Abortion is very common and it’s always linked with the complications after abortion or D&C. Abortion is the termination of pregnancy by the removal of an embryo or fetus through a medical or surgical procedure. Abortion can happen without any intervention which is called miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. When the fetus or embryo is expelled deliberately is called induced abortion.
Risk and complications of Abortion
The risk of abortion depends on the type of abortion. Induced abortion is the safest medical procedure if it is done using modern methods. The risk of maternal mortality is 14 times lower after induced abortion compared with the risk of mortality after childbirth. However, an unsafe abortion performed by untrained individuals can cause complications and even risks to life.
This is evident that abortions have been attempted using different herbal medicines and preparations, harsh massage, sharp tools, or some other traditional techniques historically. These methods were the culprit of major complications related to the female’s reproductive health and to some extent for the mortality in many cases.
That’s why World Health Organization has stated that “access to legal, safe and comprehensive abortion care, including post-abortion care, is essential for the attainment of the highest possible level of sexual and reproductive health”.
Types of Abortion
The side effects and complications of vary, depending on the type of abortion procedure. Abortion can be categorized mainly into two types, one is medical abortion and the second is surgical abortion.
Medicines are given to the women to terminate the pregnancy. It’s a combination of two types of medicine mifepristone and misoprostol. Your doctor tells you how to use Abortion Pill and when it should be taken. The prescribed gestational age to take the abortion pill is up to 10 weeks. The medicine reduces the progesterone levels and it leads to bleeding from the fetus covering. The abortion pill causes the mother to pass blood clots, and tissues of the fetus or unborn child. Because leftover tissue after abortion instigates the uterine wall bleed to remove the leftover tissue.
This is necessary to go to each follow-up visit to your doctor to reduce the risk of complications and side effects of abortion.
Side Effects of Medical Abortion
The complications after abortion pill can include the following:
- Bleeding for weeks (Up to 3 weeks)
- Swelling of face and lips
- Pain and cramping in the abdomen
- Dizziness and fatigue
- Infection and Fever
Suction Aspiration or Curettage
This procedure is done in the first trimester generally. Your doctor dilates the cervix and suctions out the fetus from the womb. The uterine wall may be scraped or curettage to make sure that everything including amniotic fluid, placental tissues, and fetal parts completely is completely removed.
Dilatation and Curettage (D&C)
D&C is also done in the first trimester. The cervix is dilated and a loop-shaped instrument is used to remove the fetus. The uterine wall is scrapped and curettage to remove the amniotic fluid, fetal parts, and placental tissues.
Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E)
D&E is done within 24 weeks of pregnancy. Your doctor dilates your cervix and scrapes the uterus wall to remove the placenta and fetus. If the procedure is done after 16 weeks, then the fetus is removed with the help of forceps.
Side Effects of Surgical Abortion
The abortion complications symptoms are very common and vary from one patient to another. These side effects can remain up to 2 months after abortion symptoms but generally subsides within four weeks.
- Cramping and pain in the abdomen
- Pelvic Pain
- Injury to bowel
- Uterine Damage
- Heavy Bleeding
- Injury to Bladder
- Heavy Bleeding
- Injury to cervix
- Blood loss
- If incomplete evacuation, then infection and heavy bleeding
- Urinary Tract infection
Complications After Abortion
The overall complications from an abortion depend on the gestation age or the pregnancy duration. The younger the gestational age, the lower the risk of complications after abortion. The highest risk of death is from septic abortion which leads to septic shock and multi-organ failure. The majority of complications after abortions arise after illegal or aseptic abortions done by untrained people.
Bleeding after abortion is normal and it remains for up to three weeks in some cases. In the first week, bleeding is high and subsides with the time in two weeks. If bleeding is heavy and persists for more than two weeks, please connect with your doctor without any delay. Medical abortion can also cause heavy bleeding if abortion is incomplete.
Sepsis (severe infection)
If abortion is done under aseptic conditions, then there is always a risk of infection which can lead to sepsis. Sepsis is a condition when the infection is spread in the blood and body of the woman. The total count of white blood cells increases and becomes high. Sepsis leads to multi-organ failure including kidney failure, liver failure, and failure of other vital functions of the body.
It’s caused when there is an infection or injury to the uterine wall. Peritonitis means inflammation of the peritoneum, the covering of abdominal organs. This is also a serious condition and can lead to even death if not treated in time.
Deep Venus Thrombosis
DVT (Deep Venus thrombosis) is a very common complication after surgeries. If a blood clot travels into the vein it can cause deep Venous thrombosis. If this thrombus travels into the Pulmonary vein can lead to sudden death.
However, abortion is a safe procedure, but if you feel any symptoms of complications after abortion, do not forget to tell your doctor or visit your doctor to prevent the complications of abortion.