Taking Care of Yourself After a First Trimester Abortion

There are two options for a first trimester abortion: Chemical or surgical. Surgical pregnancy terminations can be performed as soon as the pregnancy can be visualized on an ultrasound, which is as early as three weeks after conception. The gynecologist can perform a procedure called a D & C (suction dilatation and curettage). In contrast, a chemical abortion involves taking medication at home. Regardless of which method you use, your gynecologist will give you detailed instructions for taking care of yourself during your recovery.


If you’re having a surgical abortion, you’ll choose from local, conscious, or general anesthesia. Although the certified nurse anesthetist will use short-acting medications, if you’re having general anesthesia, you’ll be quite groggy for hours afterward. No matter which option you choose, you should have someone else drive you home from your appointment.


Plan to rest quietly for the remainder of the day. It’s likely that you’ll need at least one more day to recover. Some women take a few days off work, while others feel well enough to return the next day. Don’t do more than you feel up to—pay attention to your body and call the gynecologist if you have any questions about returning to work or school.


The amount of bleeding you can expect depends on whether you’re having a chemical or surgical abortion. If you’re having the surgical procedure, it’s possible that you won’t experience much bleeding at all. However, most women do experience bleeding—similar to menstrual bleeding—for just a few days. Women who have had a chemical abortion often report an amount of bleeding similar to a period, although it’s also common to have heavier bleeding than usual. It’s normal to pass a few blood clots. However, call your doctor if you see any very large blood clots. You should have a large supply of sanitary pads available before you take the abortion medication.

Women choose Washington Surgi-Clinic for pregnancy terminations because of our compassionate, personalized care, our commitment to patient education, and our skillful, accomplished gynecology team. Call (202) 659-9403. During your confidential appointment, you’ll learn about your abortion options available in Washington, D.C.