Aftercare Instructions for Surgical Abortion
Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health
1547 W. Clinch Ave, Knoxville, TN 37916 (865) 637-3861
Please read these instructions carefully and keep them for reference.
The Center wishes to protect your health and your privacy. The Center rarely, but occasionally, may need to contact you. Due to confidentiality considerations, the only message we will leave is that “K.C.” called. Please call us as soon as possible. If you cannot be reached at the phone number you have given the Center, you should call and let us know where you can be reached.
A tubal or ectopic pregnancy is not terminated by vacuum aspiration but must be treated if it exists — your life could be threatened. Symptoms of tubal or ectopic pregnancy include: abdominal pain (usually localized to the right or left), nausea, chills and fever, and/or shock (fainting, weakness, or cold sweat). If you experience such symptoms, contact the Center, your private physician or go to the ER immediately.
A follow-up examination is necessary in three weeks. This exam has been scheduled for you on _______________________ at _____________.
If you have an EMERGENCY, call the Center at (865) 637-3861, 24 hours a day. After hours, the answering service will take your name and number. A staff member will call you back as soon as possible. Please note: Do not call the toll free number for after-hour emergencies as this number is only answered during working hours. Should you have an emergency, please call us before seeking medical care elsewhere. We are committed to meeting your needs at our facility if possible, at no additional charge.
After Care Instructions
Now that you are ready to go home, we would like for you to keep in mind a few important points for your health and safety. Remember, these are general points and your body’s response may include all or none of them.
- You can resume normal activities — work, school, housekeeping — tomorrow. It is recommended to avoid strenuous activity for 7 days.
- Some vaginal bleeding may occur. It may be as much as in a heavy menstrual period and may last up to three weeks. It is normal for you to have no bleeding after the procedure and then to have heavy bleeding occurring 2-5 days afterwards. You may stop bleeding and then start bleeding again; this is also normal. You may also pass some blood clots that are dark in color and range in size from very small to quite large (the size of golf balls or lemons). Be sure to use overnight sized pads.
- You may experience menstrual-type cramping for the next couple of weeks. Take your Ibuprofen and prescribed pain medication as directed. A heating pad or hot water bottle may also help.
- If you have started using some form of hormonal contraception (birth control pills or patch), your next menstrual period will start in 4 weeks. If you have not started hormonal contraception, your next normal menstrual period will usually be in 3 to 6 weeks. You can get pregnant between now and then if you engage in sexual intercourse.
- You may feel tired or “down” for a few days. If you experience “blues” or depression, it may be related to hormonal changes and may last until your first menstrual period. Nine out of ten women have no lasting emotional problems from their abortion experience, but recent research shows that some women do suffer from lingering guilt, grief, and/or depression. If this happens to you, please do not hesitate to call. Our staff is specially trained to help.
GYNECOLOGICAL CHECK UP
You can schedule a check-up to return in three (3) weeks to make sure that your uterus has returned to normal size and that there are no problems. This visit will also give you an opportunity to discuss, obtain, or continue reliable birth control. The check-up at the Center is free. If treatment is needed for unrelated gynecological problems, there will be an additional charge. If you are 21 years of age or older you can get a Pap smear at this for $30 (or covered by your insurance; bring your insurance card).
THE FIRST WEEK
For the first week it is important to keep germs out of the vaginal area to prevent infection. DO NOT have sexual intercourse, douche, use tampons or sex toys, or have anything in the vagina for 1 week.
Note: A pregnancy test can be positive for about 3-6 weeks after your abortion. Do not do a home test. We will do one at your follow up visit.
PLEASE CALL IF YOU HAVE:
- Bleeding that is heavier than a heavy period — soaking through more than one large, overnight sized, sanitary pad per hour for more than 3 hours.
- Repeatedly passing large bright red blood clots bigger than lemons.
- Persistent severe cramps or pain not relieved by Ibuprofen and prescribed pain medication.
- A temperature of 100.4 degrees or more that lasts longer than 24 hours.
DON’T WORRY IN ADVANCE! THE CHANCES OF ANY OF THE ABOVE OCCURRING ARE SLIGHT.
For cramping and pain: Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). You have been given a prescription for Ibuprofen 800mg. Take one tablet up to three (3) times a day. (This is the same as taking four (4) 200mg over-the-counter Ibuprofen tablets). Do not take aspirin as it may promote bleeding.
In case this does not relieve your cramps, you may have been given a prescription for pain medication, usually Hydrocodone and Acetominophen. Take one-half (1/2) to one (1) tablet every 6 hours alternating with the Ibuprofen, if needed for pain. (May cause drowsiness)
You have also been given a prescription for Cytotec, usually folded in half. DO NOT fill this prescription unless you call us about heavy bleeding concerns and we direct you to fill it.
REMEMBER, WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
We hope that we have been able to provide you with services that met your individual needs. If you were pleased with our services or have suggestions that would be helpful to other women who might need our services, please feel free to let us know and complete the Patient Evaluation Survey.
Last updated 4/16