When Can I Start Using Birth Control After My Abortion?

This is a commonly asked question after one has an abortion. Prior to your abortion, your healthcare professional will be able to discuss your contraception options. If your particular choice is not immediately available, suitable or effective, you may wish to start on another type of contraceptive initially. You can then switch to your preferred method later and you will have been protected in the meantime.

Birth Control pills

Your medical history and prior experience of contraception are some of the issues that your doctor will take into account when advising you on your contraception options.

How soon after an abortion can I get pregnant?

You might be wondering how soon you can get pregnant again after an abortion. Well, whether you have a surgical or medical abortion you can ovulate (become fertile) again very soon after the abortion, before your period returns in fact. Therefore, it’s important to start using contraception immediately if you wish to prevent any pregnancies.

Which contraception methods can I use after an abortion?

Your past experiences with birth control methods should be taken into account with your provider. Discuss with your doctor which methods you can choose from and talk about the ones you have used in the past and how they worked for you and your lifestyle. Any method assessed as suitable for you by your doctor can be safely used after an abortion. Most methods can be started and will be effective straight away or within the next few days.

Contraception methods include short-acting, long-acting or permanent types

Short-acting methods
Include barrier methods, like condoms, or methods that require taking a contraceptive pill daily.

Long-acting reversible contraception
These are the most effective reversible contraceptive methods, requiring no further action for several months or years, depending on the type you use. They include implantsinjections (such as Depo Provera), and intrauterine devices (IUDs). Check out our other blog post on all the different types of IUDs available.

Permanent methods
Include female sterilization and male vasectomy; intended to be non-reversible.

How soon will contraception work after abortion?

How soon contraception will work after an abortion might depend on the type of contraception you choose, and the type of abortion you had (medical or surgical).

Contraception after a surgical abortion

Contraceptive implants, contraceptive injections, IUDs and hormonal contraceptive pills are all considered effective immediately after a surgical abortion and can be provided to you at that time.

If you have the contraceptive injection or commence contraceptive pills more than five days after an abortion, you’ll need to use additional contraception for one week. So in this case, using condoms is highly encouraged.

An IUD can be inserted straight away after a surgical abortion. This is considered to be a common choice that women choose based on the convenience of the application, as no separate appointment is required, and because it is a safe and one of the most effective options.

There has been research that has shown a slightly increased risk of an IUD being expelled (moving out of the ideal position or falling out) when inserted right after an abortion. This is more likely when the abortion was for a more advanced gestation (over 12 weeks), however it is still a very low possibility.

Contraception after a medical abortion

You can start most hormonal contraceptive methods (pills, injections or implants) at the time of your medical abortion.

The exact timing can vary with the type of contraception. For example, you may be advised to start it when you take the first medication (mifepristone), or the last medication (misoprostol) of the abortion, or after it has been established that the abortion is completed. Your doctor will provide the prescription for your chosen method of contraception and advise on how to access it and when to start it.

An IUD can be inserted immediately or a few days after the completion of a medical abortion. It requires an appointment in a clinic setting and you will need to use another contraceptive method in the meantime if you do not want to risk becoming pregnant.

Which contraception is right for me?

You can discuss your options with a nurse or doctor at the service providing you with an abortion or with your normal healthcare provider. If you are concerned with what type of birth control you should be using after your abortion or want to change your method, give us a call or contact us to schedule your appointment with us at Eastside Gynecology. We are here to answer any questions or concerns that you may have!