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When is it safe to have sex after an abortion?

Medical reviewer:
Dr Ann Nainan
Dr Ann Nainan
Last reviewed: 19/03/2021
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

If you’ve had an abortion, you may be wondering how long to wait after an abortion before having sex again.

Read on to learn more about sex after an abortion, including precautions to take after an abortion if you don’t want to become pregnant.

How long to wait to have sex after an abortion

After an abortion, you can usually have sex as soon as you feel ready.

But you may feel some discomfort and have vaginal bleeding for a week or 2, so you may want to wait until this stops before having sex again.

Whatever you decide on, it’s a good idea to talk to your partner about it to make sure you both feel comfortable.

If you have pain when you have sex after an abortion, talk to your doctor.

Young woman sat with cup of coffee and diary

How soon after an abortion can you get pregnant again?

You can get pregnant almost straight away after an abortion. If you don’t want to get pregnant, you should use contraception.

What contraception can you use after an abortion?

Talk to your doctor or nurse about the best form of contraception for you after an abortion. The best method for you will depend on what you prefer, your medical history and if you’ve had any complications from the abortion.

For example, if you have an infection in your womb (uterus), you won’t be able to have an IUD (intrauterine device) or IUS (intrauterine system) fitted until the infection is gone.

If you don’t have any medical risks, you can use any contraception type straight away and be protected from pregnancy immediately.

If you start hormonal contraception more than 5 days after your treatment, you should use another form of contraception, like condoms, or avoid sex for a certain amount of time. The time varies depending on the type of hormonal contraception – check this with your doctor.

If you have an abortion using pills (early medical abortion), you can have the contraceptive implant or injection as soon as you’ve taken the first pill. However, this may mean you have a slightly higher risk of the abortion not working and staying pregnant.

Multiple packets of different contraceptive pills

Can you use emergency contraception after an abortion?

You can use emergency contraception (such as the emergency pill or an emergency IUD) from 5 days after an abortion – as long as you didn’t have any complications from the abortion.

If you had complications and have sex without contraception or think your contraception might not have worked, you should talk to your doctor.

You don’t need emergency contraception if it’s been less than 5 days since the abortion.

Read more about what happens during and after an abortion.

Key points

  • you can usually have sex after an abortion as soon as you feel ready
  • you may want to wait until any discomfort or bleeding stops
  • talk to your doctor if you have pain having sex
  • you can get pregnant almost straight away after an abortion
  • you can use any method of contraception straight away as long as there aren’t any medical issues
  • depending on when you start using hormonal contraception, you may need to use another method with it for a while
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