What Are the Signs of an Incomplete Abortion?
Following an abortion, one of the severe complications that can arise is incomplete abortion. An incomplete abortion occurs when pregnancy tissue remains in a woman’s uterus after terminating the pregnancy. Understanding the signs and symptoms of incomplete abortion can help women experiencing abortion know when to seek medical intervention.
Symptoms of incomplete abortion can include:
- Heavy Bleeding: Experiencing excessive vaginal bleeding beyond what is considered normal.
- Cramping: Feeling persistent abdominal cramps or discomfort.
- Abdominal or Low-Back Pain: Suffering from ongoing pain in the abdomen or lower back area.
- Passing Large Clots: Noticing the passage of substantial blood clots during vaginal bleeding.
- Fever or Chills: Developing a fever or experiencing chills without an apparent cause.
- Foul-Smelling Vaginal Discharge: Observing an unpleasant odor from vaginal discharge.
A woman must reach out for medical assistance if she experiences any of these symptoms following an abortion.
Although incomplete abortion can occur after any abortion procedure, certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of this complication. These risk factors do not necessarily mean a woman will experience an incomplete abortion, but a woman with these shared risks should be more vigilant in monitoring herself for symptoms. Factors that can potentially increase the risk of incomplete abortion include:
- Undergoing abortion during the second trimester of pregnancy
- Being of advanced maternal age (35 years or older)
- Never having experienced childbirth previously
- Having a history of incomplete abortion
- Previously undergoing a C-section or other uterine surgery
Medical Intervention for Incomplete Abortion
Medication-based treatments for incomplete abortions are available through medical providers. These medications dilate the cervix, allowing the remaining pregnancy tissue to pass. Additionally, the uterus is stimulated to contract, which forces the retained tissue out of the uterus.
Surgery may be necessary to resolve some cases of incomplete abortion. This surgical procedure, known as dilation and curettage (D&C), involves using surgical tools and suction to remove the remaining pregnancy tissue.
A medical provider may also prescribe antibiotics and pain medications alongside the primary treatment to manage infections and pain.
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If you’re unsure about your pregnancy options or need someone to talk to, we offer free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and options information. Our goal is to empower you to make informed, healthy choices that you feel confident about.
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