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How long will I bleed after an early abortion?


One very common question that we are asked by women who come in for our early abortion services at Early Options is, “How long will the bleeding last?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Every woman who has an abortion will experience something different. There is no way for us to know beforehand how your body will react, either to the medications used in the abortion pill process or after a SofTouch® Aspiration Procedure or surgical abortion. What we are able to provide are generalizations and what is considered ‘normal’.

If you have taken the abortion pill, it is not uncommon to have off and on bleeding for weeks, if not months. The second pills taken in the process, called misoprostol or Cytotec, casue the uterus to contract and expel its contents. Usually, the heaviest bleeding you will experience with the abortion pill will be following when you have taken those pills. Heavy bleeding at this point is normal, although if you begin to bleed through more than 2 pads an hour for more than 2 hours in a row, you should contact your abortion provider. After this initial bleeding, the flow tends to lessen to that of a normal period or lighter. This bleeding can last for up to 4 weeks, sometimes longer. If you are concerned that you are bleeding too much or for too long, contact your abortion provider. They should be able to bring you in for a follow-up appointment to track your progress.

If you have had a SofTouch® Aspiration Procedure, it is common to experience off and on bleeding for up to 2 weeks, although most women, on average, will bleed for only 3-5 days. Immediately following the SofTouch® Aspiration Procedure, when you leave the office, you will probably be experiencing some light bleeding. This should not be very heavy. It is not uncommon for the bleeding to stop sometime that day or the next day and then begin again 1-3 days later. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about. Once it starts again, be aware that while it may present as a normal period, it is not. You will probably pass more or larger blood clots than you are used to. If you begin passing clots that are larger than a quarter, you should contact your abortion provider. You will also probably notice that the blood appears to be darker (presenting as brown or sometimes black) than you are used to. This is normal. Dark blood, in this sense, indicates “old blood”, or blood that has already been oxygenated. This is very common after an early abortion, as this is probably blood that was “brought down” during the procedure. Bright red blood, on the other hand, indicates “new blood”, which is any blood that passed after the procedure was completed. Both of these are normal.

Your abortion provider should give you aftercare instructions when you are in the office. These instructions should include a list of things to expect, as well as a list of things to watch for. While the information given to you here is accurate, it is important that you follow the aftercare given to you by your abortion provider, as each facility will have its own protocols in place.

One of the most important things to remember after an early abortion is not to panic if you begin to experience anything ‘out of the ordinary’. Simply call your abortion provider. Most facilities will provide you with a 24 hour emergency number so that they are available to you at all times. Early abortion is one of the safest medical procedures available, be it surgical or non-surgical, and serious complications are rare.