An abortion is a deliberate termination of a pregnancy, which is most often performed in the first 28 weeks. Any surgical procedure poses risks however, an abortion carried out in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can be less risky than, an abortion carried out later on in your pregnancy. An abortion can also affect your chances of getting pregnant in the future. Learn about the risks of abortion during and after the procedure.

Risks during an abortion

  • Damage to the Womb – it can occur every 4 in a 1000 abortions, when carried out surgically. The chances of damage can be lower in medical abortions, at 1 in 1000 abortions carried out between 12 to 24 weeks.
  • Damage to the Cervix – the cervix is the beginning of the womb, which can be damaged in approximately 10 in every 1000 abortions.
  • Haemorrhage – this is when there is excessive bleeding during in an abortion. It can occur in one in every 100 abortions.

Side Effects of an Abortion

There are some common side effects that are experienced following the procedure, which can extend for about 2 to 4 weeks afterwards. These include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Cramps or Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Spotting

If you have these side-effects then it is essential not to panic. These effects will subside in due time, however, if they do not it may be advisable to consult a doctor. As an improper abortion can potentially lead to death.

Severe Risks and Complications after an Abortion

If you are experiencing the following it is advisable to consult a doctor right away:

  • Heavy and continuous bleeding
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scarring of the uterine lining
  • Perforation (hole) of the uterus
  • Damage to other organs
  • Sepsis or infection
  • Severe back or abdominal pain, unable to stand up
  • Foul-smelling discharge
  • Fever above 100.4°F
  • Continuous symptoms of pregnancy

The infection in the womb can be caused if the foetus and its associated tissues are not completely removed. These infections can be controlled by antibiotics. The risks of infection can be lowered by using sanitary pads to hold any bleeding. Avoid tampons. Also, avoid having sex, for at least 2 weeks, until the bleeding has stopped.

Undergoing subsequent abortions can damage the cervix, which can increase the risk of miscarriages. It may also be advisable to seek post-abortion counselling as hormonal changes may affect your mood. You may go through different emotions, leading to anxiety post-abortion. It may be best to talk through your questions with a counsellor or specialist doctor.

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