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Complications Associated With Abortion

Abortion Complications – What you should know?

Here is a brief look into the possible side effects of abortion. Such complications can be minimised if performed under supervision of experts.

Medical abortion:

  1. Haemorrhage or excessive bleeding may occur which can be controlled by prompt action. Some women may require blood transfusions to restore the lost blood.
  2. Infection of the uterus presenting as fever ,abdominal pain and foul smelling discharge may happen during post abortion period. Such women need to be treated adequately with antibiotics.
  3. Retained bits of products of conception may cause problems like persistent bleeding which may require repeat evacuation. If not evacuated completely it may become infected in due course.
  4. Failed abortion-Failure to successfully abort the unborn younger than 6 weeks is relatively common and may lead to continuation of pregnancy ,sometimes without the knowledge of the mother.
  5. Unrecognised ectopic pregnancy may exist. Therefore all women in their first trimester should have an ultrasound to make sure they do not have an ectopic pregnancy. Aborting the baby may be unsuccessful because it is developing in your fallopian tube. Unfortunately this tubal pregnancy ruptures later and emergency surgery must be done to save your life.

Surgical abortion:

  1. Perforation of uterus may occur rarely as a complication of surgical methods of abortion.
  2. Laceration of the cervix .This causes a women to have high chance of miscarrying in her next pregnancy if it is not treated properly during that pregnancy.
  3. Bowel or bladder injury may occur if the uterus gets perforated. If there is bowel or bladder perforation it may necessitate prompt reparative surgery in order to avoid mishaps.
  4. Haemorrhage and infection may also occur following surgical methods of abortion.

Psychological impact of abortion:

Women suffer a range of mental and psychological problems. These may include recurrent dreams of the abortion experience, avoidance of emotional attachment, relationship problems, sleep disturbances, guilt about surviving, memory impairment, hostile outbursts, suicidal thoughts or actions, depression, and substance abuse. These problems may occur days to years later. Such symptoms need to be recognised early and prompt treatment should be sought .Emotional support should be extended to women post abortion.

Effects of abortion on future pregnancies:

Ectopic pregnancy– An ectopic pregnancy is any pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus. After an abortion, you are 8 to 20 times more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. Statistics show a 30% increased risk of ectopic pregnancy after one abortion and a 160% increased risk of ectopic pregnancy after two or more abortions.

You may be more often in need of manual removal of placenta after expelling the baby.

Your next baby may have a low birth weight.

The possibility of premature deliveries in the future.

Risk of spontaneous abortion is increased in future pregnancies.

Placenta previa occurs 6 to 15 times more often after a woman has had an abortion. In this condition your baby’s placenta lies over the opening of the uterus so that the placenta has to be delivered before the baby.

This may cause the mother to bleed severely and may lead to death of the baby unless your obstetrician recognizes this condition and removes the baby by Caesarean section at just the right time in the pregnancy.

Rh incompatibility-Rh blood type of the aborted fetus should be known if you are Rh-negative, so that you and your next baby can be protected against future Rh incompatibilities by means of immunisation.

These Rh incompatibilities can cause future babies to be born dead because of the incompatibilities due to a condition called hydrops fetalis.

If the blood type of the baby you are going to abort is not checked, even in very early suction abortions done before eight weeks, fetal-maternal hemorrhage can occur, thereby sensitizing you if you are Rh-negative.

After an abortion, you may become sterile. This happens in 1 out of 20 to 1 out of 50 women. The risk of secondary infertility among women with at least one abortion is 3 to 4 times greater than that among women who have not aborted.