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What Happens to the Period After an Abortion?

By Bethney Foster
Updated Feb 27, 2024
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The period after an abortion often returns fairly quickly, but some women may not see their menstrual cycle return to normal for several months following the procedure. A woman can ovulate as early as two weeks following the termination of a pregnancy. How quickly a woman’s period returns after an abortion, however, can vary from individual to individual and depending upon how far along the pregnancy was at termination. The period after an abortion returns in much the same way as a period after miscarriage.

The reason the period after an abortion may be delayed or irregular is because the body may retain some pregnancy hormones. The body may feel the effects of those hormones for several weeks after the pregnancy is terminated. One of the changes these hormones cause in the body is the suppression of ovulation, without which there is likely no period.

If the pregnancy was terminated in the first trimester of the pregnancy, the period after an abortion will usually return within four to 12 weeks of the procedure. The first period following a surgical abortion may be lighter than normal and may not last as long as usual, or it may be normal. If the first period is significantly heavier or longer than normal, the woman should consult her physician. If the woman had a medical abortion, one that was induced by medication, usually in a pill form, she may experience a heavier period than normal during the first cycle following the termination of the pregnancy.

There may be some effects on the menstrual cycle for up to two years after an abortion. The period may not resume its normal cycle and may not occur on a regular cycle. The amount of time the period after an abortion lasts, the amount of bleeding, and the amount of cramping may change from cycle to cycle for several months. Some women report having symptoms of pregnancy, such as swollen breasts, fatigue, and back pain, at the time of their periods for several months following an abortion. Some women also report more clotting, pain, and premenstrual syndrome symptoms in the first periods following an abortion.

The decision to have an abortion is often one that is stressful for women. Abnormal amounts of stress can affect the menstrual cycle and may cause changes in the period after an abortion. This may occur even if the physical effects of the pregnancy and the abortion have subsided.

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Discussion Comments
By anon998545 — On Jul 01, 2017

I had unprotected sex with my fiancé during my first period, after I just had a medical abortion on may 26-29 , could I possibly get pregnant during the time I had sex on my period?

By anon997596 — On Jan 30, 2017

I had my abortion six days ago and I had sex yesterday but he did not get inside me deeply. But he ejaculated. Is there any chance that I might get pregnant again? I am still bleeding.

By anon989989 — On Mar 31, 2015

I had a surgical abortion in February , then had my period two weeks after that, but now I haven't had my period again in this my next cycle, and I am having intermittent waist pain. Please, is this a problem?

By anon989652 — On Mar 16, 2015

I had an abortion five months ago and still no period. Does that mean I have a serious problem and need to see a doctor.

By anon950490 — On May 10, 2014

I had an abortion in December and I normally get my period every month on the 14th. After my abortion I was bleeding and within two weeks I was having sex. I am not on any form of birth control and last month I started my period on the ninth and this month I started my period on the fifth. I'm kind of unsure what's happening with my body because, this was so random and I never get my periods early. Can anyone help me? Please.

By anon356389 — On Nov 24, 2013

I am kind of stressed. I had a medical abortion in October. Since then, I've been bleeding. Between two and four weeks after having the abortion, I had light bleeding, hardly bleeding at all really, then on the fifth week, bright blood started up again. That was in mid-November. It's two weeks later and the bright bleeding is still on. It's on and off throughout the day, but when it comes it's heavy and looks like clots.

I went to the doc last week and my test still came back positive. I had to get blood drawn and that was positive (the hormone level was a 7). I was about six or seven weeks along when I had the abortion. I've also had two ultrasounds after the abortion everything is clear except a little tissue the docs keep telling me they see.

It's stressing me out because I just want to be normal again. Every day I am having this weird bleeding reminds me of the abortion and I just want to move forward.

By anon355609 — On Nov 18, 2013

I had a termination in May 2011, and still haven't had a period since getting pregnant in March. I went straight back onto the pill, but have since changed brands twice and then onto the mini pill for migraine reasons. I have just recently gone off the pill all together to see if I end up getting a period at all. I am feeling much happier off the pill, though!

By anon350992 — On Oct 09, 2013

I found out I was pregnant, about mid august of 2013, the last few weeks. I went into get an ultrasound and found that I was three to five weeks along. I opted for the medical abortion (the pill), seeing as I wasn't far along and didn't want anything very invasive.

I took the first pill in mid September, then the induced pill the next day. Everything went well, and I went back for my follow up appointment, and was told that the abortion went well.

I am still waiting to get my period. I also had sex about four days ago, and we used a condom. Now that I look back on the situation, I probably shouldn't have slept with him. Anyway, when should I expect my period (which I hope is coming soon) seeing as they said four to eight weeks after the abortion. Please let me know your thoughts. I just want answers, not rude comments.

By geethap — On Sep 30, 2013

I had a surgical abortion in August 2013 but have not had my periods since. However, for the past three days I have been getting terrible cramps that last all day. Is this pain due to my periods or are they side effects of the surgical abortion? Could you please advise?

By anon343006 — On Jul 26, 2013

I had a surgical abortion at 12 weeks. It's been almost five weeks since the procedure and I am having a lot of abdominal aching/twinging, lower back pain, bloating, gas, nausea etc. I don't know if this is my period coming back or what. I guess I'll find out.

