Appointment Line: 501‑227‑HELP

Heavy Bleeding

Some bleeding after abortion is normal.  However, if the cervix is torn of the uterus is punctured, there is a risk of severe bleeding known as hemorrhaging.  When this happens, a blood transfusion may be required.1,3


Infection can develop from the insertion of medical instruments into the uterus or from fetal parts that are mistakenly left inside (known as an incomplete abortion).  This may cause bleeding and/or a pelvic infection requiring antibiotics, and may result in the need for a surgical procedure to fully empty the uterus. Infection may cause scarring of the pelvic organs.1,4,5,6

Damage to the Organs

The cervix and/or uterus may be cut, torn or punctured by abortion instruments. This may cause excessive bleeding requiring surgical repair. Curettes and other abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining. The risk of these types of complications increases with the length of the pregnancy. If complications occur, major surgery may be required, including removal of the uterus (known as a hysterectomy). If the uterus is punctured or torn, these is also a risk that damage may occur to nearby organs such as the bowel and bladder.1,3,5

RH Sensitization

Every pregnant woman should receive blood type testing to learn if her blood type is"Rh positive" or "Rh negative". Pregnant women who are Rh negative should receive Rhogam, an injection given to prevent the formation of antibodies that may harm the baby. If an Rh negative woman does not receive Rhogam with each pregnancy, she may develop antibodies which can cause serious complications with her next pregnancy. Rhogam is needed for Rh negative women who undergo abortion.7


In extreme cases, complications from abortion (excessive bleeding, infection, organ damage from a perforated uterus and adverse reactions to anesthesia) may lead to death. The risk of death immediately following an induced abortion performed at or below 8 weeks is extremely low but increases with length of pregnancy. From 8 weeks to 16-20 weeks, the risk of death increases 30 times, and from 8 weeks to 21 weeks and over, it increases 100 times (1 in 11,000).8