11.5.2  Family planning options post-abortion

Following abortion, menstruation usually returns after between two and four weeks, depending on the trimester in which it took place (see section 11.1) so a woman will be fertile and may get pregnant again unless she starts a family planning method. All modern family planning methods can be used immediately after post-abortion care, provided that:

  • there are no severe complications requiring further treatment
  • the provider screens for any precautions before using a particular contraceptive method
  • the woman receives adequate counselling.

You should advise women not to have sexual intercourse until their bleeding stops (usually five to seven days after abortion) and any complications have been resolved. Also advise women not to use natural family planning (NFP) methods until their regular menstrual pattern returns. Moreover, all women should be advised that the only contraceptive method that provides protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is the condom. Box 11.3 summarises the principal guidelines for post-abortion family planning.

Box 11.3  Summary of post-abortion family planning

  • Post-abortion family planning should be started immediately:
    • Ovulation can occur as early as eleven days post-abortion.
    • 75% of women will have ovulated within four to six weeks post-abortion.
  • All modern family planning methods are appropriate for post-abortion women:
    • Condoms (which also prevent STIs and HIV)
    • Oral contraceptives
    • IUCDs
    • Injectables
    • Implants
    • Spermicides.

11.5  Postpartum and post-abortion family planning options

Summary of Study Session 11