How Soon Can You Conceive After Terminating a Pregnancy?

Woman and reproduction hologram

It is possible to get pregnant within two weeks after a pregnancy termination. However, this all depends on when you start ovulating again. It is always a good idea to use contraception right after you have an abortion to avoid an undesired pregnancy so soon after a termination.

Pregnancy Following an Abortion

After terminating a pregnancy, it is possible to get pregnant as soon as you ovulate if you have unprotected sex. This can happen within two weeks, even if you are still bleeding. Based on a 2014 review in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 83 percent of women ovulate in the first cycle following an abortion, and this can occur as soon as eight days after the procedure. The statistics are similar for first trimester surgical abortions and medical abortions.

How soon you ovulate and therefore, how soon it is possible for you to conceive depends on:

  • When your pituitary reproductive hormones recover from suppression by ovarian and pregnancy hormones
  • How soon your ovarian follicles respond to the pituitary hormones and start growing towards ovulation
  • How far pregnant you were; after a second trimester abortion, the first ovulation might be a few days longer than after a first trimester procedure

Other factors individual to you, including previous hormonal or menstrual cycle problems, or complications from the abortion will also influence how soon you are likely to get pregnant.

Pregnancy and Pituitary and Ovarian Function

Pregnancy inhibits pituitary reproductive hormone production and secretion. This in turn suspends regular ovarian cycles and ovulation during pregnancy and right after termination of pregnancy.

During a Pregnancy

From the beginning of a conception:

  • There is an increase in estrogen and progesterone, first from your ovaries and then by seven weeks, from the placenta after implantation of the embryo in the uterine lining.
  • The sustained increase in these two hormones suppress production and secretion of the two pituitary reproductive hormones that make your ovaries function:

After Pregnancy Termination

As long as there were no complications, your body recovers quickly post abortion. According to the book Abortion Care (page 115), soon after a pregnancy termination:

  • Ovarian cycle anatomy
    Pregnancy levels of estrogen and progesterone blood levels start to fall rapidly within the first week.
  • With the lower levels of estrogen and progesterone, pituitary FSH and LH begin to rise and initiate a menstrual cycle.
  • FSH stimulates your ovarian follicles to start growing and maturing again, and there is an increase in ovarian estrogen to follicular levels.
  • If there is sufficient rise in FSH and LH, and events in this first post-pregnancy follicular phase of the ovarian cycle are normal, ovulation can occur.
  • Some women will ovulate within two weeks after a termination of pregnancy, and it is possible to get pregnant in this first cycle.

You cannot predict exactly when you will ovulate. How soon LH, FSH, and your ovaries recover from pregnancy suppression partly depends on the length of your pregnancy, your usual menstrual cycle events, and other individual factors.

Contraception After Pregnancy Termination

Because ovulation can occur within one to two weeks after an abortion, pregnancy is possible and is likely to occur if you have unprotected sex up to five days before that ovulation. Given this fact:

  • Use of effective contraception is key to avoiding getting pregnant so soon after an abortion. Most doctors or family planning counselors will encourage you to consider starting on a birth control method the day of the abortion, such as the birth control pill or insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD).
  • You should avoid intercourse, at any rate, during the first two weeks after a termination to decrease your chance of a post-abortion infection and a pregnancy if you are not yet on birth control.
  • Avoid getting pregnant during the first month after an abortion to give your uterine lining time to heal to accept another pregnancy. Your uterine lining begins to heal right after an uncomplicated abortion.
  • In case you really want to conceive after an abortion, doctors recommend you use contraception and wait until after you have at least one normal period before trying to conceive again.

There is usually a checkup two weeks post-procedure to make sure your uterus is back to normal, and there are no complications.

Avoid an Undesired Pregnancy

You can avoid an unplanned, undesired pregnancy too soon after termination of another by starting on an effective form of birth control right after the procedure. If you are considering an abortion, it is best to discuss your contraceptive options before your procedure with you healthcare specialists.

How Soon Can You Conceive After Terminating a Pregnancy?