How soon after abortion can you get pregnant?

3rd October, 2022 • 8 min read

Getting pregnant straightaway is possible after an abortion, which may or may not be what you want at the moment.

“If you had an abortion because of a fetal abnormality or other health problems, some women want to get pregnant again as soon as possible, while others feel they need more time to process what has happened,” says doctor and Healthily expert,

Dr Adiele Hoffman

“If you’ve had an abortion for other reasons, such as not having enough money to have a baby or it not being the right time in your life, you may be more concerned about getting the right contraception so you don’t have another unplanned pregnancy.”

Read on to learn more about how soon you can get pregnant after an abortion, how to avoid pregnancy after abortion, and the signs you should see a doctor.

When do you ovulate after abortion?

After having an abortion, it’s possible to become pregnant again quickly, even before you’ve had a period. It can take some time for your cycle to settle back into your usual rhythm and your next period can appear anywhere from 4-8 weeks after your abortion. You'll usually release an egg (

) 10-16 days before your period starts so predicting exactly when this will happen after an abortion isn't easy.

Signs of ovulation to look out for include changes in your cervical mucus (vaginal discharge), a slight rise in body temperature and the change in hormone levels can sometimes lead to sore breasts, bloating, mild tummy pain or an increased sex drive.

Because the signs of ovulation can be unpredictable, the guidance is that you'll need to use contraception from 5 days after an abortion. Read more about

your menstrual cycle and fertility

Find more useful information on abortion care with our

complete Guide

When should you start contraception after abortion?

As many as 45% of pregnancies in the US are unplanned, so using some form of contraception is key if you don’t want to get pregnant again after an abortion. It’s usually recommended you start using birth control immediately afterwards so you’ll be protected when you start having sex again.

You can use most

types of contraception
straight after an abortion – even on the same day as your treatment – so ask the medical staff at the clinic if you’re attending one, or the doctor who assesses you for a medical abortion at home.

Your doctor might suggest having an

or implant inserted while you’re still at the clinic, which could be more convenient and has been found to reduce the risk of another unplanned pregnancy.

The Affordable Care Act means that all contraception should be covered by your health insurance plan. There is also federal funding through Title X, the nation’s program to help lower income families and those without insurance. Contraception is also available through

for people on low incomes. In the UK, contraception is available for free from family planning clinics or your family doctor.

You can read more about different types of contraception, including emergency contraception, in our

sex after abortion article

When can you try for a baby again after abortion?

  • you can try for a baby after an abortion as soon as you feel ready. Generally, there’s no set time that you have to wait before you can try again, but you might prefer to wait until any heavy vaginal bleeding stops
  • getting pregnant again isn’t generally affected by having an abortion, read more about this below and in our
    abortion explained article
  • if you’ve had any complications after an abortion, such as as infection, talk to your doctor – they may advise you wait a few weeks before trying to conceive
  • if you’ve had an abortion because of a fetal abnormality, you may need to talk to your doctor about the chances of a problem happening again
  • it’s also important to take care of yourself if you are trying for a baby. Read more about
    nutrition and supplements for fertility

Your emotions and trying for a baby after abortion

You may have mixed emotions about getting pregnant after you’ve had an abortion. It’s possible to both feel hope for a new pregnancy as well as sadness and sometimes guilt that you chose to end a previous pregnancy. Or you may be able to put the abortion behind you and concentrate on the future.

Common worries you may have about pregnancy after an abortion include:

  • worrying about abortion causing infertility. Be reassured that an abortion doesn’t usually affect your chances of conceiving again unless you’ve had an untreated infection. Read more in our

    abortion explained article

  • anxiety about an increased risk of miscarriage,

    ectopic pregnancy
    or low-lying placenta. There is no evidence of an increased risk of any of these after abortion. However there is a slightly increased risk of having a premature birth after abortion and this risk is higher after a surgical abortion than a medical abortion. The risk of premature birth after abortions is lower than after a
    . If you have any questions talk to your doctor or midwife

  • talking to your partner about trying again for a baby: you may be worried that you’re both thinking differently on this. One of you might want to try again right away while the other may want to wait. Try to talk openly to each other about your feelings. If you want different things it may help to see a counselor.

Read more in our article on

emotional support before and after an abortion

When to see a doctor

If you’re planning a pregnancy after an abortion, see your doctor if you have any worries or questions such as those mentioned above. They will be able to put your mind at rest. If you are still not feeling back to your usual self and are getting physical symptoms like ongoing cramping or bleeding it’s also best to speak to a doctor.

If you’re

struggling to get pregnant
after a year of regular unprotected sex, speak with your doctor. They can work with you to try and identify why you might be having problems and together you can form a plan to
support your efforts to get pregnant

If you’re having problems getting pregnant and you’re 35 or older, it’s a good idea to see a doctor sooner than this – after about 6 months (although it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem).

Often following an abortion, women feel a mix of emotions. While many women feel relieved, it's also common to feel up and down, even if you feel you've made the best decision.

If you’re experiencing low mood and tearfulness, speak to someone you trust, perhaps your partner, a friend or family member, your doctor or abortion provider. Tell them how you’re feeling and why, as you may have unresolved emotions and feelings about your abortion. You may need to see a counselor to talk things through. Read our article on

mental health and abortion

Read more about possible complications of abortion in our

abortion explained article
. Read more about
sex after abortion here

Fetal abnormality – could it happen again?

If you’ve had an abortion because of a fetal abnormality, you may need to talk to your doctor about the chances of it happening again. They can help you work out if there are ways to reduce the risk, discuss whether there is anything that can be done to prevent it happening again or support you through your worries.

Fetal abnormalities can happen for lots of different reasons and many of these are by chance and not likely to happen again. There are things you can do to help prevent some fetal abnormalities for example taking folic acid at least one month before and during your pregnancy can help prevent spina bifida. If you’ve had a pregnancy affected by spina bifida your doctor may recommend taking a higher dose.

For other conditions, there might not be anything you can do but your doctor may be able to reassure you that you don’t have any increased risk of it happening again. In most cases of Down’s syndrome, for instance, the condition almost always doesn’t run in families. Anyone can have a baby with Down’s syndrome, but your chances do increase with age.

Other genetic conditions can run in families and have a higher chance of affecting another baby. If you know you are at higher risk for a condition like cystic fibrosis, for example, it might be something your fetus is tested for in your next pregnancy. There are also options for testing your embryo before it is implanted which would need to be conceived by

IVF (in-vitro fertilization)
before being tested, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Ask your doctor or genetic counselor for support with the next steps. If you’re in the US, you can contact the
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
for information about genetic testing and screening. In the UK,
Cystic Fibrosis Trust
can provide information, and the
British Society of Genetic Medicine
has a list of organizations that can help.

Your next pregnancy might be an anxious time but you can discuss with your doctor having extra screening for reassurance, or emotional support from a psychologist. For information about emotional support after abortion for fetal abnormality, read our

abortion and mental health article.

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.