How Soon After an Abortion Can You Get Pregnant? (Q&As)
Despite the numerouus myths you may hear floating around, it is absolutely possible to become pregnant following an abortion. But how soon after having an abortion is it actually safe to get pregnant again?
To help answer this question, we will be taking a look at how an abortion can impact ovulation and fertility, how soon after an abortion you can get pregnant, and tips for getting pregnant safely and efficiently after you’ve had an abortion.
Can you get pregnant after abortion?
Yes. You can get pregnant after having an abortion. This is true for both surgical and medical abortions.
If you have recently had an abortion and would like to prevent future pregnancies, know that you can still get pregnant immediately following the procedure. Therefore, it’s important to make sure to use protection the next time you have sex.
If you have had an abortion recently but still want to conceive sometime in the future, know that an abortion will not impact your chances of having a normal pregnancy at another point in your life.
How does an abortion impact ovulation?
Abortions do not typically have any impact on ovulation or fertility.
It’s important to bear in mind that prior to an abortion, ovulation will have stopped due to pregnancy. However, after an abortion, your body will restart its menstrual cycle. This means that you can expect to ovulate and have your period in the weeks following an abortion.
How soon do you ovulate after an abortion?
There is no standard amount of time that you can expect to ovulate after an abortion. Everyone’s body is different, and some menstrual cycles can last only 21 days while others last as long as 40 days.
Assuming that your cycle begins the day after your abortion, you can expect ovulation to occur within the next 2-3 weeks. One study found that on average, ovulation returned approximately 3 weeks following a medical abortion with the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol.
If you are further along in your pregnancy and require a surgical abortion (sometimes called an “in-clinic” abortion), it may take a few weeks longer to ovulate. This is because pregnancy hormones may remain in your body for a few weeks following your procedure and prolong the start of your menstrual cycle.
When does your menstrual cycle return to normal after an abortion?
Your menstrual cycle should resume immediately following an abortion. However, everyone’s body is different, and while some women may have a period again in the next four weeks, it may take others 8-12 weeks for their menstrual cycle to return back to normal.
If you have not had a period after 8-12 weeks following an abortion, speak with your doctor and they can provide further advice and guidance.
How does an abortion impact fertility?
Whether you have had an abortion recently or sometime in your past, you may be concerned about its potential impact on your fertility and ability to get pregnant again. To ease any concerns you may have, here are a few of the most common questions regarding abortion and fertility answered.
How does an abortion impact future pregnancies?
Having a safe and legal abortion should not have any negative impact on your fertility prospects for the future. This is backed up by medical research and includes your ability to get pregnant, your ability to maintain a healthy pregnancy to full term, and your ability to give birth.
However, in rare cases, there is a risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in the event that an infection spreads throughout your womb, uterine tubes, and ovaries in the aftermath of your procedure. If you do develop PID, this can increase your future risk of infertility or having an ectopic pregnancy.
To prevent PID from developing after an abortion, make sure to:
- Only receive a medical or surgical abortion from a legal, medical provider
- Never attempt a self-induced abortion
- Be aware of the early signs and symptoms of PID (severe pelvic pain, fever, painful urination, yellow/green discharge, and foul-smelling discharge)
- Call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms
If you are having a surgical abortion, your doctor will likely already prescribe you a round of antibiotics to prevent infection from happening in the first place. However, it’s still important to be aware of the potential warning signs and symptoms of infection after abortion to reduce your risk of developing PID.
How soon after an abortion can you get pregnant?
Because your cycle can resume immediately following an abortion, it is possible to become pregnant straight away. If you ovulate within 2-3 weeks, this means that you can technically become pregnant within a month after having an abortion.
However, bear in mind that everyone’s bodies and timeliness are different, so the earliest you can get pregnant after an abortion can vary among women. If you want to prevent further pregnancies, you should begin taking birth control immediately following an abortion.
What are your chances of getting pregnant after an abortion?
Unless you have had a complication, abortion does not impact your chances of getting pregnant in the future. This means that you are not more or less likely to get pregnant in the future if you have had an abortion.
Are there any risks associated with getting pregnant after an abortion?
The risks associated with getting pregnant after an abortion are minimal and can depend on the type of abortion you had.
For medical abortions (the type of abortion where you must take oral medication either at home or at a doctor’s office), the risk of having complications with future pregnancies is very low. This means that your chances of experiencing complications like giving birth prematurely, giving birth to a low-weight baby, having an ectopic pregnancy, and losing your pregnancy are all low.
For surgical abortions (the type of abortion where a tool is used to remove the fetus via the vagina), the risk of future pregnancy complications is slightly higher. One study found that women who underwent a “dilation and evacuation” procedure (often referred to as “D&E”), may be at an increased risk of having a premature delivery with a low birth weight baby.
To avoid complications associated with surgical abortions, doctors often recommend that patients have an abortion as early in their pregnancy as possible so that they can have a medical abortion.
Tips for getting pregnant after an abortion
No matter when you had an abortion, it is completely normal to want to get pregnant at a different time in your life. Here are a few practical tips for navigating pregnancy post-abortion.
Give your body time to heal
Having an abortion can take both a physical and emotional toll on your body. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your body and mind have had sufficient time to recover in the aftermath of an abortion. This is not only best for your health, but it is critical to the health and safety of your future pregnancy.
In terms of your body, it is a good idea to wait until your menstrual cycle has been regular for at least a few months before trying to get pregnant after having an abortion. Additionally, due to hormonal fluctuations, you may experience increased feelings of fatigue and irritability, difficulties with sleeping, and in some cases feelings of anxiety and depression – all of which can impede your efforts to get pregnant.
If you do find yourself struggling to cope with your emotions following an abortion, it is a good idea to prioritize your mental health by seeking help from a counselor, taking time off work, or joining a support group. Once you feel like you are physically and emotionally “ready” to get pregnant, you may also find it comforting to have a conversation with your doctor before trying to conceive again with your partner.
Make sure you’re ovulating regularly
The most efficient way to get pregnant is by tracking ovulation and planning sex accordingly. This is especially true if you have recently had an abortion, due to the fact that it may take a few weeks or months for your cycle and ovulation patterns to return to normal.
There are several ways that you can monitor ovulation over time in order to get to know your cycle better. A few of the most common methods include:
- The Calendar Method – where you simply track the dates of your period over time in order to calculate your day of ovulation (this can take up to a year of continuous tracking to accurately understand your cycle).
- The Basal Body Temperature Method – where you take your temperature at the same time each morning in order to detect the 0.5°F increase in temperature that typically happens 12 hours after ovulation.
- Ovulation Predictor Kits – where you take an at-home test that is similar to a pregnancy test, but instead of testing for the pregnancy hormone hCG, it tests for luteinizing hormone (LH) which surges right before ovulation.
- Comprehensive Hormone Tracking – where you use a hormone tracking system like Mira to accurately monitor your individual cycle and predict ovulation.
It may take some time to figure out the best method for you. However, with a bit of patience, you will be able to better understand the patterns of your cycle and successfully plan a pregnancy following an abortion.
Plan your attempts carefully
Once you get the hang of tracking your cycle and predicting ovulation, you should then be aware of when you are the most “fertile” so that you can plan sex with your partner at the right times.
On average, there are only about six days during your cycle where you can get pregnant. These six days are what doctors often refer to as your “fertile window”, and it starts around five days prior to ovulation and ends the day after ovulation. To maximize your chances of conceiving, you should aim to have sex with your partner as much as possible during this window of time.