Do you require psychological counseling after you have had an abortion?

Most women do not need any psychological help after an abortion. Feelings of regret after abortion are rare. Indeed, the most common emotional response after abortion is relief. Transient feelings of guilt, sadness, or loss are common but most women can overcome negative feelings that might affect them. It is normal to feel emotional after an abortion. While you may experience sadness or grief, these feelings usually go away after a few days. But in countries where the taboo and social stigma is big, it is more common for women to suffer feelings of guilt and shame.
If you are not sure if a medical abortion treatment is right for you, we encourage you to discuss it with a trusted friend.

How do women feel after an abortion?

Every woman is unique in how she feels after an abortion. Most women report feeling a sense of relief that they have made the best decision under the circumstances. This is the most common response. For some women, however, abortion can raise a number of emotional responses including sadness, guilt, rage, shame and regret. Some women feel bad about themselves because they don’t feel guilty about having an abortion, but think they should feel guilty. In general, understanding your emotional pain can help you to begin to let go of the grief, guilt, rage or shame you may be feeling. It is important to acknowledge that you are hurting and to take good care of yourself if you are experiencing difficulty.

You are not a bad person because you had an abortion. You are also not alone in having chosen abortion. Many women are surprised to learn that about 42 million women worldwide have abortions each year.

What kinds of things might contribute to a woman feeling distress after an abortion?

Your hormones are changing back to their pre-pregnancy state. This chemical change can cause feelings of sadness and weepiness. Someone else may have pressured you into having an abortion, rather than letting you make the decision for yourself
You might not have much support from your friends or family. Isolation is a major reason that women may find themselves in distress after an abortion.

You might feel very divided inside about your decision to have an abortion. It may not have been clear to you that abortion was the right decision in your circumstances.
You may feel abandoned and alone. Maybe your were hoping the man who got you pregnant would want to have a baby with you. Maybe he was not willing to do that, contributing to your sadness.
Perhaps you have low self-esteem and often feel bad about yourself.
Other parts of your life may be very stressful — school, your job, your kids etc.

You might fear that you will never again be able to get pregnant. If this is a worry to you, be assured that a safe medical abortion does not cause infertility in the future.

Anytime you make a difficult decision, it is natural to worry "what if I had made a different choice?" and to agonize over the decision.
Abortion may bring up old experiences or feelings you have been repressing. For instance, if sexual abuse is a part of your past, you may find yourself re-living feelings related to your abuse. Feeling vulnerable about the pregnancy and abortion may trigger you to remember a time in the past when you felt frightened and vulnerable.

Is it normal to feel depressed after an abortion?

In rare cases, women may become clinically depressed after having an abortion. If your feelings are overwhelming and do not seem to be resolving or you are suffering symptoms of depression, you should consult a professional.

There are some factors which are known to contribute to the risk of depression after abortion, including having a history of depression, anxiety or panic. Depression is a very serious illness. It is extremely important that you seek help from a professional such as a doctor, counsellor or therapist if you believe you are depressed.

What is “Post-abortion Syndrome"?

A general consensus has been reached in the medical and scientific communities that most women who have abortions experience little or no psychological harm. However, many people who are opposed to abortion claim that women who have had abortions will suffer from a type of post-traumatic stress disorder called “post-abortion syndrome".

Reliable, unbiased studies have shown that, although psychological disturbances do occur after abortion, they are uncommon and generally mild and short-lived.
Most psychiatric experts doubt the existence of “post-abortion syndrome and point out that abortion is not significantly different from any other stressful life experience that might cause trauma in some people.

What can I do to help myself heal after an abortion?

After an abortion, there are concrete things you can do to help you come to terms with your decision. The following suggestions can help you accept and deal with your feelings, make your feelings of sadness go away and help you reach some "closure" to your abortion experience.

Allowing yourself to express any sadness and grief that you are feeling will help it to diminish. You won't always feel this way.
Don't be hard on yourself. Talk to yourself in ways that are affirmative. You are a good person. You are a moral person.

Remind yourself that you are brave -- you made a difficult decision.

Remind yourself why you made the decision to have an abortion.

Remember you made the best decision you could under the circumstances.

Ask yourself, if you hope to have a planned pregnancy some day, how would it differ from the situation you have just been in?

Write your feelings down in a journal or special book which no one else will see.

Think about things you can do which will make you feel good. Write them down and try to do several of these each day.

