Can you get pregnant within two weeks of having an abortion?

Hi 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,

Dear S,

Yes, it is possible for a woman to become pregnant within 2 weeks of an abortion IF she had unprotected sex that involved accidental or unintentional vaginal contact with semen. Also, having vaginal intercourse at this time could slow down the healing process and bring about an infection. It's usually safe to resume vaginal penetration about 2 to 3 weeks after an abortion, or after a woman has seen her women's health care provider for her follow-up exam. If a woman has intercourse before, she needs to use birth control, preferably condoms, if she wants to prevent pregnancy.

The type of physical intimacy you've desribed is typically referred to as outercourse. It's defined as lovemaking without penetration into a vagina or anus in which no semen, vaginal fluids, or blood is shared between partners. Using this definition, outercourse does protect against pregnancy and some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, depending upon what you and your boyfriend did while having outercourse, there could be a slight chance of pregnancy. You mention that you aren't sure if he ejaculated near your vagina or not. If any of his semen or pre-ejaculate (read pregnant from pre-cum for more information) came into contact with your vaginal opening, it is possible, though highly unlikely, that some of his sperm may have found its way inside, creating the possibility for pregnancy. Making sure that no ejaculate touches your vagina (or anything that touches it, such as a hand or vibrator) will help protect against pregnancy.

You say that it has been exactly one month since your abortion and you still have not had your period. Women generally get their period 4 to 6 weeks after an abortion, so you may just need to allow your body more time to adjust. If you do not have your period within 6 weeks of the abortion, however, contact your women's health care provider for a check-up. S/he will be able to let you know what is going on and determine if another pregnancy test would be necessary.

You also mentioned your boyfriend's disapproval of abortion and the outercourse arousing his suspicion. Consider asking yourself some questions about your relationship. How do you know that he wouldn't be supportive of your decision? Is there mutual respect and shared decision making in your relationship? Do you ever feel pressured by him to have sex or usually follow decisions he makes? Have you talked with him about birth control and/or pregnancy before? If you've used birth control in the past, how reliable was this method? Answering these questions for yourself or discussing them with your boyfriend could help prevent issues like this from arising in the future. The Go Ask Alice! Q&A Would my boyfriend be able to tell if I had an abortion? may help you manage this aspect of your relationship.

Last updated Dec 15, 2014
Originally published Aug 20, 2004

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