Following a medical abortion, you may experience bleeding lightly, moderately, or heavily. In some cases, women do not bleed afterward, at all.
Bleeding can start right after the abortion process or until several days after. When it happens, it may stop at some point and then start again.
Don’t be surprised if you experience increased bleeding 4 to 5 days after a medical abortion, complete with clots and strong cramps that will last for several days.
Menstrual-like cramping is normal for the first week after an abortion and may extend to the second week. So don’t be alarmed.
Just take a pain reliever to ease the pain, such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen. But avoid Aspirin as it can increase bleeding.
The only time you need to worry or even call an A&E is when heavy bleeding becomes too heavy and too much.
What you need to know about bleeding after an abortion
- Bleeding can last around 1 to 2 weeks
- Blood clots maybe pass like a normal menstrual period
- When the bleeding stops, you may experience spotting until your next period
- 3 to 6 weeks after an abortion, your normal period should begin
- You may experience mood swings or emotional upset for a few days or weeks
- Menstrual-like cramping can happen for the first week or two
After using the pill, bleeding can start within 4 hours. But it can also happen at a much later period. Bleeding usually signals the start of an abortion.
As abortion continues and progresses, bleeding and cramps will become more severe and may be associated with other side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness.
Cramps and bleeding are often heavier if the pregnancy has developed for longer.
Once you experience heavier blood loss, with severe pain and cramping, this signals that the abortion process has reached its peak.
Once it’s complete, bleeding and cramps should diminish.
2 to 5 hours after using Misoprostol, you may experience the heaviest bleeding which then slows down within 24 hours. Light bleeding will continue for 1 to 3 weeks, and menstrual period should occur 4 to 6 weeks after.
There are instances when heavy bleeding can happen after 48 hours, along with clots that may pass for days or even weeks. This is normal when taking Misoprostol.
What is not normal is when heavy bleeding becomes severe.
How can you tell if you’re bleeding more than it is safe and necessary?
Keep track of the number of pads you’re using
If within an hour you soak 2 maxi pads, which extends to two hours in a row, you need to call your doctor immediately. This is because you are already experiencing severe bleeding.
Keep an eye on the size of any blood clots
Passing clots that are bigger than a golf ball for 2 hours or more is a sign of serious bleeding that requires medical attention. Don’t ignore the sign and call the clinic right away or go to an A&E if you are able.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding may be a result of the blood vessels not constricting or uterine muscles not contracting to stop the bleeding. On very rare occasions, it can also be a result of a perforated uterus or a lacerated cervix.
That is why abnormally heavy bleeding after an abortion should not be ignored.
While it is normal to pass blood clots as you heal from a medical abortion, with sizes that range from pebble-like to egg-like, the timeline tells a different story.
Golf ball-sized clots passing for two hours or more is a serious complication.
This can result in the uterus enlarging and causing severe pain because the cervical opening is blocked. It can be caused by the uterus not contracting and passing out tissue during an abortion.
Monitor the length of time that you’re heavily bleeding
Bleeding heavily for 12 hours in a row is bad news. This may be a sign that something is wrong and you should contact your physician right away.
The same is true if you bleed heavily for 12 hours or more and the color of blood is bright red instead of darker red.
Bleeding longer than 2 weeks
If you experience spotting or bleeding longer than 2 weeks, you should call your doctor for an appointment.
Remember that normal bleeding after an abortion should only last around 1 to 2 weeks. Anything longer than that is a cause for worry.
You should also call the doctor if you don’t have your period within 6 weeks after your procedure. There could be underlying causes that need to be checked and addressed immediately.
Based on the information above, one of the most important signs to look out for is the timeline of bleeding following an abortion.
Bleeding heavily during and a few weeks after an abortion is normal, provided that there are no large clots and that you’re not soaking several maxi pads or sanitary towels in one hour.
Bleeding for two weeks is common. But can be worrisome if it lasts longer.
With this in mind, monitor how long you bleed following a medical abortion and keep an eye out for other symptoms.
These include signs of infection, such as a headache, dizziness, or muscle aches, severe belly pain, 4 to 6 hours of vomiting, heavy or smelly vaginal discharge, and pain in the genital area.