If you had a medication abortion, you probably took a medicine known as Misoprostol. After taking the abortion pill, you may be thinking, “After I take Misoprostol, when will I have my normal period again?” Although you may be worried, it is important to know your hormones and period will take some time to normalize. Everyone’s body and experience post-abortion is different.
Pregnancy changes your body in many ways, and, thus, it can take some time for it to return to its baseline. Consequently, your period may take some time to return. This article will discuss Misoprostol and what you can expect from menstruation post-abortion.
How does Misoprostol work?
The abortion pill typically consists of two medications: Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Mifepristone terminates the pregnancy. It does so by blocking progesterone, an essential hormone in pregnancy. Blocking progesterone causes a breakdown of the uterine lining, stopping the pregnancy. However, Mifepristone alone will not cause an abortion. It needs to be combined with Misoprostol, which will help the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy.
Misoprostol is the second pill in the abortion process, but sometimes it is the only pill you take. Misoprostol’s role is to empty the uterus of the pregnancy contents (1).
How long after an abortion will it take to get my period?
Abortion causes a start to a new period cycle. Thus, you can expect your period to resume normally four to eight weeks after an abortion. However, when it comes will depend on if you are on birth control, and if so, what method you utilize. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some people don’t have a regular menstrual cycle, which might affect when their period returns, too. You can start birth control immediately after undergoing an abortion, so many women do so after taking the abortion pill. Certain types of birth control, such as the implant or the injections, can make your period lighter or stop it altogether. Therefore, if you recently started birth control, it is possible your periods may look a bit different.
If you are not on birth control and still haven’t gotten your period, do not worry quite yet. It can take up to eight weeks to get your period again. If you do not get your period within eight weeks of the abortion, follow up with a health-care provider or health center.
How do I know if the blood is my period?
After undergoing an abortion, it is very normal to experience bleeding for a few days or weeks afterwards. Although it is the result of the abortion, some may mistake it for their period. There is some overlap between these two types of bleeding, but there are also key differences.
Abortion-associated bleeding will typically be heavy with clotting and tissue present in the hours or days following the abortion. Additionally, you may even continue to spot for a few weeks afterwards (2). This is very normal and to be expected.
How do I manage bleeding post-abortion?
After an abortion, you can use your method of choice to manage your bleeding. This includes pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup. You may prefer to use pads so that you can keep track of how much you are bleeding as well as to stay comfortable because the entire vaginal and cervical area might be sore for a few days (2).
When you do eventually get your period again, you can continue to manage it in the same way you normally would.
Is it possible I am still pregnant?
The abortion pill is highly effective, so when taken correctly, it is very unlikely that you are still pregnant. The statistics below outline how efficacious it really is.
- Using a combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol is 95-98% effective, and
- Using Misoprostol only is 95% effective.
Although very effective, there are very few instances in which the pill does not work. If you still have not gotten your period after eight weeks or suspect you have had an incomplete abortion, contact a medical provider or health-care clinic or seek abortion counseling. Incomplete abortions can be handled via in-clinic abortions (3).
Safe abortion is highly effective when it comes to terminating a pregnancy. Even so, it is normal for your body to change and take some time to normalize after ending a pregnancy. If you have taken the abortion pill, it is important to keep a few key things in mind:
- It can take between four and eight weeks for your period to return.
- How long it takes you to get your period will depend on if you are on birth control, and if so, which one.
- It is unlikely that you are still pregnant as the abortion pill is up to 98% effective.
- If after eight weeks you still do not have your period, seek medical advice. However, everybody is different. While some people have regular cycles, some people do not, and that is okay. What’s important is that you understand your own body and educate yourself, especially if you have other medical conditions. Listen to your body.
- “The Facts on Mifepristone.” Planned Parenthood, www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/42/8a/428ab2ad-3798-4e3d-8a9f-213203f0af65/191011-the-facts-on-mifepristone-d01.pdf. Accessed April 2023.
- “How long do you bleed after an abortion?” Planned Parenthood, 2022, www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/ask-experts/how-long-do-you-bleed-after-an-abortion. Accessed April 2023.
- “The Abortion Pill.” Planned Parenthood, www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/the-abortion-pill. Accessed April 2023.