By Alice || Edited by Go Ask Alice Editorial Team || Last edited Nov 03, 2023
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Cite this Response

Alice! Health Promotion. "Can you get pregnant within two weeks of having an abortion?." Go Ask Alice!, Columbia University, 03 Nov. 2023, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/can-you-get-pregnant-within-two-weeks-having-abortion. Accessed 20, Jun. 2024.

Alice! Health Promotion. (2023, November 03). Can you get pregnant within two weeks of having an abortion?. Go Ask Alice!, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/can-you-get-pregnant-within-two-weeks-having-abortion.

Dear Alice,

Can you get pregnant within 2 weeks after having an abortion if you had unprotected outercourse? It is exactly 1 month since my abortion and I have not had my period. I did a home pregnancy test 12 days after being intimate and it was negative. There was no intercourse or anal sex. When do you get your period after an abortion — is it 4 - 6 weeks? My boyfriend is not aware I had abortion as he would have never allowed it and he was a bit suspicious when I wouldn't allow him to go in me. So he ejaculated behind me. I not sure if it was near my vagina.

Very worried,
S

Dear S, 

This is an important consideration to take into account post abortion, so thank you for the question. Yes, it’s possible for someone to become pregnant shortly after abortion if they had unprotected sex that involved intentional or unintentional vaginal contact with semen. Having an abortion is unlikely to impact someone’s capacity to conceive, therefore during this time, it’s possible for a mature follicle to release an egg—a process known as ovulation—, which prepares the egg for fertilization. The pace at which people feel comfortable returning to sex after an abortion is entirely dependent on their personal comfort and therefore may vary. However, many medical professionals suggest that it’s usually safe to resume vaginal penetration about two to three weeks after an abortion, or after you have seen your health care provider for a follow-up exam. If a person has intercourse earlier, it’s important to note that they may be at a higher risk of pelvic infections and they may consider using birth control if they want to prevent pregnancy. 

The type of physical intimacy you’ve described is typically referred to as outercourse. Outercourse is defined as sex without penetration. Using this definition, outercourse typically protects against pregnancy and some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, you mentioned that you aren’t sure if he ejaculated near your vagina or not. It can be important to note that if any of his semen or pre-ejaculate came into contact with your vaginal opening, it is possible that some of his sperm may have found its way inside, increasing the chances of becoming pregnant. Ensuring that no ejaculate touches your vagina or anything that touches it, such as a hand or vibrator, will help protect against pregnancy. 

You said that it’s been exactly one month since your abortion, and you still haven’t had your period. Typically, people can expect to get their period four to eight weeks after an abortion, so it’s possible that your body simply needs more time to readjust. It’s important to note that the experiences of individuals who are transgender may vary slightly, as most research surrounding abortions is based on cisgender women. If you don’t get your period within eight weeks of the abortion, it’s recommended that you contact a health care provider for a check-up. They’ll be able to help you determine the possible causes and decide if another pregnancy test is necessary. 

You also mentioned your boyfriend’s disapproval of an abortion and that the outercourse may have aroused his suspicion. What you’re referring to may be a form of reproductive coercion, in which you may feel pressured into a decision about pregnancy by your partner or someone else. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, this behavior can be a type of relationship abuse, as it aims to maintain power and control within a relationship. If you feel comfortable, you may consider having a conversation with your partner about this using the following strategies: 

  • Approach the conversation with mutual respect. Maintaining mutual respect with one another and understanding that compromise might not be possible in this situation may be beneficial to the conversation. Ideally, this conversation can allow your partner to understand your thoughts and feelings, and vice versa. 
  • Use “I” statements. Sharing your feelings using statements like “I don’t think I’m able to raise a child” or “I don’t want to be a parent right now” can help your partner understand your perspective without being accusatory. 
  • Confide in someone. Family members, friends, or professional counselors can offer emotional and physical support if your current partnership begins to feel unsafe. 

For more information on how to navigate this conversation with your partner, consider checking out the Go Ask Alice! response Would my boyfriend be able to tell if I had an abortion?. If you feel unsafe in a way that you don’t think your friends or family can help support or need support in addition to those people, the following resources may be available to you: 

  • All-options is an organization that provides support for those facing decisions related to pregnancy, including parenting, abortion, adoption, miscarriage, and infertility. You can also involve them as a third party during a conversation with your partner to help navigate the discussion. 
  • Faith Aloud is an extension of All-options, focusing on a faith-based approach to reproductive health, and is typically run by a spiritual counselor. 
  • Exhale Pro-Voice and Connect & Breathe are organizations that offer post-abortion support. 
  • Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation may host workshops or provide support services in your area for support before, during, or after your abortion. Planned Parenthood also offers telehealth services, where you can voice your questions or concerns related to reproductive health to a health care professional. 
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline and emergency services are also available to you, if you are feeling unsafe with your partner. 

Wishing you peace of mind, 

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