What Workouts Can I Do After an Abortion?

Woman performing gentle workout after an abortion

So, you’ve had an abortion and now it’s time to get back to your daily life and hit the gym, right? Well, not quite. After an abortion, you’ll likely experience some minor side effects like bleeding, cramping, and emotional changes, all of which can impact your ability to engage in physical activity. While most people can return to their daily activities within a day or two of an abortion, things like intense exercise may take a little more time. This article will explore what you can expect after an abortion and what forms of exercise are safe.

What can I expect after an abortion?

Almost everyone experiences some kind of side effects after taking abortion pills. In particular, bleeding, discharge, and cramping are all very normal in the days and weeks following an abortion. While these issues are not usually serious, they may affect your day-to-day life. For example, these side effects may impact when and how you start working out again. Let’s review what you can expect.


Bleeding is very normal while undergoing an abortion and in the weeks following one. After an abortion with pills, bleeding or spotting are healthy indicators of abortion success. In the two to six weeks after an abortion, you may see dark brown, spotty blood or clots. After a Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) some people might not experience any bleeding, or only a little bleeding, in the first few days after the procedure. In the following days, as your hormones start to change and adjust post-abortion, the bleeding can become heavier, similar to a period.

If you soak through two regular pads in an hour for two hours in a row (for example, four soaked pads in two hours) after you think you’ve passed the pregnancy, this is considered very heavy bleeding, and you should seek medical help (1).

Pain and cramping

Cramping can occur both during an abortion and afterwards. During an abortion, cramping can occur as the pregnancy contents are expelled from the body. Afterwards, cramping happens as a result of the uterus returning to its regular size. This sensation may feel similar to menstrual cramps and can worsen around the third day post-abortion. You can help ease the pain by drinking warm liquids, taking ibuprofen, or using a heating pad.

Mental health

The abortion experience will be different for everyone, particularly with regards to the emotions you feel during and afterwards. Some individuals will feel relief and elation, while others may feel some sadness. Usually, these feelings are the result of hormonal changes as your body normalizes post-pregnancy, so they may be short-lived (1).

When can I start exercising again?

Many individuals may be eager to get back to their normal day to day after having an abortion, including working out. However, the typical side effects of an abortion, like bleeding, pain, cramping, and emotional changes, may mean you need to take a few days off.

Most people will choose to take at least one or two days to fully rest and recover before reverting back to their typical activity levels. It’s important to listen to your body and give it what it needs during this time. Even if you are feeling normal, it is best to avoid intense workouts in the week following your abortion. This is because increased activity can worsen side effects such as bleeding and cramping. Additionally, some side effects like breast tenderness and swelling can persist for as much as two weeks (1).

What workouts can I do after an abortion?

If you have given your body adequate time to rest and recover after an abortion, you can begin to work out again. But what types of exercise can you do?
If you are feeling better and want to get active within the first week following your abortion, opt for lower-impact exercises like walking, yoga, or stretching. Avoid overly strenuous exercise and movements that could put strain on your recovering body. Starting off slow and gradually building up to your normal activity levels is the best approach. If you experience any pain or bleeding while exercising, stop your workout and prioritize rest.

If after a week you are feeling back to normal physically, you can start incorporating higher-intensity or higher-impact workouts. Again, listen to your body if you feel any discomfort, and stop if you need to. Your body just went through a big change, and now is not the time to push your limits.


In summary, you can expect to experience minor side effects like bleeding, cramping, and emotional changes after an abortion. It is advised that you eat and drink well. It’s ideal to have some food in your stomach as the bleeding might make you feel tired.

The duration and extent of these side effects will vary amongst different individuals. Thus, some people may need more time to recover, while others may bounce back quickly.

When it comes to exercise, avoid intense workouts in the week following an abortion. If you still want to be active, opting for things like walking or yoga can be helpful. If after a week you are feeling well physically, you can begin to incorporate your typical workouts back into your routine.

  1. “Caring for Yourself After an Abortion.” Planned Parenthood, www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-michigan/healthcare/abortion-services/caring-for-yourself-after-an-abortion. Accessed May 2024.