Menu Close

Abortion Risks

You matter. Know the facts.

Abortion Risks

You matter. Know the facts.

What Are the Risks Of Abortion?

When making an important decision, it is extremely important that you have all of the accurate facts before you make your decision. You matter and your health is important to us.

Every medical procedure, including abortion, carries the risk of complications. In Pennsylvania, the law requires that you are offered informed consent (see Abortion in Pennsylvania). This includes the right to (1) get an explanation of the abortion procedures available, (2) assess their risks and side effects, and (3) learn about other options for your pregnancy.

There are many different types of abortion procedures. Make an appointment today to talk about what abortion procedures are used in each stage of pregnancy, and the risks and side effects associated with each procedure.

In order for you to make the best-possible informed decision, you need to know about all of the risks before you decide. Some risks are immediate, some are long-term (meaning they can show up in your future), and some are psychological. Know your facts before you make a decision.

Common Side Effects

Most women experience some of the following after an abortion:

  • Bleeding – on average bleeding lasts 14 days, but can last as long as 21 days. 1,2
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea/Vomiting

These symptoms typically resolve within a week, sometimes longer.

Immediate Complications

  • Damage to the womb or cervix
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Incomplete abortion, requiring a (additional) surgical abortion procedure
  • Infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes
  • Scarring of the inside of the uterus
  • Sepsis or Septic shock
  • Uterine perforation
  • Death

Long Term Medical Abortion Risks

Future Pre-term Deliveries

  • Abortion causes a weakening of the cervix, which increases a woman’s risk of future pre-term deliveries. Two recently-published studies indicate that one induced abortion increases the risk of a subsequent preterm birth by between 25% and 27%. After two or more abortions a woman’s risk of preterm birth increases by between 51% and 62%. 3,4
  • A 2013 Canadian study found that women who have had abortions are more than twice as likely to have a very early preterm child (26 weeks gestation). The risks were 71% higher at 28 weeks gestation and 45% higher at 32 weeks. 5
  • Premature births carry serious health risks for the baby. Infants who are born before 37 weeks gestational age have a much lower chance of living to adulthood. 6 Those that do survive have significant risk of serious disabilities, including cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment, psychological development disorders and autism. 7,8,9

Infertility and Future childbearing

Complications that can arise from induced abortion, such as infection and damage to the uterus, can lead to infertility and increased risks of future childbearing.

In the case of medical abortion, the risks for these complications are increased  in women who have a high risk of uterine rupture; an intrauterine device (IUD) in place; uncontrolled high blood pressure; diabetes, certain heart or blood vessel diseases; severe liver, kidney or lung disease; take a blood thinner or certain steroid medications; or smoke heavily.10

First-trimester surgical abortion by dilation and curettage (D&C) “can result in uterine synechiae (or Asherman’s Syndrome), which increase the risk of subsequent midtrimester spontaneous abortions and low birthweight deliveries.”11  Incompetent cervix is also a preterm birth risk associated with surgical abortion. “Symptoms related to cervical incompetence were found among 75% of women who undergo forced dilation for abortion.”12

“It was nice to talk with someone about my past abortion. She had a similar story to mine and was really helpful.”

Psychological and Mental Health Abortion Risks

It is important to note that some women encounter a variety of psychological effects after an abortion.  These range from irritability, difficulty sleeping, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is often helpful for a woman to speak with someone if she is experiencing these symptoms.  If you have undergone an abortion, and are suffering from the psychological effects, Women’s Choice Network can provide an After Abortion Care Assessment in which we discuss both the physical and emotional aspects of post-abortion. Contact us now.

  • Research suggests that women who have had abortions may be at increased risk for mental health problems. 13
  • “Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion.” 14
  • Some women who have experienced an abortion report symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 15 Some of those symptoms may include:
    • Regret
    • Grief
    • Sadness/Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Guilt/Shame
    • Suicidal thoughts

If you have had an abortion and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important for your emotional and physical health that you not ignore them. Contact us Today.

