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. Women concerned about pregnancy immediately after abortion should know that ovulation can vary from woman to woman. The statistics are similar for first trimester surgical abortions and medical abortions.

Understanding Ovulation After Abortion

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 along in the pregnancy you were; after a second trimester abortion, the first ovulation might be a few days later 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, will stop regular ovarian cycles and ovulation during pregnancy and right after the termination of a 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 once the embryo has implanted within the uterus.
  • The increase in estrogen and progesterone suppresses 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 will begin to rise, which in turn will cause a menstrual cycle.
  • FSH stimulates the follicles in your ovaries to start growing and maturing again. When the follicle reaches mature size, it will release an egg during ovulation.
  • If there is a sufficient rise in FSH and LH, and the ovarian cycle has returned to 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 typical menstrual cycles, and other individual factors.

What If Pregnancy Is Desired Immediately After Termination?

Some women may desire to get pregnant soon after terminating a pregnancy. However, it may be more difficult to to achieve pregnancy quickly depending on the type of abortion that was performed. If a surgical abortion was performed, it would be best to wait to give the uterus a chance to recover appropriately.

Healing and Grieving Take Time

Whether the abortion was done for medical reasons or for an unplanned pregnancy, it is best to wait and allow yourself time to heal and grieve. Once your body is healthy, you are ready emotionally, and your doctor approves, you can start trying for pregnancy.

Contraception After Pregnancy Termination

Can you get pregnant after an abortion before your period? 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.

Safety of Pregnancy After Termination

If you do become pregnant soon after you've terminated a pregnancy, it should be a relatively safe process and there typically shouldn't be a cause for concern. However, there could be complications depending on what type of abortion you had.

Surgical Abortion

If you had a surgical procedure performed for your abortion, (such as a D & C), it may cause scarring of the uterine wall. While this is rare, there is the possibility it could have an impact on your future pregnancy, such as a possible miscarriage, especially if the pregnancy occurs soon after the abortion.

Medical Abortion

There does not appear to be any evidence of an increased chance of complications for future pregnancies with a medical termination which is a medication-induced abortion.

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. It is possible to get pregnant two weeks after an abortion, or even sooner, depending on several factors. 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?