Remind yourself of the future. Make a list of things you are looking forward to doing.

Consider creating an "end" to your relationship with your pregnancy by writing a good-bye letter and keeping it in a safe place or burning it.

Practice relaxation exercises to help deal with stress.

Read about other women's experiences at the "I had an abortion" part of this website. This can be reassuring and make your own feelings more clear. 60

Different women have different feelings about and experiences with abortion. Psychological studies show that women do not suffer for prolonged periods of time due to abortions they choose to have. These studies show that women can overcome negative feelings that might affect them. “Multiple studies have demonstrated that feelings of regret after abortion are rare. Indeed, the most common emotional response after abortion is relief. Transient feelings of guilt, sadness, or loss are common, but no evidence indicates that routine counseling is essential or even beneficial in coping with these feelings 1 . Evidence suggests that most women do not need counseling after an abortion 1 .

Help me, I have an unwanted pregnancy, what can I do?

If you live in a country where it is permitted to have abortion safe and…

What is a medical abortion?

A medical abortion uses a medicine or a combination of tablets to cause the non

Is it difficult to use Misoprostol by yourself?

No. You can take Misoprostol on your own. Using Misoprostol is no more…

Paano gamitin ang misoprostol?

Kinakailangan ang isang babae ay bumili ng mahigit kumulang sa 12 tableta ng…

How can I get Misoprostol?

Instead of using Misoprostol alone it is much more effective (99%) to do a…

Which brand of misoprostol should I use and can different brand names can be used together?

Misoprostol alone has the following brand names: Cytotec (200µg Misoprostol…

Which type of pill containing Misoprostol is the most effective to cause an abortion?

All brands are effective. The most important thing is that the pills contain…

I cannot get Misoprostol. Could you please send them to me?

If you live in a country where there is no access to safe and legal abortion…

I am more than 12 weeks pregnant and can travel; where can I find clinics that can help?

Late abortions are available in the following countries: England Abortions up…

Can Misoprostol be used if you have Chlamydia?

An infection with Chlamydia is one of the main causes of infertility and must…

Are there injections that could end my pregnancy?

The only injection that can successfully end a pregnancy is methotrexate. This…

What is Methotrexate?

Methotrexate can be used to induce an abortion in combination with Misoprostol…

Do antibiotiocs have an effect on the contraceptive pill and/or Misoprostol?

Antibiotics can diminish the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill as it may…

Does Provera (a progesteron) help to induce an abortion?

No it does not. Provera does not contain a working substance to make the womb…

How do you know if you are pregnant and how long you have been pregnant for?

Most women determine that they are pregnant if they are sexually active and…

How many weeks into your pregnancy can you do a medical abortion?

You can do a medical abortion at home until the 12th week of your pregnancy.

I've been pregnant for more than 12 weeks. Can I still use Misoprostol?

Misoprostol still works after 12 weeks of pregnancy but the chance of…

I am 20 weeks pregnant; can I use Misoprostol?

Misoprostol should never be used after 20 weeks pregnancy. The fetus is able to…

What if you are not pregnant but take the medicines anyway?

Your health will not be harmed if you are not pregnant but take the medicines…

What are hCG levels during pregnancy?

hCG levels in weeks from Last Menstrual Period : 3 weeks LMP: 5 - 50 mIU/ml 4…

What if you have a RH - bloodtype?

Usually doctors advice women who have an (surgical) abortion or miscariage or…

When you should not do a medical abortion?

You should not use the medicines if: someone is forcing you to end your…

What is a contraindication and how do you know if you have one?

Contraindications are conditions or situations might keep you from being able…

What is an ectopic pregnancy and how do you know you have one?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that grows outside the womb, usually in a…

Can I have an abortion if I have an IUD?

An IUD is a contraceptive, a small coil of about 3 cm inserted by a doctor into…

Why shouldn't you be alone when you do a medical abortion and what if you do it alone anyway?

You are strongly advised to use the medicines in the presence of someone you…

Why should you be within 60 minutes of a hospital or first aid centre when you do the abortion?

It is absolutely necessary to be within one hour of help, in case you lose too…

What painkillers can you use?

NSAID's like Ibuprofen, Diclofenac and Naproxen are the most effective…

Can (homeopathic) medication that decreases menstrual pain be used with Misoprostol?

Because some of these medications might counter the contractions of the womb…

How should you use Misoprostol (cytotec)?

