Potential Abortion Complications You Should Know About

Woman holding a glass of water and a white pill to her mouth

Abortion is a medical procedure that involves terminating a pregnancy. There are risks and complications that may occur during both surgical and medical/chemical (pills) abortions. It’s essential to have accurate information about these complications so that you are able to make an informed decision. In this article, we’ll explore the potential complications that can occur during an abortion.


Infection is a risk associated with any surgical procedure, including abortion. During an abortion, there is a potential for bacteria to enter the reproductive organs, leading to infections. 

Pregnant woman receiving an ultrasound at a clinic

Incomplete Abortion 

An incomplete abortion occurs when not all the pregnancy tissue is removed during the procedure. This can lead to ongoing bleeding, and even sepsis (life-threatening complication of infection). This danger is particularly present in home abortions; follow-up is required to ensure that all fetal remains have been expelled. 

Heavy Bleeding

Some level of bleeding is expected after an abortion, but heavy bleeding can be a complication. Excessive bleeding can lead to anemia and may require additional medical attention or even a blood transfusion in severe cases. Monitoring post-abortion bleeding and seeking immediate medical attention if it becomes heavy is crucial.

Uterine Perforation

Uterine perforation is a serious complication that can occur when the instrument used during an abortion punctures the uterine wall. This may require surgery to repair and carries risks of infection and scarring. In some serious cases, the uterus is a total loss and has to be removed, leaving a woman sterile (unable to have children). 

Adverse Reactions

If anesthesia is used during an abortion, there is a risk of adverse reactions, including allergies or complications related to anesthesia administration. 

Ectopic Pregnancy 

In some cases, an abortion might not be appropriate if the pregnancy is ectopic, meaning it has implanted outside the uterus, typically in the fallopian tube. Attempting to terminate an ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening, as it can lead to a rupture and severe internal bleeding. It is important that you receive a confirmatory ultrasound to ensure that the pregnancy is located in the uterus. 

Upset woman sitting on a couch, holding her head in her hand

Emotional Complications

While not physical complications, it’s essential to acknowledge that abortion can have emotional and psychological effects on individuals. Some women experience feelings of sadness, guilt, or regret when they are post-abortive – these feelings may be present immediately after, or may take years to develop. 

Honesty is Key for Medical Care

It is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of these potential risks when considering abortion. Additionally, open and honest communication with your healthcare provider is essential – being honest about your situation, gestational age, substances you currently take or are allergic to, etc. is vital. 

If you are considering an abortion or have recently undergone the procedure and experience any unusual symptoms or complications, seek immediate medical attention. Be honest with medical practitioners about what you are experiencing; do not lie and tell them that you are naturally miscarrying if you have induced an abortion. Honesty is key to receiving proper medical treatment. 

If you or someone you know has experienced an abortion and wish to speak with someone about your experience, a local pregnancy center may offer free post-abortive counseling.

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