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

What Are the Mental Health Effects of Abortion?

If you’re unexpectedly pregnant and considering abortion, make sure you know the facts about all that abortion entails. As abortion is a serious medical procedure, there are physical risks you need to be aware of—but lesser-known mental health effects may also be a concern for you. 

The Mayo Clinic notes that many women experience mixed emotions following an abortion, including grief, sadness, relief, and guilt. Make sure you explore all aspects of what an abortion may mean for you and your unique needs. 

Does Abortion Cause Mental Health Problems? 

Each woman’s experience is unique, and expert medical professionals and researchers have various opinions on what abortion may mean for mental health. However, there is a general consensus amongst several studies that abortions are related to higher mental health concerns rates than the general results of women who have not experienced abortion. 

In research done by the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, the authors note that some women may “experience clinically significant disorders, including depression and anxiety,” following the termination of a pregnancy. 

Another study done by medical researcher David Fergusson revealed several potential mental health effects on women after abortion. In this study, Fergusson concluded: 

  • Abortion was an independent “risk factor for the onset of mental illness.”
  • At age 25, 42% of the women studied who had an abortion experienced major depression during the previous four years, twice that of other women.

As noted previously in this article, the Mayo Clinic also points out that mixed emotions and negative feelings are likely following abortion procedures. In some cases, prolonged negative emotions may lead to greater mental health concerns that may necessitate seeking out a counselor for help. 

How Do I Manage My Mental Health Risks for Abortion? 

There are certain risk factors for mental health problems following an abortion. You can discuss these risks with a trusted professional.

Risk factors for mental health concerns and abortion may include:

  • Feeling pressured by others to have an abortion 
  • Feeling unsupported 
  • Inadequate pre-abortion counseling

Free and Confidential Help

Our professional team at Pregnancy Support Center is here to help. 

With free, confidential pregnancy confirmation and ultrasound services, you will have information and support to help you navigate your pregnancy decisions. 
Schedule your free appointment today