Can you get pregnant after having an abortion?
Pregnancy after abortion can be a difficult subject for some – and can also lead to worries about fertility issues. Here, we explain everything you need to know about trying for a baby after a termination
In a nutshell
Yes, you can get pregnant again following a termination. If the procedure was medically uncomplicated, then it's likely you won't experience any issues.
If you're trying to get pregnant again some time later, you may be worrying that your fertility could be affected.
Please try not to panic, as it's very rare that abortion affects future fertility.
What issues can affect your fertility after an abortion?
In very rare cases, a termination may be complicated by a post-operative infection or a perforation of the uterus (womb) at the time of the operation.
If this happened to you, we’d say you’re best off speaking to your GP or your local practice’s midwife in advance. Pop to your docs to have a ‘pre-conception’ consultation, where you can discuss your personal situation in more detail.
(In fact, we’d say any woman concerned or worried about conceiving follow an abortion would benefit from this, too.)
A more common problem following termination is the possible carriage of a vaginal infection such as chlamydia, into the uterus and tubes at the time of the operation. Any infection in the vagina can be 'transported' further into the system by the instruments used for the termination operation.
However, it's now common practice to take vaginal swabs in outpatients prior to a hospital admission for abortion. Any infection can then be treated prior to the operation. So, hopefully, that won't be a worry for you.
Many hospitals also discharge patients on antibiotics following termination to reduce the risk of pelvic infection.
Again, in very rare cases, the cervix may be 'lax' following instrumentation at the time of a termination. Very sadly, this can lead to late miscarriage.
If the problem (known as cervical incompetence) is recognised following a miscarriage, then arrangements can be made to insert a 'purse string' suture into the cervix early on in any subsequent pregnancy to tighten the cervix. The suture is then removed before delivery.
How long will it take to get pregnant after an abortion?
It’s really impossible to say how long it will take for anyone to conceive, as every situation is so unique.
However, the average time taken to conceive for women is around 9 months, so it’s also likely that only a relatively small number of women will conceive within 6 months of trying.
We understand that, in some cases, the wait to become pregnant might cause some distress.
Any hint of sub-fertility can lead to an avalanche of regret about the termination, and some women can experience a resurgence of guilty feelings they experienced in the weeks and months following the abortion.
If this sounds familiar, we’d kindly suggest seeking support – from a professional, trained counsellor. Speak to your GP, or search for registered private therapists in your area.
Setting up these kinds of appointments can take a little time, so prioritise your mental health, and be very kind to yourself, in the meantime.
You’re always welcome to share your feelings with us and the kind women on the MadeForMums forum, 24/7.
What if getting pregnant after abortion takes longer than a year?
As approx 80-90% of couples will conceive within one year of trying, couples who have not been successful after this period of time should consider having some investigations for infertility.
We totally get that if you have had a previous termination, you may be feeling anxious, feel as though you won’t get a sympathetic hearing from your GP, or fear they may refuse you infertility treatment.
BUT, and this is important, there should be NO problem getting the same help and support from your GP as any woman would expect.
If you do feel there is a problem or reluctance to help you get pregnant, don’t be afraid to ask to see another doctor.
Remember, GPs aren’t there to judge you – a good GP wouldn’t dream of it – they’re there to help. Simple as ?
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