You will need 12 pills of misoprostol, 200 micrograms (mcg) each. To cause an…

Are there other ways to use the Misoprostol?

We strongly advise you to use Misoprostol under your tongue. This way, no…

Can you use Misoprostol if you are still breastfeeding?

It is better not to breastfeed during the first 5 hours after taking…

Is it safe to have a medical abortion if you've already had one in the past?

Women are fertile for about 40 years. Some women need more than one abortion…

Can I take part of the Misoprostol/Cytotec orally and part vaginally. Is this effective?

We strongly advice women to use Misoprostol under the tongue (dissolve under…

Can you eat or drink while you are taking the medicines?

You should not drink any alcohol or use drugs, as it can affect your judgment.

When will you start bleeding and how long will it last?

After using Misoprostol you should expect bleeding and cramps. Bleeding usually…

Can you go to work while doing the abortion? For how long must you rest before returning to work?

It is best to take Misoprostol on the weekends or when you can rest for a bit.

I took the first dose of Misoprostol and started bleeding. Should I take the next doses?

Yes, you must take the next doses, despite the blood loss. Scientific research…

How much and what colour is the blood loss?

The general rule is that fresh blood is red and old blood is brown. While…

Can you see the products of the abortion (placenta, embryo, blood) and what should you do with them?

Most of the time women can see blood and tissue in their sanitary napkin or in…

What are the side effects of Misoprostol?

The medical abortion normally causes side effects such as pain and cramping, as…

I've used Misoprostol a few days ago and I'm still in a lot of pain. Is this normal?

If the treatment was successful, you should no longer have any pain, just blood…

I've used Misoprostol but the pregnancy test is still positive. What should I do?

Sometimes, pregnancy test are still positive 3 or 4 weeks after the abortion

What is a complete, successful abortion and how do you know you've had one?

A complete abortion means that the body has expelled all the products of…

How do you know if you have complications and what should you do?

If performed in the first 10 weeks, a medical abortion carries a very small…

How do you know if you have a post-abortion infection?

Infections following medical abortions are very rare. If you feel weakness

How do you know if you have an incomplete abortion?

An incomplete abortion is an abortion that has only been partially successful.

What is a curettage/vacuum aspiration and is it necessary after medical abortion?

Vacuum aspiration (MVA)is a surgical intervention to remove the contents of the…

Can Misoprostol be detected in a blood test?

Misoprostol disappears from the blood after 12 hours, and it does not show up…

How do you know if you have a continuing pregnancy?

Continuing pregnancy is a pregnancy that continues to develop even after the…

What are the chances that the fetus will be malformed if you have an ongoing pregnancy?

If you have an ongoing pregnancy after using Misoprostol, the risk of having a…

Do you need to have an ultrasound after doing a medical abortion?

If you do not have symptoms of a complication, it is not necessary to have an…

What are the risks?

Many illegal abortions are unsafe and are carried out without proper…

I used Misoprostol, there was some blood loss but not that much, has the abortion been successful?

It is very difficult to determine whether an abortion has been successful and…

I used Misoprostol; bleeding is like during menstruation. Should I go to the hospital?

You do not have to go to a hospital, but you should get an ultrasound or do a…

Can you get pregnant again immediately after using Misoprostol?

Yes. You must immediately start taking precautions. For contraceptive methods…

Does medical abortion increase the risk of breast cancer?

No, having an induced abortion does not increase a woman’s chance of developing…

How long must you wait before starting to have sexual intercourse again after the abortion?

It is best to wait 4-7 days after taking the Misoprostol to have sexual…

Is a medical abortion dangerous?

Medical abortions performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy have a very low…

Will you be able to get pregnant and have children after a medical abortion?

A medical abortion does not affect your ability to conceive or bear a child in…

When can you get pregnant again after having a medical abortion?

Although it may be several weeks after your abortion before you get your…

How can you prevent a future unwanted pregnancy?

About 85% of sexually active women who do not use contraceptives become…

Where can I buy the abortion pill (RU 486, mifepristone, mifeprex, mifegyne, Zacafemyl)?

RU 486 (the abortion pill, Mifepristone, Mifegyne, Mifeprex, Zacafemyl)) is…

Do I have an infection?

Do I have an infection? A fever could indicate that you have an infection. If…

I've tried Misoprostol but had no or very little blood loss. Did the treatment work?

If you still do not bleed and you are positive that you were pregnant, then you…