The age-old question is – when can you have sex after an abortion? There are a lot of myths around the subject of abortion and when you can be expected to do specific things. One of those things is how soon you can start having intercourse after having an abortion. In this article, we will look to science and the experts for an answer.
A brief reminder of the common types of abortion
Before considering when to have sex after getting an abortion, you first have to understand the difference between each type of abortion – and there are choices. Abortions are categorized as either medical or surgical (in-clinic), but the most common types are the abortion pill and manual vacuum evacuation (MVA).
The abortion pills can be taken in two forms, either by taking both Misoprostol and Mifepristone or just Misoprostol. The physiology of each pill is different as Misoprostol stimulates uterine contractions to expel the product of conception, while Mifepristone arrests the growth of the pregnancy.
In an MVA, people are also given Misoprostol before the actual procedure to help soften the tone of the uterus and help make the expulsion easier.
You have to first make sure that the abortion was successful, both with pills or MVA.
Protecting and taking care of your health post-abortion
As both procedures deal with the shedding of the uterus lining, caution must be practiced after the procedure. Be aware of warning signs after having an abortion, and go to the hospital or clinic if you notice any. Bleeding is to be expected, although it’s different for everyone (some people bleed, others don’t); however, there are limits as to how much bleeding is acceptable.
Make sure to look for a decrease in early signs of pregnancy after abortion, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, tender or swollen breasts, increased frequency of urination, and fatigue. You should do a pregnancy test or contact your health-care provider as soon as possible if you have these symptoms. You can confirm the pregnancy termination with an ultrasound right after an MVA procedure or two weeks after a medical abortion. Another alternative is to have a urine test four weeks after any type of abortion. We recommend using pads to monitor your bleeding on the day you take the Misoprostol. You can resume using tampons or a cup within 24 hours after taking Misoprostol or as soon as you are comfortable.
A uterus and fallopian tube infection is the most well-known post-abortion infection. Signs of infection include a high fever (above 101o F), foul-smelling discharge, and abdominal pain that’s different from the sensation of cramping.
So how soon can you have sex after having each kind of abortion?
There is no evidence that proves you have to wait a certain amount of time before having sex after using the abortion pills. However, listen to your body and your desire. If you feel ready to return to having sex, then you can do so. It’s important to feel free to do as you please, even though you may be going through a very hard time.
You can start any sexual activity whenever you feel it’s right for you, but it is advisable to wait until your bleeding lightens. Planned Parenthood recommends waiting one week before having sex. Some sources say you need to wait four – seven days before having sex. This is due to the dilation of the cervix after an abortion as a side effect of Misoprostol and MVA, which could increase the chances of infection, especially pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). There’s no significant difference in terms of the duration that you can have sex after the abortion pill and an MVA. However, if you wish to have sex soon after an abortion, make sure to use condoms to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
You can start ovulating again soon after an abortion. For those who take Mifepristone and Misoprostol, research shows that you start ovulating again as soon as three weeks post-abortion. As for MVA, it’s possible to conceive again a few weeks afterwards, even before your period returns four to six weeks later.
Contraceptive measures to consider
Since you can start ovulating again so soon after getting an abortion, contraception is encouraged for those who are not ready for another pregnancy. Long-term contraceptive methods, like the IUD (hormonal or non-hormonal) or implant, are preferred and can be inserted by health-care providers right after the abortion procedure. However, if those methods are not right for you, there are plenty of other options. You can see which contraceptive method you’re most suited to by going to Find My Method.