at-home test, wait at least one week after a missed period to take it for the most-accurate results. Be sure to follow the instructions included with the test, and take it in the morning, when urine is most-concentrated.

If the pregnancy test shows “positive”, you are pregnant. If you have questions about the test or the results, contact a trusted physician, or feel free to contact our Empower Line at 877-835-1090.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are completed in a doctor’s office, and may be able to detect a pregnancy sooner than a urine test. However, getting the results of the test may take longer than those from a urine test.

There are two types of blood tests to determine a pregnancy: a qualitative hCG test or a quantitative hCG test.

A qualitative hCG test looks to see if hCG is present. It gives a simple yes or no on whether hCG is in the blood. A quantitative hCG test (sometimes called a beta hCG) measures the exact amount of hCG in your blood. It can find even very low levels of hCG.

Because these pregnancy tests can measure the amount of hCG, they may be helpful in tracking problems during pregnancy. They may also (in combination with other tests) be used to rule out a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy or to monitor a woman after a miscarriage when hCG levels fall rapidly.

False-Positive Result

It’s rare, but there are times a pregnancy test will show “positive” as pregnant, when there is no pregnancy. This can be caused by a “chemical pregnancy”, which is a very early misscarriage; medications that put hCG into the body; or an expired pregnancy test.

If you think you are pregnant, need a pregnancy test, or have additional questions, please call our Empower Line at 877-835-1090.

Amy’s Full Testimony Against Neil Gorsuch

Thursday, March 23, Amy Hagstrom Miller of Whole Woman’s Health, Lead Plaintiff in the historic Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt Supreme Court case, testified before a Senate committee on why we must stop Judge Gorsuch. Amy represents abortion providers, women’s health advocates & people across the country who need access to abortion. Below is her testimony:

“I’m speaking on behalf of abortion providers, women’s health, rights and justice advocates, and the people we serve all across the country who deserve access to quality healthcare, delivered with dignity and respect.

I am the founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health. As a company, we were the lead plaintiff in last year’s landmark Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt. I have personally witnessed how decisions made at the high court directly impact the lives of women. I know what happens when politicians find devious ways to deny women’s constitutional rights, and why it is so important to have independent jurists who respect precedent and the rule of law.

I am gravely concerned about the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. In fact, Whole Woman’s Health joined with 54 other reproductive health, rights and justice organizations in a letter to the Senate opposing Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.

The Supreme Court has reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal in the United States for four decades. This hasn’t stopped legislators across the country from establishing roadblocks for women seeking abortion care. According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than 330 restrictive laws have been passed since 2010.

The laws’ impact hit the state of Texas especially hard. Anti-abortion legislators passed HB2 in 2013, shuttering over half the state’s clinics. The law resulted in women being forced to drive hundreds of miles, even across state lines, to access their right to safe and legal abortion.  In some cases, the hurdles were so high women simply took matters into their own hands.

I will never forget the woman who called us from South Texas right after the law went into effect. We told her our clinic had been forced to close, and she now had to drive 250 miles each way to San Antonio. She told us there was no way she could take two days off work, find childcare and the money to drive that far.  She said, ‘I will tell you what is in my medicine cabinet and can you tell me how I can do my own abortion?’

In our country, where abortion has been legal for more than 40 years, no woman should be forced to take matters into her own hands.  Nor should she fear criminalization or jail time if she does.

Would Neil Gorsuch support unnecessary obstacles to our constitutional rights? We need to know.

I also remember the woman who called from West Texas—where every single clinic had been shut down. She too was a single, working mother with three children. We helped her find a clinic, raised money for her abortion, childcare, transportation and her lost wages.  By the time she made it to a Dallas clinic eight weeks later, it was too late to have an abortion in the state of Texas.

Would Neil Gorsuch support laws that limit our constitutional rights to our zip codes? We need to to know.

Last year we took Texas to the Supreme Court and we won; in the final ruling the court called out these and other clinic closure laws for what they are—sham laws that create  obstacles to care with no medical basis behind them.

