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Post Operative Instructions & Post Procedure Care

The pregnancy termination procedure you have just undergone is a simple and safe one. As is true with any medical procedure, however the unexpected and unavoidable complications can occur. The information sheet is to advise you of what to expect and do after an abortion and if the unexpected should happen.

Do:
1. Do buy a thermometer if you do not have one. Digital thermometers are available for purchase at the clinic.
2. Do take your temperature every morning and evening for five days.
3. Do call us if you have problems.
4. Do return to work or school as soon as you feel well enough. Medical excuses are provided if needed.
5. Do finish all the antibiotics even if you feel fine.
6. Do follow all instructions for taking care of yourself after an abortion.
Don't:
1. Don’t use tampons until after you have had your follow up exam. They can cause infections.
2. Don’t sit in any bath water, hot tubs, and no swimming for one week. Hot tubs and bubble baths can cause problems.
3. Don’t lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous exercise for one week. It can increase your bleeding or cramping.
4. Don’t have sex until you have had your follow up exam. This can cause bleeding, cramping, infections or pregnancy.
5. Don’t insert anything into the vagina, including a douche, until after your follow up exam. This can lead to an infection.
6. Do not drive for 24 hours after receiving the sedation.
7. Don’t drink alcohol (it can interfere with absorbing antibiotics and also increases bleeding).
Call the Clinic If:
1. Temperature is over 100.0.
2. Bleeding is heavier that 2 pads per hour.
3. Passing blood clots larger than a fifty cent piece.
4. Severe or persistent abdominal pain.
5. Pain or cramping not relieved by pain medication.
6. Fever chills or shaking.
7. Feel faint or weak.
When calling, provide the following information:

Telephone number of an open pharmacy.
Your temperature within the last hour.
Number of pads used within the last hour.

Bleeding:

Although bleeding after an abortion is perfectly normal, the amount of bleeding you will experience is difficult to predict since women’s bodies all react differently. Some women have little or no bleeding; you may not bleed any more after you leave the clinic. Some spot for days or for several weeks; some bleed, stop and start again; some have bleeding similar to a normal menstrual period for a week or two.

If you experience bleeding that is heavier than your normal period (enough to soak through two maxi pads in an hour), call West Alabama Women’s Center, Inc. Many women pass clots and small clots are not unusual and are no cause for alarm. If you pass clots larger than a half dollar size, please call us.

The Most important thing is the total amount of blood loss or large clots. Drinking alcohol will increase your bleeding.

Cramping:

You may experience some mild cramping for a day or two following your abortion and you may feel somewhat more discomfort if you are passing clots. Cramping is normal after an abortion; your uterus is contracting back to its normal size. To relieve any minor discomfort, you may take the medication you usually take to relieve pain. (Do not take aspirin). If bleeding is normal, you may use a heating pad or a hot water bottle. In some patients, cramping may last for a week or 10 days after the procedure.

Fever:

Infection is the most common complication following an abortion because the cervix is still slightly dilated (open) and the uterus is healing. You are more susceptible to infection than usual. For this reason, it is important that you take your temperature twice daily (morning and evening) for 5 days.
If your temperature is above 100.0 degrees, please call us.
Do not take your temperature immediately after smoking, drinking, or eating.
Fever is almost always the first indication of infection and is often accompanied by tenderness in the lower abdomen.
A temperature below 100.0 degrees is not unusual and should not cause you concern. To help prevent infection, it is important for you to take all the antibiotic which you have been prescribed. Take your medications correctly and finish all of them even if you feel fine.
Breast Soreness:

You may experience a slight increase in breast tenderness the first week. Occasionally, there is breast fullness the day after an abortion. You will probably be more comfortable in a tight fitting bra. If discomfort is severe, ice packs or a cool shower may give some relief. Take Ibuprofen to relieve the discomfort.

Leg Cramps:

You may experience leg cramps due to the leg position or tightening of your muscles during the procedure

Emotional Reactions:

It is common to have some feelings, perhaps strong ones, after the abortion. Many women will feel a sense of relief, weak, tired, sad, angry, or depressed. Any of these feelings are normal. These reactions are usually due to abrupt changes in hormone levels. You may have relief because you have made a difficult decision about your own life and you have tolerated the procedure well. After this, it is not uncommon to have some sense of loss and a feeling of sadness or feel depressed or anxious or angry with the people you care about the most. It helps these feelings to talk with someone close to you. If you have reactions, which are disturbing to you, or seem beyond your control, ask your family doctor or gynecologist to refer you to a source of help. Also you may call West Alabama Women’s Center, Inc. for a list of agencies concerned with helping people deal with their feelings. We would be happy to make referrals for you if you call us.

Nausea:

Nausea associated with pregnancy should disappear within a day or two.

Getting back to Normal:

You should begin to feel normal within 24-48 hours after the procedure. Your body will be undergoing the changes described due to a dramatic drop in the hormones of pregnancy. The nausea you may have experienced will disappear. You may feel a mild depression. A few women have a bloated feeling for a few days.

