The abortion pill is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy. However, some women worry that it may lead to long-term health complications. Being informed about the physical and emotional changes to expect after a medical abortion is important for women considering having the procedure. In this article, we'll talk about what changes to expect after a medical abortion and what to do to have a safe and fast recovery.
Women going through a medical abortion may experience various physical and emotional symptoms.
Symptoms of a medical abortion includes cramping and bleeding, and can also include complicated emotions and mood changes.
It can take from a few days to a few weeks for hormones to return to pre-pregnancy levels.
Understanding how to take care of yourself and what to look out for after a medical abortion is critical to having a safe and fast recovery.
Abortion pill & mood changes
Taking abortion pills can cause wide-ranging emotional responses, ranging from sadness and regret to relief and empowerment. Some people feel a sense of clarity throughout, while others may experience complicated mixed feelings. It is important to practice self-care and seek support from friends and family.
Help lines are available where abortion services are available for those who need them. It is also essential to talk to a medical professional about any mood changes you may be experiencing before, during, and after the abortion pill procedure.
Weight loss after taking the abortion pill
The abortion pill doesn't directly cause weight gain. However, weight gain during pregnancy occurs due to the hormonal changes experienced during that period. Pregnancy hormones can remain present for days to weeks after an abortion. While the abortion pill is safe and effective, listen to your doctor's recommendations on how to take care of yourself before and after using it.
For many, it may be acceptable to return to regular activities shortly after having an abortion. Always consult a healthcare professional before drastically changing your diet or exercise routine. In addition, if you find that a healthy diet and exercise are not reducing your weight, reach out to your doctor to evaluate for hormonal imbalances.
Managing hormones after the abortion
After the abortion pill, it is expected to experience changes in hormone levels that can leave a person feeling emotional and out of balance. For example, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months for levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) — a hormone produced during pregnancy — to decrease to pre-pregnancy levels. Understanding the effects of abrupt hormone changes and how best to manage them is important.
Consulting with a healthcare provider, engaging in activities that bring peace of mind, such as yoga or meditation, and getting adequate rest are all strategies to consider for those struggling with hormonal changes after an abortion. Other helpful tips may include maintaining a balanced diet, staying away from alcohol and drugs, and participating in therapy sessions.
What are the risks of having a medical abortion?
The abortion pill is generally a safe procedure that can be used to end a pregnancy. However, the procedure's side effects and resulting hormone fluctuation can cause various physical and psychological side effects.
- Physical effects. An abortion pill usually induces the natural abortion process by impairing progesterone production — a hormone required for maintaining pregnancy. Estrogen levels will also drop right away. This can lead to cramping, bleeding, nausea and fatigue.
- Psychological effects. Common symptoms of resulting from hormone fluctuations and the nature of the procedure itself can include rapid changes in mood, depression, anxiety and more.
Taking care of yourself after a medical abortion
You should follow your doctor's instructions to ensure a safe and fast recovery after a medical abortion. Depending on your symptoms, this may include taking medication for pain and making time for rest. Take it slow when returning to your regular activities, paying close attention to how your body may feel. Be sure to eat healthily, maintain a well-rounded diet, and remain hydrated.
While hormones typically fluctuate, any concern about changes that persist or are unusual should be discussed with an expert. Symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety can mean that additional help may be needed. Always contact a healthcare professional for support if you have any prolonged symptoms and concerns.
Although medical abortion is a safe and effective procedure, it is normal to experience physical and emotional changes during recovery. Knowing these changes will help you better understand what your body is going through and manage any symptoms that arise.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Abortion Care.
- BMJ. Abortion.
- Current Psychiatry Reviews. Neurobiological underpinnings of the estrogen - mood relationship.
- International Journal of Women's Health. Exploring the relationship between maternal circulating hormones and gestational weight gain in women without obesity: A cross-sectional study.
- Obstetrics and Gynecology. Human chorionic gonadotropin in maternal plasma after induced abortion, spontaneous abortion, and removed ectopic pregnancy.
Show all references
- Lancet. Mifepristone and misoprostol versus misoprostol alone for the management of missed miscarriage (MifeMiso): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
- SAGE Journals. The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities.