How to Take Care of Yourself After an Abortion

Having an abortion may have turned out to be more challenging than you expected it to be, and self-care is critically important afterward.

If you are recovering from a medical or surgical abortion, you are not alone. Research reveals that in the United States, 24% of women aged 15 to 44 years will have an abortion by age 45.

What can you do to improve your healing process after an abortion? Read on to learn more about how to care for yourself physically and emotionally while you are recovering from an abortion.

How to Take Care of Yourself After an Abortion 

Whether you had a medical or surgical abortion, self-care is essential so you can recover and thrive. Self-care during this time includes resting, drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthy foods, and incorporating anything healthy and comforting to you. 

If you were prescribed antibiotics, take all the pills until they are gone to prevent infection. And take antinausea and pain medication as directed. 

Remember that you can get pregnant very quickly after an abortion, so take precautions to prevent another unexpected pregnancy. 

You are valuable and deserve to care for yourself physically and emotionally.

1. How to Care for Yourself Physically After Abortion 

After an abortion, you need to know which physical side effects are expected and which symptoms indicate a complication requiring immediate medical attention. First, we will discuss common side effects after abortion and how to take care of yourself if you experience them. 

  • Bleeding

Some women have minimal bleeding after a surgical abortion because surgical instruments are used on the uterine lining. But on average, post-abortion bleeding lasts 14 days and can last as long as six weeks. Passing small blood clots is normal, and you may notice that bleeding increases if you are more active.

Try to physically get as much rest as you can for the first day or two after an abortion. Also, avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for about one week.

Use pads for the bleeding since most healthcare professionals recommend not putting anything into your vagina for two weeks, including tampons. This is to prevent infection while waiting for your cervix to close after having an abortion.

  • Cramping

Your uterus needs to return to its pre-pregnancy size, so uncomfortable cramping is normal after an abortion.

For cramping relief, you can take Ibuprofen or Tylenol as directed. Do not take aspirin because it can increase bleeding. A heating pad on your abdomen can also relieve cramping pain. 

Uterine massage is another effective way to alleviate cramping. To do uterine massage, press the palm of your hand into your abdomen and rub in a circular motion.

Post-abortion cramping can come and go for about 7 to 10 days. As with post-abortion bleeding, cramps may increase with activity so listen to your body and pace yourself.

  • Nausea/Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting for the first 24 hours after abortion is common and may also be accompanied by diarrhea.  

To help with these symptoms, you can eat small, bland, starchy meals such as dry toast or crackers. It may also help to have beverages on hand with extra electrolytes.

The following symptoms are NOT normal after an abortion. If you experience them, seek out medical care immediately.

  • Heavy bleeding: soaking two or more maxi pads an hour for two hours or passing clots larger than a golf ball for two hours or more
  • Severe abdominal or back pain: pain not relieved with pain medication
  • Fever over 100.4°: may indicate a serious infection that has spread to your bloodstream or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Odorous vaginal discharge: a sign of infection
  • Nausea and vomiting for more than 24 hours after the abortion:
  • You still have pregnancy symptoms two weeks after the abortion: could indicate a failed abortion if you are still experiencing signs of pregnancy two weeks after your abortion

2. How to Care for Yourself Emotionally After Abortion

There is not a correct way to feel after an abortion. Feelings of relief, sadness, or a combination of many conflicting emotions are normal. You have not only just made one of the most difficult decisions you have ever faced, but your body is experiencing physical symptoms as your hormone levels shift suddenly, which can cause you to feel extra emotional.

Research indicates that abortion is associated with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders compared to women without a history of abortion. If you notice that you are having difficulty coping after an abortion, help is available for you. If a supportive family member or friend is not available, there are other resources to get the help you need.

Push yourself to reach out for help – even if you may not feel like seeking support at the moment. The sooner you can address post-abortion emotional difficulties, the quicker you can get on your path to recovery.

You can reach confidential hotlines for mental health support at SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or via text message: 435748 (HELP4U). It is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year information service in English and Spanish.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself, take it seriously and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. What you are feeling is temporary, and with compassionate support and over time things will improve!

Need Support After Abortion?

If you think you might be unexpectedly pregnant or need support after abortion, Willow Womens Center is here for you. From the moment you walk into our center, you will recognize an atmosphere of care that will never include judgment for any decision you make – or have already made. Instead, our role is to compassionately come alongside you and provide you with the answers you need so you can take informed next steps for yourself.

You will never be charged for any services we offer at Willow Womens Center. Pregnancy testing, education, ultrasounds, and STI testing are all at no cost to you and designed to empower you.

Get the caring support you deserve and make your confidential appointment today.


What Are the Different Types of Abortion?

Have you discovered you are pregnant, but you were not expecting it? Many women understand what you are going through because 45% – nearly half – of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Deciding what to do about an unexpected pregnancy may be one of the most difficult decisions you have ever faced. And educating yourself about each pregnancy option, including parenting, adoption, and abortion, is crucial. It helps you make a decision without regret, one that you can look back on years down the road and know that you made the best decision for yourself with the right information.

If you are considering abortion, it is good to have all the facts before moving forward, so we are glad you are here. Read on to learn about the different types of abortion, when they are typically offered, and potential risks.

What Are the Different Types of Abortion?

There are two types of abortion available: medical abortion and surgical abortion. A healthcare provider will consider factors such as your health and how far along you are in your pregnancy to know which abortion option is available to you for your specific situation.

We will discuss each type of abortion next to help you understand them better.

Medical Abortion

You may have heard a medical abortion referred to as a medication abortion, the abortion pill, or RU-486, but they are all terms used to describe an abortion using medication rather than a surgical procedure.

When can you have a medical abortion?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the abortion pill for medical abortions up to seventy days since the first day of your last period (LMP).

Are there reasons medical abortion is not an option?

Yes, there are situations when a healthcare professional may tell you that you cannot have a medical abortion.

Medical abortion is not an option if you:

  • Are being pressured or coerced into having an abortion.
  • Do not have access to medical care in case of complications.
  • Are too far along in your pregnancy.
  • Have a pregnancy outside of your uterus, such as an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Have an intrauterine device (IUD).
  • Have an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • Are allergic to abortion medications.
  • Have certain medical conditions.
  • Take certain medications like blood thinners or steroids.

What happens during a medical abortion?

During a medical abortion, you will take two different medications: mifepristone and misoprostol.

You will first take mifepristone to block your body from producing the progesterone hormone. Blocking progesterone causes the embryo’s heart to stop beating and it will detach from the uterine lining.

The second medication, misoprostol, is taken approximately 24 hours later. Misoprostol causes your uterus to contract, so the embryo is expelled to end the pregnancy.

According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms during a medical abortion may include:

  • Heavy uterine cramps
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding, including blood clots
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Low-grade fever (under 101°)
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore breasts
  • Drowsiness
  • Visualizing the gestational sac or embryo when it passes

Surgical Abortion

A surgical abortion is performed in a clinic or hospital. There are three different types of surgical abortions, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Surgical abortions include vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C), and dilation and evacuation (D&E).

1. Vacuum aspiration abortion

A vacuum aspiration abortion is used during the first trimester of pregnancy (the first twelve weeks), and it is the most common surgical abortion procedure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 91% of women have abortions at thirteen weeks of pregnancy or less.

Some clinics use the vacuum aspiration procedure up to 14-16 weeks after the first day of your last period.

The procedure takes about ten to fifteen minutes to perform. Manual aspiration involves the use of a specially designed syringe to apply suction. When using a machine vacuum, a thin tube (cannula) is attached by tubing to a bottle and a pump, which provides a vacuum. The cannula is passed into the uterus, the pump is turned on, and the tissue is removed from the uterus.

Both approaches may also involve the use of a cervical dilator inserted into the cervix the day before the procedure to dilate (open) the cervix. Antibiotics may be given as well to prevent infection.

2. D&C abortion

A D&C abortion is usually performed between twelve and fifteen weeks of pregnancy. During a D&C abortion, curette instruments are used after vacuum aspiration to remove anything remaining in your uterus. A D&C abortion also takes about ten to fifteen minutes.

3. D&E abortion

Once you are beyond sixteen weeks of pregnancy, the clinic or hospital will typically perform a D&E abortion.

Your cervix needs to be prepared before the procedure, so the provider will insert dilating sticks called laminaria into your cervix the day before a D&E abortion.

On the day of the D&E abortion, numbing medication is used, and your cervix will be stretched open further with dilating rods. This is done since the fetus is larger and needs room to pass.

The provider then uses a combination of suction, curettes, and forceps to complete the abortion. The D&E abortion lasts about thirty minutes.

You may go home with pain medication and antibiotics after any type of surgical abortion.

What Are the Risks Associated With Having an Abortion?

Abortion risks increase the further along you are in your pregnancy. Before moving forward with any medication or procedure, it is important to do your research. For a medical or surgical abortion, possible risks include:

  • Life-threatening infection
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Hemorrhage (excessive bleeding)
  • Incomplete abortion, requiring another procedure
  • Future infertility – inability to get pregnant when ready or to carry a pregnancy to term successfully
  • Mental health challenges

When To Seek Medical Attention After an Abortion

Trust your gut. If you are concerned about anything at all, speak with a healthcare professional.

Seek immediate medical attention after an abortion if you:

  • Have pain worse than a period or when the pain is not alleviated by over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Have a fever over 100.4° or flu-like symptoms.
  • Are passing clots larger than a golf ball.
  • Are soaking two maxi pads every hour for two consecutive hours.
  • Vomit for more than four hours.
  • Have increased vaginal discharge or odorous discharge.
  • Still feel pregnant a week or two after the abortion.

Get the Support You Deserve

Coping with an unexpected pregnancy can be scary and hard. At Willow Womens Center, we offer compassionate medical care and support during this challenging time.

Our licensed healthcare professionals are here to provide pregnancy medical services that will give you the answers you need to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

Contact us today for your confidential appointment.


Abortion Pill Online: What are the Risks?
abortion pill online what are the risks

Scared. It is a feeling women facing an unexpected pregnancy share. Know that you are not alone if you have discovered you are pregnant and are fearful and confused about what to do next.

Since you are reading this, it means you are educating yourself, and we applaud you for that. You have pregnancy options that you may not have considered, and you are here seeking answers.

During your internet research, you may have come across the possibility of purchasing the abortion pill online. And perhaps you thought to yourself, “This sounds easy!” 

American women have been purchasing abortion pills online from other countries for several years because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed it illegal to obtain them over the internet. But, in April 2021, the FDA stated that they would use discretion to enforce their safeguards during the pandemic by allowing telehealth visits and mail-order abortion pills.

The FDA’s ruling opened doors for women in many states to receive the abortion pill online without seeing a healthcare provider in person.

But is it safe? Accurate information is power, so read on to learn more.

What Is the Abortion Pill?

Medical abortion (or medication abortion) and surgical abortion are two ways to end an unwanted pregnancy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the abortion pill for medical abortions up to seventy days since the first day of your last period (LMP). 

The term “abortion pill” sounds like you are only taking one pill. But in reality, a medical abortion requires taking multiple pills of two different abortion medications; mifepristone and misoprostol.

The first abortion medication, mifepristone, is taken to block progesterone. When progesterone is blocked, the uterine lining breaks down, and the embryo’s heart stops beating.

The second medication, misoprostol, is taken approximately 24 hours later. Misoprostol causes the embryo to detach from the uterus and be expelled by producing heavy uterine cramping.

Risks of Medical Abortion

Online purchase of abortion pills is marketed to women in crisis as an easy solution. Some providers attempt to lure you in by claiming that a medical abortion is nice to have in the comfort of your own home or that it is safer than taking Tylenol. But these claims can be misleading. You deserve a complete picture to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

At first glance, just taking some medication seems so much easier than a surgical procedure, but there are known side effects and risks to consider.

When you take abortion pills, your medical abortion happens at home, which can feel scary if you are not prepared for the possible side effects, including:

  • Visualizing the gestational sac/pregnancy pass
  • Painful uterine and abdominal cramps
  • Back pain
  • Heavy bleeding and passing blood clots
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low-grade fever (under 100.4°)
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Sore breasts
  • Fatigue

In addition to unpleasant side effects, there are also serious risks needing medical attention to consider, and they could include:

  • Incomplete abortion requiring a follow-up surgical abortion
  • Heavy bleeding that doesn’t stop
  • High fever
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • An undetected ectopic pregnancy (a medical emergency)
  • Future infertility
  • Death

Now that you understand the risks of taking abortion pills, we will discuss the added risks of purchasing abortion pills online.

Risks of Purchasing Abortion Pills Online

Purchasing abortion pills online means you do not have an opportunity to be examined by a licensed healthcare provider. As a result, you are put at greater risk for complications by prescribing abortion medications without having all the necessary information obtained by ultrasound.

Here are four risks of purchasing abortion pills online.

  1. You could be further along in your pregnancy than you think.

The FDA has approved abortion pills for up to ten weeks of pregnancy because the need for medical care from complications increases the further along you are. However, the only accurate way to know how many weeks pregnant you are is by ultrasound.

Whether you speak to a healthcare provider through telehealth or not at all, you are left relying on the dates of your menstrual period to determine how far along you are. This information can be inaccurate for several reasons:

  • You may have counted implantation bleeding as a period, causing you to be several weeks further into your pregnancy than you realized.
  • You ovulated earlier in your cycle than expected. If your periods are irregular, it is more difficult to predict when you conceived, and your pregnancy could be further along.

2. You could have a non-viable pregnancy.

A viable pregnancy has a reasonable chance of ending in a live birth. A non-viable pregnancy has zero chance of survival, and it is more common than you might think. Up to 20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage, so do not risk putting yourself through a medical abortion if it is not necessary.

Only an ultrasound can tell you if your pregnancy is viable or not.

3. You will not know if you have an ectopic pregnancy.

An ectopic pregnancy happens outside of the uterus, most often in a fallopian tube. An ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed by ultrasound, but if it isn’t detected, the fallopian tube can burst, and this is a life-threatening emergency.

Taking abortion pills can mask the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy because you are told to expect pain during a medical abortion. This may cause you not to realize that you need immediate medical care because you think the pain is abortion-related rather than a medical emergency.

4. You cannot know what you are purchasing.

You have no way of knowing for sure where abortion pills are coming from when you purchase them online. Therefore, it is impossible to know if they are safe, effective, or made from quality ingredients.

You Are Valuable

You are too valuable to be put at risk. At Willow Womens Center, we offer the no-cost pregnancy services you deserve, so you can be confident that you have made your decision with accurate information regardless of what you decide.

Contact us today for your confidential appointment. Willow Womens Center is judgment-free, and you can trust that you will be treated with dignity and compassion.


How I Can Help My Partner After an Abortion
How I Can Help My Partner After an Abortion

After much research and soul-searching, your partner decided that this was not the time to continue her pregnancy, and she had an abortion. Even if she was confident about her abortion choice, you see that her recovery is not easy and she is trying to take care of herself. You are going through your own process of coping with the abortion, and you still compassionately wonder how you can help your partner.

The first step is to understand what she is going through, so keep reading to learn more about her experience and practical ways to help.

How Your Partner Might Feel After an Abortion

Immediately following a surgical abortion or medical abortion, your partner may feel a sense of relief together with uncomfortable physical symptoms. As time goes on, emotional difficulties may set in. Here is what you can expect your partner to feel soon after a medical or surgical abortion:

  • Pain: Cramping after abortion is normal because it helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. Cramping can last for one to two weeks.
  • Nausea: Nausea and diarrhea are common after an abortion.
  • Bleeding: It’s normal for your partner to pass small clots and bleed for one to two weeks after the abortion. She may experience spotting for longer.
  • Tiredness: Your partner has been through much physically and emotionally after an abortion, contributing to fatigue that can last a few days.
  • Emotional highs and lows: Your partner may feel a complicated combination of relief and sadness. This can be partly due to the sharp hormonal drop that occurs after an abortion. If she had a medical abortion at home and could visualize the pregnancy, that can also contribute.

Some partners may also suffer from long-term effects if they had abortion complications. Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) is a common syndrome that affects both women and men who have been affected by an abortion, and help is available.

Now that we have discussed how your partner might be feeling after an abortion, you might be wondering how you can help.

Ways You Can Help Your Partner After an Abortion

If there is a time when your partner needs to feel safely cared for, it is now — after her abortion. Here are examples of how you can help:

1. Offer practical support

  • Ask what kind of help is most supportive for her.
  • Ask if she wants to be alone or prefers your company.
  • Offer pain medication, a heating pad, and extra pillows to increase her comfort.
  • Bring her food and water.
  • If there are other children, arrange care for them so you can be available for her.
  • Run errands as needed.
  • Bring her to follow-up appointments.
  • Watch for signs of complications needing medical attention.

2. Offer emotional support

  • Be emotionally present.
  • Do something special for her or with her (give a gift or do something she loves).
  • Ask her how she is feeling.
  • Listen actively.
  • Be sensitive to her experience and patient with the healing process.
  • Watch for signs that she needs professional mental health support.
  • Willow Women’s Center Can Help

Willow Womens Center offers no-cost medical services if you and your partner are facing an unexpected pregnancy or considering abortion. Reach out online or call 608-312-2025 today for your confidential appointment and get the answers you deserve.


Are There Risks to Taking the RU486 Pill?

Finding out you are unexpectedly pregnant is scary, and a flurry of questions flood your thoughts. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, it is common to feel as though your world is crashing down around you.

You have tough decisions to make, ranging from where to turn for the help you need and whether or not you will continue your pregnancy. It is critical to thoroughly explore all pregnancy options available to you, which usually include parenting, adoption, and abortion, depending on how far along you are. As you gather facts about abortion, it is important to understand each procedure as well as its risks.

