Abortion Risks
You matter. Know the facts.

What Are The Risks Of Abortion?

When making a significant decision, it is vital 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. There are several types of abortion procedures each with its own risks. 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.

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

  • Bleeding
  • Cramping
  • dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea/Vomiting

Most women experience some of these after abortion. These symptoms typically resolve within a week, sometimes longer.

Immediate Complications

  • Damage to the womb or cervix
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Incomplete abortion, requiring an 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 mid-trimester 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

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, ABC Life Choices can provide a safe and confidential place to 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.

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