Q: What happens after the abortion?

On average, people bleed for 9-14 days after an abortion with pills. Some people bleed or pass clots for as long as 4 weeks. After the first few days of more intense bleeding, some people will have little or no bleeding, some will have bleeding that stops and starts, and others will have bleeding similar to a menstrual period for several weeks.

Most people are able to tell that the abortion was successful soon after using the medicines, because pregnancy symptoms disappear quickly and/or they might see the embryonic sac. However, even if the person feels they are not pregnant anymore, it is important to make sure the abortion was successful by either doing an ultrasound about 10 days after the medical abortion or taking a pregnancy test 3-4 weeks after the abortion.

Sometimes the pregnancy test is still positive 3 weeks after taking the medicines because the pregnancy hormones are still in the blood. If that happens, the person should wait a few days and then take another pregnancy test, or  have an ultrasound.

If an ultrasound shows that a person is no longer pregnant but that there are remains in the womb, AND if there are no symptoms of a complication, there is no need for any surgical intervention (D&C, curettage, scraping). It is advised to wait until the body expels the tissues naturally.

The menstrual period should return 4-6 weeks after the abortion.

Although the person’s menstrual period may not return for several weeks, fertility returns to normal right away. If a person does not wish to become pregnant straight after the abortion, it is important that they start using contraceptives immediately. 

Learn more about contraceptive options.