What should you expect after a medical abortion treatment?

The abortion pill causes cramping and heavy bleeding, you may also pass small blood clots, experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and feel very tired. You may also experience headaches, sweating, dizziness and fever. Many individuals pass the pregnancy after a couple of hours, however there may be occasions where it takes a month.

Medical abortion treatments may not always be successful, and a surgical abortion treatment may be required to remove the pregnancy. Following a medical abortion, you may also experience cramps and bleeding.

Other risks and complications may consist of:

As with every medical procedure, there are always some risks and complications which may arise even though the procedure / treatment in itself is very safe. Another aspect impacting the risk factors is the stage of pregnancy and one needs to keep in mind that the later the pregnancy, the higher the risk factors.

Retained products of conception, leading to further treatment: 1 in 20.

Infections: 1 in 10.

Continuation of the pregnancy, leading to further treatment: less than 1 in 100.

Excessive bleeding: 1 in 1,000

Damage of the cervix: 1 in 100 surgical abortions

Damage to the uterus: 1 in 250 to 1,000 surgical abortions and less than 1 in 1,000 medical abortions carried out at 12 to 24 weeks.[1]

Pain during the procedure is commonly experienced.

Psychological problems may also be experienced, although this is variable. A number of emotions may be experienced following an abortion, one may experience sadness, relief, guilt or shame.

Does the embryo feel any pain?

According to the research studies carried out by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the connections necessary to process pain signals – humans must be able to transmit signals from the peripheral sensory nerves to the brain through certain brain structures – don’t develop until at least the 24th week of pregnancy. This explains the cut-off point at 24 weeks of pregnancy for abortion treatment to stop being carried out.

Finding support:

It is always important to find the appropriate support during such procedures. Always consult with your healthcare professional and you might also seek the support of a therapist. Whenever possible, it may be helpful to include the partner.

References and useful links:




[1] These statistics were obtained from the UK National Health Service site

Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on abigail@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.