Next Period:

Most women will have a period with 4-6 weeks. You can become pregnant between now and then if you have unprotected intercourse. If you are using birth control pills, you may get your period after three weeks, but you may still become pregnant during the first pack of pills, use a back up method of birth control for the first month of pills, like foam plus condoms. By the second pack you can be sure that the pill will be effective. If you have not had a normal period, you need a pregnancy test 3-4 weeks after your abortion to make sure you are not still pregnant, or pregnant again and thereafter every 4-6 weeks until your menstrual cycle resumes.

Activities:

You can resume normal activity; school, work, and driving as soon as you feel up to it. Some women feel able to go about business as usual on the day of the abortion with the exception of no driving for 24 hours. Most women prefer to rest and relax until the next day. Avoid strenuous activity such as heavy exercise, swimming, lifting over 10 lbs, horseback riding, bicycling, jogging, etc. for several days.

Eating:

There are no diet restrictions; however, if you have experiencing nausea and vomiting, do not overindulge right away. You may eat or drink anything you wish with the exception of alcohol. Alcohol should be avoided for least seven days, as it may increase bleeding and interfere with the effectiveness of the antibiotics. Drink plenty of fluids and eat well-balanced meals to help your body return to normal.

Sex:

Wait until after your check up. You are susceptible to infection now and you could become pregnant again even before your first period begins.

Bathing:

Shower and shampoo your hair anytime you want. It is easy to get an infection until your cervix has returned to normal. Therefore refrain from swimming and tub baths until your follow-up examination.

Douching:

Douching can be dangerous right after a pregnancy. Many doctors feel it is undesirable at any time and seldom necessary for good hygiene. If you want to douche, wait until after your check up. AVOID PUTTING ANYTHING INTO THE VAGINA FOR THREE WEEKS.

A FOLLOW UP EXAMINATION IS IMPORTANT!!!

A follow up exam should be done three weeks after your abortion to be sure you have a negative pregnancy test, the abortion is complete, and there are no problems. Please make your appointment before leaving the clinic today or call in advance to schedule your appointment. This follow up visit is included in the cost of your abortion when scheduled within 4 weeks.

Birth Control:

You can get pregnant again any time after an abortion. If you are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant plan to use birth control. Choose a method that is suitable to you. The best contraceptive methods available cannot prevent pregnancy if they are not used correctly. If you are planning to take birth control pills, start them the first Sunday after your abortion. Use a back up method (condoms and foam) until you have had a normal period.

Diaphragms and cervical caps may need to be refitted after your abortion.

You may choose to get the Depo Provera (3 months shot) the same day as your abortion.

We will be glad to answer any questions and relieve any concerns you may have.

Medications:

You may be given one or two types of medications to take home. One is an antibiotic to help prevent infection and the other is Methergine that causes the uterus to contract and help minimize the bleeding. Please take them as directed.

Methergine (Ergonovine):

Take 1 tablet every 4 hours until complete. This medication causes the uterus to contract and reduce the amount of bleeding. You will be given this medication only if the doctor feels it is needed or if the pregnancy was past 10 weeks at the time of the termination.

You will be given one of the antibiotics below. Take according to the directions.

Tetracycline 500 mg - Take 1 tablet twice per day until completed.
Doxycycline 100mg - Take 1 tablet twice per day until completed
Levaquin 500mg - Take 1 per day until completed.
Amoxicillin/Ampicillin 500 mg - Take 1 tablet twice per day until completed.
Metronidazole or Flagyl - You must absolutely avoid alcohol for 24 hours until after the methronidazole is finished because it will make you very sick and is dangerous to your health.

Some Precautions to Follow when taking Antibiotics:

This medication is used to help prevent infection. Take one by mouth (if twice a day take about 12 hours apart). DO NOT TAKE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH, BECAUSE IT CAN CAUSE NAUSEA. Avoid excessive sun and tanning beds while taking this medication. As with any medication, alcohol beverages should be avoided while taking antibiotics.

If you’ve been given Doxycline, avoid milk products and alcohol until after the medication is finished so that all of the medicine is absorbed properly.

Instructions sheets are included for each of these medications. We will be glad to answer any questions and discuss any concerns you may have.

We hope that you have received quality medical care and the respect that you deserve and demand as a patient. We realize that this has been an emotional time but we hope that the staff has made your visit as positive as possible.

If you are satisfied with the medical care please tell your friends who might need our services either now or in the future. Please don’t take for granted the privilege of “choice” because Congress is slowly chipping away a woman’s right to decide when the best time for her to choose is.

Everyday they are passing laws restricting and making it difficult for you to receive the right to choose. Now is the time we must stand up for your rights. Contact your local representative opposing women’s rights and let them know “We will not GO BACK”!

Contact Us

If at any time you have any questions please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions or Contact us directly at 1-800-616-2383. We also offer an Online Glossary for your reference to define specific medical terms found throughout our website.