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What are the Immediate Risks of Abortion?

Before you decide what the end result of your pregnancy will be, you deserve to have all the information you need to make a decision  you’ll never look back on with regret. If you  need more information about abortion procedures, check out our blog by clicking here.

Abortion, like any medical or surgical procedure, carries several different risks. Serious medical complications such as bleeding, infection and damage to organs can occur during and/or after an abortion. There is also a higher chance of complications with later-term abortions compared with early abortions (1). Due to the fact that many women do not report their abortion, there is limited information about complications linked to abortion but the resources available report the following risks:

Heavy Bleeding

Some bleeding after abortion is normal. However, there is a risk of severe bleeding known as hemorrhaging if the cervix is torn or the uterus is punctured during the abortion. Whenever there is severe bleeding, a blood transfusion may be necessary. Severe bleeding can occur after both a surgical abortion and after taking the abortion pill. One in 100 women require surgery to stop the bleeding after taking the abortion pill (2).

Infection

Whenever medical instruments are inserted into the uterus, infection can develop. Infection can also occur if fetal parts are not completely removed during the procedure, known as an incomplete abortion. Bleeding and/or pelvic infection may require antibiotics and scarring is possible for the pelvic organs. There is always the possibility for the need of a surgical procedure to fully empty the uterus (3).

Anesthesia Difficulties

Complications with local or general anesthesia during an abortion procedure can lead to seizure, cardiopulmonary arrest, and death (4).

Damage to the Organs

The cervix and/or uterus may be cut, torn or punctured by abortion instruments. This may cause excessive bleeding requiring surgical repair. Abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining. The risk of these types of complications increases with the length of the pregnancy. If complications occur, major surgery may be required, including removal of the uterus (known as a hysterectomy). If the uterus is punctured or torn there is also a risk that damage may occur to nearby organs such as the bowel and bladder (3).

Rh Factor

What is the Rh Factor?

Types of antigens on blood cells help determine whether someone’s blood type A, B, AB, or O. Antigens are proteins on the surface of the blood cells and one of those proteins is the Rh factor. If a person has the Rh factor, they are considered Rh-positive. If a person does not have the Rh factor, they are Rh-negative. Pregnant women who are Rh-negative should receive the Rhogam injection. If an Rh-negative woman does not receive Rhogam, her body can develop antibodies which causes her body to respond as if it is allergic to the baby if the baby is Rh-positive. (3)

Abortion and the Rh Factor

It is important to understand the seriousness of the Rh factor. Rh sensitization can occur any time the fetus’ blood mixes with the mother’s blood, which includes miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or abortion. Therefore, before a woman decides on an abortion, it’s important that she understand the risk of how the Rh factor may affect future pregnancies if not treated correctly.

Death

In extreme cases, complications from abortion (excessive bleeding, infection, organ damage from a perforated uterus and adverse reactions to anesthesia) may lead to death. The risk of death immediately following an induced abortion performed at or below 8 weeks is extremely low (approximately 1 in a million) but increases with length of pregnancy. From 8 weeks to 16-20 weeks, the risk of death increases 30 times, and from 8 weeks to 21 weeks and over, it increases 100 times (3).

1. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/795001-overview#showall

2. Mifeprex Package Insert FDA-approved label, July 2005.

3. Option Line: http://www.optionline.org/questions/considering-abortion/#note-21#note-21

4. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/795001-clinical

There are 6 comments .

Amruta More —

Hi, I’m a 32 year.. recently I had an medical abortion for my 6 weeks of pregnancy in which doctor had just treated me with abortion pills without antibiotics prescription.. I’m a Rh negative by reports but doctor didn’t give me any treatment or injection or any information for Rh issue.. I have had antibiotics (amoxicylin) with my own study. And now after 1 week of abortion I’m facing nausea, vomiting & weakness with occasional abdominal pains. On a very first day I had seen tissues exits from bleeding.. what should be my next step & please guide do’s & don’t … any rh issue will affect me?

Reply »
    CollageCenter

    Hi Amruta,

    You’ve asked some great questions but there are too many unknown factors for me to be able to answer accurately. The best thing you can do is to be evaluated by your local physician as soon as possible. That way he/she can address each aspect of your health.

    Sorry we couldn’t be of more help.

    Kenda High, R.N.

    Reply »
Rose —

I had an abortion for my 8weeks pregnancy. I bought the rhogam injection myself and gave it to the nurse but I was not there when she mixed the injection and I didn’t feel any pain or prick when she injected me. How can I be sure she actually gave me the rhogam shot.Thanks

Reply »
    CollageCenter

    Hi Rose,

    Great question! I would recommend that you call the abortion clinic back. They should have record if the rhogam shot was given to you. Also, you could ask to speak with the nurse that cared for you and she may be able to give you clarity.

    We know that choosing to end a pregnancy is never an easy choice. If you ever need anyone to talk to, don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Take Care,
    Collage Medical Team

    Reply »
Samantha —

I am rh – my oldest I was gaven the shot before and after then 4 years later got pragnet with twins also got the shot before and after then about a year after that got pragnet had an abortion at 8 weeks they did not give me the shot can that be an affect as to why I can’t get pragnet ? All three of my baby’s ( 2 pragnencys ) were healthy full term babys

Reply »
    CollageCenter

    Hello Samantha

    I’m sorry to hear you are having difficulties getting pregnant. I know that there can be many, many reasons that a woman doesn’t get pregnant right away. I’ll do my best to address your question though.

    It is great you got Rhogam shots before and after both your pregnancies. You may already know all this but I’m going to go through Rh – and Rh + some. The concern for Rh – mothers is if you have a Rh + baby and your blood would happen to mix together. If that happens, your body would produce antigens to fight off the new blood, to your body this is something foreign and it’s trying to help you. This can be a problem for future pregnancies. Rhogam helps prevent the body from making these antibodies.

    In your case it would have probably been good for you to have received a Rhogam shot with your abortion since you are Rh negative. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you produced antigens because we don’t know what blood type your baby was. If it was Rh negative, there would be no problem. Also, even if the there was Rh positive blood, doesn’t mean the different bloods had contact together as you would of had this abortion early into your pregnancy.

    I would go have a talk with your health care provider about this. I believe they can test to see if you have the antibodies. If you do, and get pregnant they would monitor you and babe closely. And again, there could be many reasons you aren’t getting pregnant, a health care provider could help you with figuring out why that is also.

    Hope you get the help you need and hope you are able to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy!

    Here are also some good links that talk about Rh factor that may be helpful to you.
    http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/The-Rh-Factor-How-It-Can-Affect-Your-Pregnancy
    http://www.rhogam.com/FAQs

    Collage Medical Team

    Reply »

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