If you are pregnant and considering abortion, it’s crucial you take time to understand the procedure, learn what symptoms you might experience, and take the proper steps to prevent complications.

Incomplete abortions are one of the most common complications related to the procedure and it’s important to learn what you can about this dangerous condition.

What is an Incomplete Abortion?

An incomplete abortion occurs when the abortion pill fails to fully expel the pregnancy tissue from the uterus. The presence of this retained fetal tissue can lead to serious health complications.

If left untreated, incomplete abortions can lead to “death, uterine rupture, uterine perforation, subsequent hysterectomy, multisystem organ failure, pelvic infection, cervical damage, vomiting, diarrhea, infertility, and/or psychological effects.” 1

Signs That You May Be Experiencing an Incomplete Abortion

When taking the abortion pill, you may experience some side effects, including the following: 

  • Cramping
  • Bleeding
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Fever
  • Chills

Because medical abortions are often completed at home and without the supervision of a medical professional, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if the side effects you’re experiencing are the result of a serious medical condition. Signs of an incomplete abortion include… 

  • Excessive or prolonged bleeding
  • Sharp abdominal pain 
  • Pain that lasts more than several days
  • High or prolonged fever

Are There Other Risks Related to Abortion?

In addition to incomplete abortions, both medical and surgical abortion procedures may be accompanied by risks and complications.

Major complications of abortion include “uterine atony and subsequent hemorrhage, uterine perforation, injuries to adjacent organs (bladder or bowels), cervical laceration, septic abortion, and disseminated intravascular coagulation.”  2

What Can I Do to Avoid an Incomplete Abortion and Other Abortion Complications?

Before undergoing an abortion procedure, we recommend seeing a medical professional for a pregnancy options consultation and receiving the screening and testing needed to rule out any conditions that may make abortion dangerous for you.

According to the FDA, women should not undergo a medical abortion if they are more than 11 weeks gestation. Because of this, it’s recommended that women receive an ultrasound scan to determine the gestational age of their pregnancy.

An ultrasound scan will also reveal the location of the pregnancy and other conditions that may increase the possibility of abortion complications, such as ectopic pregnancy. Ultimately, the more you understand about your unique pregnancy conditions, the more equipped you will be to make a safe and informed choice for you and your body. 

Schedule Your No-Cost Ultrasound Scan Today! 

Are you ready to learn more about your pregnancy options? Options for Women St. Croix Valley provides no-cost ultrasound scans, pregnancy testing, medical consultations, and more to help you determine which pregnancy option is safest for you!

Schedule your appointment today!

1. Redinger A, Nguyen H. Incomplete Abortions. [Updated 2021 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559071/

2. Sajadi-Ernazarova KR, Martinez CL. Abortion Complications. [Updated 2021 May 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430793/