What are the Signs of an Incomplete Abortion?

An incomplete abortion is a dangerous complication that can happen after an abortion (either the abortion pill or a surgical abortion.) The signs of an incomplete abortion include: 

  • Heavy bleeding (soaking through 1 pad per hour)
  • Passing blood clots
  • Severe pain in the abdomen or lower back
  • Fever
  • Labor-like cramping
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed blood pressure 

If you are currently experiencing these symptoms, we recommend seeking medical help or emergency care immediately.

What Is an Incomplete Abortion?

An incomplete abortion is when part or all of a pregnancy remains in the uterus after the pregnancy has ended. An incomplete abortion is a risk of both a medical abortion and a surgical abortion. This is a severe and potentially life-threatening side effect, so a woman with symptoms of an incomplete abortion should seek immediate medical attention. 

In most cases of incomplete abortion, treatment will involve a single dose of misoprostol. In some cases, surgical intervention will be required to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. 

 How Can You Avoid This Risk?

Incomplete abortion is a greater risk for women who have not given birth before, even if they have been pregnant in the past. Receiving an abortion in the second trimester (13-26 weeks after a missed period) is also a risk factor. An incomplete abortion in your history also increases your risk of having another incomplete abortion.

Before getting an abortion, you should gather knowledge about your options. Knowing how far along you are in your pregnancy is crucial because it can change your options. For example, medical abortion is only approved by the FDA through 10 weeks of pregnancy. 

You should also ensure that your pregnancy is in your uterus because abortion will not work on an ectopic pregnancy (when the fetus implants outside the uterus.) In this situation, you would need a different procedure.

The best way to get the information you need to make your choice confidently is to get an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a simple imaging technique that can tell if your pregnancy is in your uterus, if it’s viable, and how far along you are.

Get Support at Hope House Women’s Clinic

At Hope House Women’s Clinic, we offer lab-quality pregnancy testing. If you test positive, you may qualify for a free ultrasound. These tests will give you the knowledge you need to make a confident decision about your pregnancy. Schedule your free appointment today.