What Are the Signs of an Incomplete Abortion?

Incomplete abortion is a rare complication following an abortion procedure, but still one you should be informed about. Incomplete abortion can result from either the abortion pill (also known as a medical abortion) or a surgical abortion (an in-clinic procedure). 

If you think you might be unexpectedly pregnant and are considering abortion, be sure you know all the risks and are informed on what to look for in case of possible complication. 

What is Incomplete Abortion? 

This potential complication is generally what it sounds like – incomplete abortion is when a pregnancy is no longer viable (it is not progressing or continuing to grow), but there is still remaining tissue in the uterus following an abortion. 

Incomplete abortion can occur after any type of abortion method, though it may be of greater concern for women who take the abortion pill without seeing a medical professional in person first, resulting in a lower confidence in how far along they are in pregnancy. 

This is common for those who order the abortion pill online. Without seeking professional medical care such as an ultrasound exam first, it’s highly possible that dating by the last menstrual period (LMP) may be off. 

The abortion pill is only approved by the FDA for the termination of early pregnancies up to 10 weeks gestation – taking this medication past its recommended point could put you at great risk for incomplete abortion. 

Common Symptoms of Incomplete Abortion

The following may be possible physical symptoms of incomplete abortion, as quoted by the National Institutes of Heath (NIH): 

  • Moderate to severe vaginal bleeding and passing of clots
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain that may spread to other locations
  • Fever (which may be a sign of infection that requires immediate intervention) 

Though this occurs rarely, cervical shock may also result from incomplete abortion, causing low heart rate and low blood pressure. 

What if I Had an Abortion and I’m Having These Symptoms? 

Did you have an abortion procedure or take the abortion pill, and think you recognize some of these symptoms? 

Please seek emergency medical care right away at the nearest emergency room  immediately. Waiting can be dangerous.

Potential treatments for incomplete abortion may depend on the unique situation of each patient. 

It’s possible according to NIH that a single additional dose of misoprostol may resolve the issue, causing the body to expel the remaining tissue or fetal remains from the uterus. 

In more severe cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary. 

I’m Considering Abortion: What Do I Need to Know First? 

Think you might be unexpectedly pregnant and considering abortion? 

At the Pregnancy Support Center of Southside Virginia, our professional medical team is happy to provide you with an ultrasound exam that will answer key questions about your needs that may direct your next steps, such as how far along you are or if you are at risk for other medical complications (such as ectopic pregnancy). 

Our team is here as a resource to you to answer your questions
Schedule your free appointment today

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