Often, abortion can be an entirely different experience for women who undergo it as compared to the people around them. Most people may have the feeling that once an abortion is done, everything is done and dusted. However, it could not be any further from the truth. The experiences after an abortion may be different for different women.
For some, it may be easier and with fewer side effects, for others, it may be overly traumatic with lots of side effects. Sometimes, the changes in the body get to the extent that they permanently scar the woman. A lot of women who undergo these changes also fail to discuss these issues with others which makes it even more difficult to understand what they are going through.
Through this article, we've made an attempt to educate you about the 11 different changes that may happen in a woman's body after she has undergone an abortion, and how you can effectively manage the symptoms in order to prevent them from mentally and physically scarring the woman further.
1. Swelling Or Tenderness In The Breasts
While a woman becomes pregnant, her body prepares itself for the upcoming responsibility of nurturing the baby. This also includes hormonal changes which stimulate the development of breast tissue. As a result of this, the breasts become tender and swollen during pregnancy   .
When a woman undergoes an abortion, it takes her body many weeks to return back to its normal state and hence, the breasts may remain tender and swollen for weeks. This is one of the most common changes that most women significantly feel after the termination of their pregnancy.
However, it is also not uncommon to experience lactation, i.e., secretion of milk from the breasts, post abortion, especially if the pregnancy was terminated at a later stage. Both the tenderness and the lactation are natural responses of the body during the end of pregnancy and hence, show up after an abortion. Yet, this whole process can remind the woman of her lost baby and may take an emotional toll on her.
One may experience cramps soon after abortion or gradually, occasional or continuous. But why does this cramping happen? As the uterus goes back to its normal size after an abortion, your belly may feel like it is cramping. There can also be other reasons for cramps, yet in most cases, these are pretty harmful and can be relieved using medications prescribed by the doctor. But if they're really painful, please see the doctor as soon as possible  .
In some women, because of the hormonal changes, cramping after an abortion is accompanied by bleeding or spotting   . The bleeding may not start for the first few days, yet once it starts, it could last anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks. Even though it can be relieved by medications, if heavy blood flow continues for more than 3 hours, then you must visit the hospital immediately. Remember, this is not your period, but an after-effect of abortion.
4. Weight Gain
You might think that it is only during pregnancy that you get the urges to eat as much as possible. Although a woman can also gain weight after abortion for multiple reasons. One of them is that it becomes difficult for the body to suddenly stop filling itself to its newfound capacity. While some women modify their lifestyle to lose all the weight they gained during pregnancy, other women may go along with the flow and take time to lose the weight.
5. Back Pain
One might experience back pain on a regular basis, during as well as after abortion. This pain is more pronounced towards the region near the tailbone. Simple activities like sitting for longer durations would seem very difficult  . That is why it is advisable to get the right exercises and ample rest. Again, pain can be relieved by medications, but extreme pain is not normal and hence, visiting the hospital would be the best thing to do.
6. Pain During Sex
After an abortion, the cervix becomes sore   . And trying to have sex in a sore and delicate condition is going to make it very painful for the woman. At the least wait for 1 or 2 weeks before you indulge in sexual relations again.
If you've opted for a medical termination of pregnancy, then you're sure to lose some blood. As a result, you may need to consume doctor-prescribed iron supplements in order to compensate for the lost blood and remain healthy. While this is a good thing, the flip side to it is that iron supplements and tablets can cause constipation and make the bowel movements difficult   . But, before you take any laxatives to counter your constipation, consult your doctor and ensure that it is safe for you as your body would still be in a fragile state.
After an abortion, there can be two types of discharges from the vagina - one which is like mucus and the other one which is not bloody but brown to black in colour. This is nothing to worry about as it is just a natural response of the body, a way in which it cleans itself. But, if the discharge is foul-smelling, pus-like, itchy, or is accompanied by a fever, then you may have to go see a doctor  .
9. Bloating And Hardening
Post abortion, the stomach or abdomen of the woman may feel like it is bloated or hardened. While these two are also visible during the course of a pregnancy, the various activities happening in the body after the end of a pregnancy may cause this bloating to persist for quite a long time until the body returns to normal. Moreover, if you suffer from constipation as a result of the iron tablets, you will most likely feel bloating and hardening.
As the body slowly starts to regain its normalcy, the ovulation/menstrual cycle also starts to fall back into place and function like it used to before pregnancy. Hence, you'll most likely get your period after or within 4 to 8 weeks post abortion  .
11. Post-partum Depression
This is definitely one of the most dreaded after-effects of an abortion. When a pregnancy is terminated all of a sudden, before its normal course, the hormones in the body experience a shock to an extent. The new way of functioning of the many hormones, especially the ones like Oxytocin, usually takes a pretty long time to return back to the way it was. This may contribute to post-partum depression in mothers who underwent an abortion  . Post-partum depression is a state in which the mother may encounter all or most symptoms of depression. If you ever encounter this, make sure to visit your doctor and get help at the earliest.
On A Side Note...
Do you know what microchimerism is? When the baby is in the womb, the mother and baby exchange small quantities of certain cells. Therefore, even after the end of pregnancy (normal as well as abortion), a mother isn't entirely detached from the baby, but cells or parts of it still remain inside her till throughout her life. This is called microchimerism  .
Overall, a mother needs rest not just during pregnancy, but also during the end of the pregnancy - be it an abortion or otherwise. The 11 points discussed here can be managed effectively with the help of medications and mental support from family and friends.
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