Is abortion painful?




  • Research indicates that abortion can cause physical pain during and after an abortion.
  • Pain related to abortion varies from person to person.
  • Pain may occur immediately or may not begin until months or years later.
  • Abortion can cause psychological pain.

Physical pain

  • Pain varies from person to person.
  • Cramping is reported during surgical abortion, even when a local anesthetic is used (in both surgical and non-surgical procedures).
  • Cramps can last from days to weeks after an abortion.
  • Bleeding is considered normal after an abortion.
  • Amounts vary from person to person.
  • Some women have no bleeding after an abortion.
  • Spotting can occur for days or as long as several weeks.
  • Intermittent bleeding can occur with starts and stops.
  • Women report they had bleeding similar to a normal menstrual period for a week or two.
  • Passing small clots is not considered an emergency.
  • Some women report bloating for a few days after an abortion.
  • If symptoms do not lessen, or if they worsen, call your MD.
  • Some women experience muscle cramps in their legs following a surgical abortion.
  • Breast tenderness is not uncommon following an abortion.
  • It can last for as long as one week.
  • Severe pain, bleeding (soaking through two maxi pads in one hour), clots (larger than a half dollar size), fast heartbeat, lightheadedness, fever, swelling, foul odor or vaginal discharge are all indications that you need to see a doctor immediately.
  • It’s possible to feel nauseous if a woman had nausea before the abortion due to her pregnancy.  This should diminish in a few days. (As above, call your MD if vomiting occurs for more than 4-6 hours.)

Psychological pain

Duration and degree of these symptoms vary from person to person.    Examples of signs and symptoms of Post-Abortion Syndrome include:

  • Sleeping disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Sexual disorders
  • New or increased dependencies on drugs or alcohol
  • A cluster of negative psychological outlooks including any or all of the following:
    • Depression
    • Grief
    • Guilt
    • Regret
    • Sadness
    • Feelings of isolation
    • Anger
    • Thoughts of suicide
    • Suicide
    • Negative changes in relationships to family, friends, co-workers, children and men
  • Both men and women can experience psychological suffering following abortion.
  • Having an abortion may contribute further to life-long histories of depression and suicidal ideations.
  • Emotional responses greatly vary, with most women stating they feel relief immediately after the abortion. Others report feeling weak, tired, sad, angry, or depressed.  Women later report feeling loss and sad, as listed above.


Resources regarding the above mentioned physical and psychological negative effects of abortion can be found at these links:


Related Questions:

Are abortion clinics safe?
Can I change my mind once I’m in the clinic?
What are my rights?
What is an informed consent?
What is Post-Abortion Syndrome?
What is the connection between abortion and the increased risk of breast cancer?
What are the risks of abortion?