The World of Pregnancy

Immediate, Early & Late Complications Of Abortion!

For a lot of women, a new pregnancy isn`t exactly welcome. For them, abortion is the last saving solution. But first, here is what the doctor would tell you!

Complications Of Abortion

Up to a certain point, opinions about abortion are different. The cruelty or morality of this procedure is still debated in religion and schools. However, one thing is certain! If we are to talk from a medical point of view, abortion will always involve mental and physical risks to the woman`s body. And the consequences may prove to be quite severe on the long run.

What You Have to Know Before Abortion?

As most of you already know, abortion represents the premature interruption of pregnancy. If this happens from natural causes, it`s known as miscarriage.

When you deliberately take drugs or other surgical abstinence measures, we talk about induced or therapeutic abortion.

Read more on What Are The Causes Of Miscarriage?

In most countries, a woman has 24 hours to think about it before making a decision.

The pain associated with this procedure may vary and depends on the physical and emotional condition of each woman.

Such surgery is performed only in specialized gynecological departments and only by gynecologists who are licensed.

After surgical abortion, the patient needs to be observed for a few hours. She needs to know who can call in case any complication occurs.

Complications of Surgical Abortion on the Woman


They occur in the first 3 hours after the procedure.

  • Uterine bleeding: 100 to 1.000 ml of lost blood. The risk of death by bleeding will increase with the patient`s age, the existence of uterine rupture, uterine perforation, gestational age greater than 20 weeks of pregnancy or incomplete abortion.
  • Lethal embolism: Amniotic liquid, blood clots and air. Death happens through cardiovascular collapse, coma and bleeding.
  • Cervical lesion: it`s an often and severe complication which might occur during curettage, especially during cervical dilation. This type of lesions might extend laterally, where the large uterine blood vessels can be found, and might cause high bleeding, sometimes needing hysterectomy (removing the uterus).
  • Uterine perforation: It`s a dreadful medical complication and may occur during curettage, histerometry or dilation. The big danger consist in the consequences of the perforation: injuries of the abdominal organs (uterine intestine, bladder, thrombus) and bleeding; the most serious is caused by sharp curettage.
  • Anesthesia complications: seizures, uterine perforation, cervical lesion.
  • Birth of live fetuses: this occurs more often during the second trimester (fetus of 3 to 6 months).


They occur during the first 3 hours, up to 28 days after abortion.

  • Retention of conception product: this remains among the most important causes involving morbidity through abortion, which results in bleeding, infection, or both.
  • Infection: this is frequently associated with retention of fetal tissues. Infected miscarriage might result in septic or toxico-septic abortion. It`s a severe, frequently even fatal medical complication. The high frequency of cases, sequelae over time and the death these complications cause make them an important element in obstetric morbidity.


They occur 28 days after the procedure.

  • Menstrual abnormalities: consecutive menstrual disorders because of the retention of certain intrauterine remnants.
  • Rh immunization: This risk increases along with increasing gestational age.
  • Infertility or secondary sterility: it occurs due to the stomach inflammation of the fallopian tubes with their occlusion.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: around 1% of the abortions caused occur due to a stomach infection, predisposing to a high risk of ectopic pregnancy in a future pregnancy;
  • Psychotic disorders: sense of guilt or obsessive remorse due to emotional shock, postpartum complications, organic sequelae, the fear of another pregnancy, psychic complexes resulted from the interpretation of suffering, personal social and familial consequences, etc. There may real depressive psychoses that come with sexual complexes, guilty ideas, frigidity or anxious states.
  • Miscarriage: the risk of cervical incompetence after large dilation and curettage procedures with sharp curettage may result in miscarriages or premature births.

Consequences of Abortion

Even if the procedure was performed in the best possible medical conditions, there may always be unexpected complications that might occur.

Read more on When Is It too Late to Get an Abortion?

Some of them are immediate, like the ones outlined above (bleeding, infectious complications, traumatic lesions, uterine infections, respiratory failure), while other ones may be subsequent inconveniences that are a lot more sever and might even result in death. These might manifest through menstrual sequelae, placental disturbances, neuro-psychic complications, sterility, premature births or perinatal mortality.

Image courtesy of scielo.b
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