How and When to Have Sex After an Abortion
- There’s no medical-community consensus on how soon you can have sex after an abortion.
- It takes two to six weeks to stop bleeding after a surgical or medication abortion.
- Feeling emotionally and physically ready are the most important factors, an OBGYN told Insider.
If you recently had an abortion and want to have sex again, you’re likely in the clear, Ashley Jeanlus, an OBGYN at University of California San Francisco, told Insider.
It takes between two to six weeks for someone to stop bleeding and fully recover from an abortion, whether it’s a surgery at a clinic or self-managed medication abortion with the pills mifepristone and misoprostol, according to Jeanlus.
But current research shows you can safely have sex before that period is up, and as soon as you feel physically and emotionally ready, Jeanlus said.
There’s no agreed-upon waiting period for sex after abortion
There’s no consensus for how long someone should wait to have sex after an abortion.
Since abortion disturbs the uterus, not the vaginal canal like giving birth does, penetrative sex shouldn’t be a painful experience, Jeanlus said.
Still, waiting one to two weeks post-abortion can reduce a person’s risk of infection, Dr. Jennifer Conti told Cosmopolitan. If it’s a medication abortion, the full two-week period likely isn’t necessary, Conti said.
Focus on how you feel emotionally and physically
Since there’s no “right” time to have sex after an abortion, pay attention to how you feel physically and emotionally, said Jeanlus.
“We tell patients, ‘Listen to your body and give yourself time, but whenever you’re ready to return back to your “normal” sex life, go for it,'” Jeanlus said.
She added that each of her patients view their abortion experience differently, with some feeling indifferent about ending a pregnancy, and others who feel emotionally heavy afterwards. Depending on the person, it could take more time to mentally prepare for sex again, which is normal, Jeanlus said.
“Some people find it very healing to get back to their regular sexual life and be back with their partner or a different partner. Other people need time, and that’s OK too,” Dr. Diane Horvath told Cosmopolitan about abortion patients she’s worked with.
If you’re still bleeding and concerned about making a mess, put down a towel, Jeanlus said.
Before you ease back into it, consider birth control options
When you’re ready to have sex again, no position is off-limits and you should do what makes you feel comfortable, according to Jeanlus.
Horvath said your go-to position may feel uncomfortable in your pelvis area, similar to the cramps you feel on your period, because your uterus expanded during pregnancy. She suggested experimenting with different angles and positions.
Since a person’s fertility returns soon after an abortion, it’s also important to plan ahead with contraception to avoid future pregnancy, if it’s not in your plans, said Horvath.