1Davis A, Westhoff C, De Nonno L (2000). Bleeding patterns after early abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol or manual vacuum aspiration. J Am Med Womens Assoc 55(3 Suppl):141-4

2 Harwood B, Meckstroth KR, Mishell Dr, Jain JK (2001). Serum beta-human chorionic gonadotropin levels and endometrial thickness after medical abortion. Contraception 63(4):255-6.

3 Shah PS, Zoa J (2009). Induced termination of pregnancy and low birth weight and preterm birth: A systematic review and meta-analyses. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 116(11): 1425-42

4 Swingle HM, Colaizy TT, Zimmerman MB, Morriss FH (2009). Abortion and the risk of subsequent preterm birth. J Reprod Med, 54(2): 95-108.

5 Hardy G, Benjamin A, Abenhaim HA (2013). Effect of induced abortions on early preterm births and adverse perinatal outcomes. JOGC, 35(2): 138-43.

6 Moster D, Lie RT, Markestad T (2008). Long-term medical and social consequences of preterm birth. NEJM, 359(3): 262-73.

7 Ibid.

8 Limperopoulos C, Bassan H, Sullivan NR, Soul JS, Robertson RL, Moore M, Ringer SA, Volpe JJ, du Plessis AJ (2008). Positive screening for autism in ex-preterm infants: Prevalence and risk factors. Pediatrics, 121(4): 758-65

9 Burd L, Severud R, Kerbeshian J, Klug MG (1999). Prenatal and perinatal risk factors for Autism. J Perinat Med, 27(6): 441-50.

10 The Mayo Clinic (2010). Medical Abortion, Risks. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical-abortion/MY00819/DSECTION=risks

11 The Global Library of Women’s Medicine. (2011). Long-Term Risks of Surgical Abortion. Carol J. Hogue, PhD, MPH. Terry Professor of Matrenal/Child Health, Professor of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georga (Vol 6, Cap 124).  Retrieved from: http://www.glowm.com/index.html?p=glowm.cml/section_view&articleid=440

12 Dr. Ren, “Cervical Incompetence – Aetiology and Management”, Medical Journal of Australia (December 29, 1993), Volume 60. Retrieved from: http://www.gargaro.com/healthproblems.html

13 Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ, Ridder E (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. J Child Psychol Psyc 47(1):16-24.

14 Coleman, PK (2011). “Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009.” Br J Psych, 199: 180-6.

15 Coyle CT, Coleman PK, Rue VM (2010). Inadequate preabortion counseling and decision conflict as predictors of subsequent relationship difficulties and psychological stress in men and women. Traumatology 16(1):16-30.

You’re more than the results of a test. We promise: no pressure, no judgment, just confidential care.

An unplanned pregnancy doesn’t have to cost you your hope or future.

You’re more than the results of a test. We promise: no pressure, no judgment, and no gossip.

An unplanned pregnancy doesn’t have to cost you your hope or future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Abortion affects different people in different ways. It’s important to consider the short and long term effects of any procedure before making a decision.

Yes, we have After Abortion Care for men and women who have an abortion in their past.

There may be complications from any medical or surgical procedure. You deserve to get all the information about all of the options. Visit us by calling today.

“The 3 ladies I met today are some of the most genuine, caring, nicest people I have ever met! I was so nervous and they really put my mind at ease and made me feel like I mattered! The ultrasound technician was amazing and really took her time with us. If you are pregnant and scared, do not hesitate to call. 5 stars!”
Gina
"The friendliest and most accepting staff I have ever seen! The nurses and clinicians make sure you feel safe and loved. Definitely would go back and recommend it to anyone who needs these services!"
Ava
“Great experience! Staff was very kind and helpful. They gave me my first ultrasound, printed out several copies of pictures, provided me with the proof of pregnancy form that I needed, did std testing, and also supplied me with prenatal pills. My experience was wonderful and I would recommend them to anyone in need. Everything was astonishingly free and the services are of great quality.”
Danielle
English