Self-Care After a Manual Vacuum Aspiration Abortion (MVA)



By the safe2choose counseling team

Anyone seeking safe abortion counseling and information about how to take care of themselves after an in-clinic abortion – such as a Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) – can access these services free of charge from safe2choose.

An abortion is a personal experience that gives you the opportunity to prioritise self-care. Every abortion is unique. It’s common to experience many emotions, all of which are valid. Our team of female counselors is here to support people all over the world who may need abortion information and services, including pre- and post-abortion care.

According to Ipas’ Woman-Centered Postabortion Care Reference Manual, everyone has the right to prompt, high-quality post-abortion medical care and counseling, whether the abortion was spontaneous or induced and regardless of the legal status of the abortion.

There are different methods of abortion available, depending on the gestational age of your pregnancy, the country you live in, and the method that you feel most comfortable with. Our pregnancy calculator page can help you decide on the best method.

In this blog, we focus on MVA, which is a very safe method of in-clinic abortion for pregnancies in the first trimester, and/or early second trimester, up to 14 weeks of gestation. It is sometimes called a suction, vacuum, or procedure abortion.

Listen To Your Body

safe2choose is available to guide you through the symptoms you may experience after your MVA abortion and on how to take care of yourself before, during, and after the in-clinic abortion.

We aim to give you the means to care for yourself on your own terms by sharing self-care tools for your physical and mental well-being following an MVA. Below are the main post-abortion care tips to keep in mind; but, remember, we are here to answer all your questions:

  1. There is no medically proven amount of time that you have to wait to do specific activities, such as shower/bath, exercise, have sex, or use tampons. Whenever you feel you are ready, go back to your normal life. In some instances, you will be offered a follow-up visit at the clinic, and while this is not required, we advise that you listen to the recommendations of your healthcare provider.
  2. Strong cramps is one of the expected side-effects during and after an MVA. Often, the cramping will lessen directly after the procedure, but some women may experience cramping on and off for a few days or weeks.
  3. We recommend Ibuprofen to reduce the cramps, along with some natural methods, such as placing a hot compress on the belly, having a cup of tea, or taking a hot shower. If you need more information, our counselors are always here for you.
  4. After the procedure, until the bleeding lightens and you feel physically ready, we advise that you avoid intense physical activity and do not introduce objects into the vagina, including tampons and menstrual cups.
  5. Although MVA remains a safe abortion method, there are certain warning signs that you should watch out for after the procedure as they may be an indication that you need medical attention: These include
  • Heavy bleeding (completely soaking two pads, per hour, for two hours in a row or more);
  • Fever (>38C or 100.4F) for more than 24 hours after the procedure;
  • Severe or worsening pelvic pain; and
  • Continued signs of pregnancy (increasing nausea, breast tenderness, etc.).

Menstrual Cycle and Contraception Use After an MVA Abortion

After your MVA, your body will take time to re-adjust. Your menstrual cycle will return between four to six weeks after the procedure, while your fertility could return as soon as 10 days post-procedure. In some cases, it could take a little longer, but it’s not a cause for concern.

If you are not planning to get pregnant right after your MVA abortion, we recommend you think about a suitable contraceptive method. Most forms of contraception can be started immediately after an MVA. Ask a medical professional or one of our female counselors for information on the best method for you. You can also visit our sister platform to learn more about contraceptives.

If you were using a contraceptive method when the unplanned pregnancy occurred, it’s important to understand why that method failed before you decide on another contraceptive.

At safe2choose, we aim to inform you in the best possible way so you can better care for yourself after the procedure. MVA abortion counseling services are available in several languages, including Hindi, Kiswahili, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Wolof, and English. You can also always have a one-on-one chat with a counselor through the live chat section of the website, or send an email via

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