By anon341883 — On Jul 15, 2013

In early June, I had a medical abortion. I bled the first day right after the procedure, but it was very light and only lasted for a few hours. I had some cramping about four days after the procedure which lasted for two days.

I went back to my OB/GYN and he gave me a pregnancy test which was negative, and he also examined me and said everything looked great and I should expect my period within the next two weeks.

This morning, I woke up with terrible cramps, which lasted the entire day, but I haven't got my period as yet. The cramps feel like when I'm starting my period. It's been about five weeks since I had my medical abortion and I haven't seen my period and I'm really stressed and very worried. Someone please help.

By anon336510 — On May 29, 2013

I was 5 weeks pregnant and I had an abortion. It has been a month and I have not had a period and am very stressed.

By anon332286 — On Apr 28, 2013

I had an abortion about nine months ago. I'm usually never late. My period is always on time, if not early. I am two days late. Are the chances high that I'm pregnant? I took two tests and they're negative.

By anon332063 — On Apr 26, 2013

I had an abortion of eight weeks by pills. After that, I had regular bleeding with an interval of seven days, Sometimes it is light bleeding, but sometimes it is very heavy with clotting. This has continued for the last two months. Is this normal?

By anon326401 — On Mar 21, 2013

I had a medical abortion in mid February and bled for seven days with some clots. I went for an ultrasound to find out whether everything was fine. The report said my uterus is normal in size and everything cleared out, but in the mouth of the cervical canal, I had some clots.

My gyno told for that we don't need to do a D&C, that it will come out in my next period. It's been a month now and I haven't had a period. Is there any issue?

By amypollick — On Jan 02, 2013

@anon311548: Yes, you could be pregnant again. Are you? I don't know. You probably need to get a pregnancy test. It's impossible to know whether the bleeding you had was your period or abnormal, if you didn't talk to a doctor.

You need to talk to a doctor about your symptoms, and to get information about a contraceptive method that you can use easily before you have intercourse, to reduce your chances of becoming pregnant.

By anon311548 — On Jan 02, 2013

I had a surgical abortion in late October 2012 and did not bleed at all just after the abortion, but I started to bleed heavily about three weeks later, and the bleeding continued for 11 days, with some days of spotting. The spotting completely ended in early December 2012, after which I had intercourse and I am not sure if he finished out. So I took contraceptive pills. In mid-December, I started to spot and then bled (with blood clots) for a day and then the spotting lasted for 10 days and it stopped today.

I am scared and want to know if I can be pregnant again, and also want to know if the last time I bled, was that my period or just abnormal bleeding?

By Zaa — On Nov 22, 2012

I had a D&C in March, and my periods returned after 34 days. After that I have had an increased period time starting (spotting) two or three days before my normal cycle. Is it a serious problem? How it can be solved? Is there a pill I can take, or it will be solved naturally? How long will it take to become normal?

By anon300356 — On Oct 29, 2012

How long will a period last after an induced abortion at 10 weeks?

By anon293300 — On Sep 25, 2012

I had sex three days after an abortion without seeing my period. Can I become pregnant three days after my abortion?

By ElizaBennett — On Aug 17, 2011

@manykitties2 - Sure, going on the pill will give you regular periods after any pregnancy (or at any time), but keep in mind that these are not real "periods." The pill will mask your body's real cycles. You might then go off the pill and have irregular cycles again. (For me personally, it took me ten months off the pill before my fertility returned, and then a few more months before I was able to get pregnant.)

There is some evidence that diet affects your menstrual cycle. Newsweek published a big study a while back about the effect of diet on fertility. Now, they were concerned with people getting pregnant, but logic would suggest that the same dietary changes would encourage regular periods. They suggested more plant protein, less animal protein, regular exercise, good sleep at night, much less sugar/white flour/etc., and - the surprising part - less fat-free dairy and occasionally eating some whole-milk dairy.

Some people also say that you can encourage regular periods by sleeping in a totally pitch-black room. You might then sleep with a nightlight on for a few nights around the time you should be ovulating, but other experts recommend just always staying in the pitch black.

By Mae82 — On Aug 17, 2011

Stress can really wreak havoc on your periods and in my opinion nothing is more stressful than getting an abortion. My closest friend was forced to have a medical abortion after it was discovered that her fetus had some serious deformities that would have caused major complications later on in her pregnancy.

My friend was very emotional after her abortion and ended up falling into a deep depression. Her period didn't return until after she began taking mood regulators that helped to calm her down. The doctor told us that intense periods of stress can stop your period for months on end.

If you find your period hasn't returned after your abortion you should talk to your doctor about it, especially if you are under a lot of emotional stress.

By manykitties2 — On Aug 17, 2011

For those that find themselves with an irregular period after an abortion sometimes it can help to go on birth control. A lot of the problem with getting your body back on a regular schedule comes from the hormone levels in your body. An abortion does not allow your body to naturally adjust back to pre-pregnancy levels.

Taking a birth control pill that provides you with progesterone can really improve your chances of returning to a regular cycle quickly as progesterone levels drop a lot after an abortion. Another benefit of taking a birth control pill with progesterone is that it has been rumored to help prevent PCOS and fibroids.

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