If it has been ten weeks or less since your last period, medical abortion might be an option for you. In this article, we will answer the question, “Are there risks to taking the RU-486 pill?” In short, all procedures and medications come with side effects and risks, including the RU-486 pill. Read on to learn more about medical abortion, RU-486, and potential risks.

What You Should Know About Medical Abortion

The RU-486 pill, also called mifepristone, is used for medical abortions, and it is one of the two medications used together that end pregnancies at home without surgery or anesthesia. The two drugs used in medical abortions are mifepristone (RU-486) and misoprostol. They can be used up to ten weeks of pregnancy.

During a medical abortion, you typically take the first medication, RU-486 (mifepristone), in a healthcare setting. Mifepristone blocks progesterone, which is required for the embryo to stay attached to the uterine lining.

Approximately 24–48 hours after taking the first set of pills, you will take the second medication, misoprostol, at home. That produces contractions (heavy cramps) to expel the pregnancy from your uterus.

Contractions and bleeding usually begin 2–4 hours after taking the second medication. It can take several hours for your body to expel the pregnancy. During that time, you can anticipate to:

  • See large clots – the size of a lemon
  • Feel nauseated or experience vomiting
  • Have diarrhea
  • Have a low-grade fever and chills
  • See the expelled fetus if you are more than eight weeks pregnant

The abortion itself can take as long as several days to occur and is usually followed by up to three weeks of bleeding or spotting. If you were given antibiotics, it is critical that you take them all as directed and return to your doctor or clinic for a follow-up visit two weeks later. At this appointment, the doctor can verify that the pregnancy was ended and make sure there are no other medical complications such as an incomplete abortion or infection.

After a medical abortion, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding (soaking two or more pads per hour or more than 12 hours in a row)
  • Passing blood clots larger than the size of a lemon for more than two hours
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • A fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Vomiting for more than 6 hours
  • Diarrhea for more than 24 hours
  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad

Risks Associated With RU-486

As we discussed above, all medications have risks, and there are possible risks to taking the RU 486 pill as well, including:

  • Incomplete abortion – An incomplete abortion means the pregnancy is still in place and did not respond to the drugs. Heavy bleeding, hemorrhage, a drop in blood pressure, and anemia could happen as a result. If this happens, a surgical abortion is required because of the failure to complete the abortion medically. If you do not follow-up with a surgical abortion, the pregnancy could continue.
  • Damage to the uterus – Rupturing or tearing of the uterus has been reported when the RU-486 pill has been used after the eighth week of pregnancy. This damage can cause severe bleeding, death, or require a hysterectomy.
  • Infection and septic shock – The risks of infection and septic shock are potentially life-threatening after a medical abortion. Sepsis is a medical emergency that occurs when an infection enters your bloodstream. The most common causes of septic shock after medical abortion are pregnancy tissue remaining in the uterus and uterine infection.
  • Severe pain – The misoprostol medication used in combination with RU-486 causes uterine cramping to expel the pregnancy, which can cause severe pain. The majority of women experience this pain.

Can I Take RU-486?  

Your healthcare provider is the only one who can tell you if you can take RU-486 after examining you. Yet, Mayo Clinic discusses several situations where you cannot take RU-486 for a medical abortion, including if:

  1. Your pregnancy is too far along. If your last period was more than ten weeks ago, you cannot take RU-486.
  •  You have an intrauterine device (IUD) still in place.
  • You have a pregnancy outside of your uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
  • You have certain medical conditions, including bleeding disorders, heart or blood vessel diseases, severe liver, kidney, lung disease, or an uncontrolled seizure disorder.
  • You take a blood thinner or steroid medications.
  • You do not have access to follow-up care or emergency care.
  • You have an allergy to the medications used.

If you are not a candidate for taking RU-486, your healthcare provider may recommend a surgical abortion instead.

Visit Us for a No-Cost Pregnancy Test

At Willow Womens Center, we understand how difficult it is to face an unplanned pregnancy. Our compassionate advocates and licensed medical professionals are here to help you through this time in your life.

At our clinic, we can offer you a no-cost, medical-grade pregnancy test to confirm your at-home results and a no-cost ultrasound, so you will know how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable. Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screening may also be offered at no cost. This is an important part of the appointment, especially if you are considering an abortion.

We believe in supporting you, empowering you, giving you the critical information you need, and answering your questions. We want to make sure you have everything you need to make the best decision for you and your future.

Let us be your first step. We invite you to make an appointment today to see us. Your health and well-being come first.