Sadly, even with our victory, this fight has not ended. Women need to know that if their rights are once again on trial. We need to assure that they will be served by justices who are not beholden to an ideological agenda.

We know President Trump’s litmus test was a justice who would overturn Roe V. Wade. Judge Gorsuch has refused to answer basic questions about his stance on Roe, Whole Woman’s Health, or the right to privacy.

Yet we know in the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah vs. Gary Herbert case, Gorsuch sided with politicians using misinformation and false claims to defund women’s health services. And in the Hobby Lobby Vs. Sebelius contraception case, he supported the notion that corporations are people.

If he would allow politicians to play games with our reproductive rights, how will he treat other rights that come before him?”

Black History Month – 3 Black Women Who Fought for Abortion Access

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Although it may seem like the fight for abortion rights is bigger than ever under the new administration, it has always been an uphill battle. As Black History Month comes to a close, we want to honor three African American women who’ve served as abortion activists – whether in the spotlight or behind-the-scenes – their work is still felt today.

Florynce Kennedy

Known to many as “Flo”, Florynce Kennedy was the author of “Abortion Rap”, and called the biggest, loudest, and the rudest activist by People magazine in 1974. She was an American lawyer, feminist, civil rights advocate, lecturer and activist from Kansas City, Missouri.

She moved to New York City so she could attend the Columbia University School of General Studies and majored in pre-law. In her autobiography, she wrote about being refused admission to the law school, not because she was black, but because she was a woman. When she threatened to sue the university, she was admitted and later became one of the first black women to graduate from Columbia Law School.

Less than 20 years after graduating, she sued the Roman Catholic Church for interference with abortion. A year later, she organized a group of feminist lawyers to challenge the constitutionality of New York State’s abortion law, which was credited with helping influence the Legislature to liberalize abortion in 1970.

Read more about Florynce Kennedy.

Byllye Avery

Byllye Avery served as a lifelong activist, and was the founder of several organizations for women’s health, including the National Black Women’s Health Project in 1983 (today, it’s the Black Women’s Health Imperative), the Gainesville Women’s Health Center in 1974, and she cofounded Birthplace, an alternative birthing center. She was also a leader in the underground abortion referral network in Florida.

In 2002, she founded The Avery Institute for Social Change – a non-profit organization based in Harlem, NY that is committed to quality health care for all. Currently she is a clinical professor at Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and an advisor to the National Institutes of Health.

Read more about Byllye Avery.

Dorothy Roberts

Dorothy Roberts is a University of Pennsylvania Professor, and has been a pioneer in the reproductive justice movement.

Although birth control, the morning-after pill, and abortions were available while Roberts was in college, she recognized the struggle women faced in other communities in order to access abortion.

For her, abortion has never been controversial, and she has always been surprised to see backlash from the decision in Roe v. Wade. She believed so much that women should have the right to reproductive healthcare that she became a lawyer.

Roberts has talked to the press about her belief that access to reproductive health means that all women are given the same access – and laws such as the Hyde Amendment, which denies federal funding for women who cannot afford an abortion – do not allow for all women to have equal access.

Read more about Dorothy Roberts.

Our favorite 2016 moments!

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Let’s face it, 2016 sucked. Despite the chaos, it is necessary to remember the good things that happened – to keep us grounded and to keep us motivated about going forward in 2017.

 

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Our victory at the Supreme Court!

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt was the biggest abortion rights case in our generation. This small, independent, woman-owned, woman-led organization took the bullies all the way to the nation’s highest court, and WON!

 

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We helped #ScrapTRAP in Virginia!

After our SCOTUS victory, The Virginia Board of Health said so-long to similar anti-abortion restrictions.

 

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8 states used our SCOTUS win to reverse anti-abortion restrictions!

Virginia wasn’t the only state to do away with sham, anti-abortion restrictions! Other states, take note – the burden is UNDUE.

 

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Our hard working staff getting to celebrate our #SCOTUS win!

Our staff in Texas has dealt with many ups and downs during the 3-year journey to the Supreme Court. We were able to celebrate with our staff and community members in our McAllen, San Antonio, and Fort Worth clinics.

 

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Texas Truth Tour

We were able to go to communities all across Texas that would have been negatively impacted by HB2 and listen to community leaders speak truth to what was at stake in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

 
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Abortion Story Telling

Wether it was 100 lawyers sharing their abortion stories in an amicus brief, or people sharing their story online with the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag, we absolutely loved the brave and stigma-busting act of sharing these stories loud and unapologetically.

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Samantha Bee, John Oliver, and other funny figures exposing anti-abortion nonsense.

It is hard to keep up with anti-abortion rules and legislation. It seems like every day there is something new and horrible that our opposition is throwing at us. We’re thankful to comedians like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Trevor Noah and Seth Myers who made this information accessible to their audiences and making us laugh along the way.

 

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NNAF Rebrand: Fund Abortion, Build Power

National Network of Abortion Funds had a rebrand and we are excited to see what great things they will accomplish in 2017! Their intersectional vision and their amazing leadership that centers marginalized identities is making the Reproductive Justice movement stronger.

 

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TRAPPED the documentary.

TRAPPED, the award-winning documentary by Dawn Porter was able to tell the stories of 3 independent abortion providers (including Whole Woman’s Health) dealing with anti-abortion restrictions in the south. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is now available on Netflix!

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Fighting back for our patients.

Texas sneakily introduced a new anti-abortion rule just four days after our Supreme Court victory. We aren’t having it. Our Supreme Court victory gives a strong ground to stand on that we didn’t have before and we are taking the bullies back to court.

We will keep fighting for our patients’ respect and dignity.

 

Statement from Amy Hagstrom Miller on Today’s Temporary Restraining Order Hearing for Texas Healthcare Providers

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We find ourselves back in court, just months after our victory at the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. This time it’s because Texas has put forward new medically unnecessary rules that would require all women who have an abortion or receive treatment for a miscarriage at any healthcare facility to have to bury or cremate embryonic tissue. This restriction, just like the many before it, all across our nation, does not create any health benefit for women and is strictly designed to limit access to safe, quality abortion care.

 

So today, with the lead from the Center for Reproductive Rights, we asked Judge Sparks for a temporary restraining order to block the rule from going into effect on Monday, December 19th. Judge Sparks expressed skepticism about the new rules being about the health and safety of women, and felt like it was a reaction from our victory at the Supreme Court under Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. He suspended the ruling from going into effect until January 6th, which will be after the scheduled trial, January 3-4th, 2017 in Austin, TX.

 

We will keep saying it over and over again: Women deserve better. We’re confident that our recent victory at the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt gives us strong ground to stand as we continue to fight these coerced mandates from overzealous politicians that strip personal decisions away from women and families.

 

 

For press inquiries, please email wwhpress@wholewomanshealth.com

We’re standing up against the bullies

 

 

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Today, we stood up to the bullies again because women deserve better.

 

Texas’ profound disrespect of women’s health and dignity apparently has no bounds with this recent attack on women. This latest attempt is an end run game to add restrictions on abortion care and ignored thousands of people’s testimony and comments. Whole Woman’s Health has a history of fighting restrictions that are deeply rooted in shaming and stigmatizing Texans and today’s filing is no different.

 

We will not stand for Texas putting more undue burdens on women and families who deserve the safe and compassionate abortion care that we provide at Whole Woman’s Health.

We need your help to ensure women have the dignity to continue making their own healthcare decisions. Donate $25 to support our culture change work in Texas.

It is not the business of politicians to regulate people’s bedrooms, families, bodies or the rituals and beliefs people have in their own lives. Politicians have no place stepping into the private decisions Texans make during their healthcare experiences. 

 

We will not sit idly by as the state tries to dictate how your abortion should be for you. Join Us.  

DONATE to support our culture change work around abortion.

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