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What Are The Possible Complications?

Surgical abortion is a very safe procedure. Surgical procedures in the first trimester are safer than having a tonsillectomy. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, abortion is approximately 11 times safer than carrying the pregnancy to childbirth. Less than 1 woman in 100 will have any type of complication, and serious complications are rare. Medical abortion has an even lower incidence of complications due to the non-invasive nature of the treatment and the fact that no anesthesia is used.

To minimize your risk of complications and adverse reactions, please share your complete medical information and history with us, particularly any known allergies or health problems, and any medications or drugs you are currently taking, including herbal supplements. Observing all instructions given to you by the office will significantly reduce your risk of complications, as well.

Possible complications of surgical abortion include:

Retained Tissue: The thickened lining of the uterus is never completely removed during a surgical abortion, and therefore, it is normal for the uterus to naturally shed excess blood and tissue while healing. Occasionally, however, this process can lead to infection, hemorrhage, or both, especially if fetal tissue remains in the uterus. To remove remaining tissue, it may be necessary to repeat the aspiration procedure at the office or in the hospital. In rare instances, surgery is required.

Failure to Terminate the Pregnancy: Sometimes, an early abortion does not succeed in terminating the pregnancy. The likelihood of this event is less than one in one thousand cases. In such cases, another abortion procedure is recommended, because the first attempted abortion can adversely affect the normal development of the pregnancy. Alternately, this can also be a sign of a tubal pregnancy, which would require hospitalization and abdominal surgery.

Blood Clots in the Uterus: Blood clots may fill the uterus leading to severe cramping. Usually, the treatment is a repeat uterine evacuation.

Infection: Infection is caused by germs from the vagina and cervix getting into the uterus. If a woman has Gonorrhea, Syphilis, or Chlamydia, a serious tubal infection can occur. The risk of infection associated with early abortion is less than one in one thousand cases. Such infections usually respond to repeat aspirations and antibiotics, but in some instances, hospitalization can be necessary. Surgery may also be required in extreme cases.

You will be given antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection. It is very important that you complete the entire regimen (all pills), observe all follow-up instructions, and return for your check up to ensure that your risk of infection is reduced.

Hemorrhage: Bleeding from the uterus heavy enough to require treatment occurs rarely. Hemorrhage heavy enough to require a blood transfusion occurs in less than one in one thousand cases. Excessive bleeding may require medication to help the uterus contract, a repeat aspiration or dilation and curettage or, rarely, surgery to correct the bleeding.

Cervical Tear: The cervix is sometimes torn during the procedure. Stitches may be required to repair the injury but in most cases the tear is minimal and heals quickly on its own without treatment.

Perforation: Rarely, an instrument may puncture the wall of the uterus. The frequency of this event is about one in one thousand cases. Should this happen, hospitalization is usually necessary for observation and/or completion of the abortion. To inspect the condition of the uterus in this situation, a small telescope (laparoscope) can be inserted through the navel. If damage is serious, an abdominal operation may be required to repair the damage. This can include hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), which makes it impossible to have children in the future. The frequency of hysterectomy is less than one in ten thousand cases.

Anesthesia Reactions: Some women may be allergic to Novocain derivatives, and to other medications. If this is the case, it is important to tell the doctor. All medicines or drugs, including street drugs, may cause serious and dangerous reactions during anesthesia. It is important that you provide the office with such information. What you tell us will be kept in complete confidence.

Cardiac Arrest: It has been reported in the literature that patients can rarely experience sudden cardiac arrest during an abortion. This is thought to be due to an idiosyncratic reaction to medication, usually the local anesthetic. This has never happened in any of our offices, but is a possible risk.

Death: Early abortion is one of the safest procedures in medicine. Information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that the risk of death from a legal early abortion is about 0.6 in 100,000 cases. By comparison the risk of death associated with tonsillectomy is about 3 deaths per 100,000 cases. The risk of a person dying from childbirth is approximately 11 times greater than from early abortion. We are proud of the fact that in over 100,000 abortion procedures, we have never had a death in any of our offices.

Possible complications of non-surgical abortion include:

Retained Tissue: During a non-surgical abortion, medication will induce the uterus to contract and naturally slough and empty of blood and tissue. Occasionally, however, this process is incomplete and can lead to infection, hemorrhage, or both- especially if fetal tissue remains in the uterus. To remove remaining tissue, it will be necessary to repeat the Misoprostol or perform a uterine aspiration at the office. In rare instances, hospitalization or surgery is required.

Failure to Terminate the Pregnancy: Sometimes, medical abortion does not succeed in terminating the pregnancy. In such cases, a surgical abortion procedure is necessary, because the first attempted abortion will cause severe harm to the developing fetus. Alternately, particularly if Mifepristone was used, this can also be a sign of a tubal pregnancy, which may require hospitalization and abdominal surgery.

Blood Clots in the Uterus: Blood clots may fill the uterus leading to severe cramping. Usually, the treatment is a uterine evacuation.

Infection: Infection is caused by germs from the vagina and cervix getting into the uterus and this can occur when the cervix is dilated to pass the pregnancy. If a woman has Gonorrhea, Syphilis, or Chlamydia, a serious tubal infection can occur. The risk of infection associated with early medical abortion is very low. Such infections usually respond to aspiration and antibiotics, but in some instances, hospitalization can be necessary. Surgery may also be required in extreme cases.

It is very important to observe all follow-up instructions and return for your check up to ensure that your risk of infection is minimized.

Hemorrhage: Bleeding from the uterus heavy enough to require treatment occurs rarely. Hemorrhage, heavy enough to require a blood transfusion occurs in less than one in one thousand cases. A bleeding problem may require medications to help the uterus contract, a repeat aspiration or dilation and curettage or, rarely, surgery to correct the bleeding.

Death: Early abortion is one of the safest procedures in medicine. Information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that the risk of death from a legal early abortion is about 0.6 in 100,000 cases. Research indicates that the risk of death from surgical and non-surgical abortion is comparable. By comparison the risk of death associated with tonsillectomy is about 3 deaths per 100,000 cases. The risk of a person dying from childbirth is at least 10 times greater than from early abortion. We are proud of the fact that in over 100,000 abortion procedures, we have never had a death in any of our offices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Abortion

I've chosen to terminate my pregnancy...
What are my options?


Can I change my mind once I get to the office?

What are the possible complications?

Will it hurt?

What will happen after the procedure?

Can I still have other children?

How will I feel emotionally afterwards?

How much does it cost?

Do I have to come back after the procedure?

Will anyone know that I did this?

Do I need anyone else's consent to have an abortion?

What should I bring?

How long will my appointment take?

What should I wear?

How soon can I get an appointment?

  You can call us toll-free, at 1-888-ABORTION , 24 hours a day to speak with one of our professionals who can answer your questions and make an appointment for you.


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