The Medical Risks of Abortion

The risks of complications for the woman increases with each week of the pregnancy. Below are descriptions of the possibilities.

Pelvic Infection (Sepsis)

Bacteria (germs) from the vagina may enter the cervix and womb and cause an infection. Antibiotics are used to treat an infection. In rare cases, a repeat suction, hospitalization or surgery may be needed.

Incomplete Abortion

Fetal parts or parts of the placenta may not be completely emptied from the womb, requiring further medical procedures. Incomplete abortion may result in infection and bleeding.


Some amount of bleeding is common following an abortion. Heavy bleeding is not common and may be treated by repeat suction, medication or, rarely, surgery. Ask the doctor to explain heavy bleeding and what to do if it occurs.

Cut or Torn Cervix

The opening of the womb (cervix) may be torn while it is being stretched open to allow medical instruments to pass through and into the uterus.

Perforation of the Wall of the Womb

A medical instrument may go through the wall of the uterus. Depending on the severity, perforation can lead to infection, heavy bleeding or both. Surgery may be required to repair the uterine tissue, and in the most severe cases a hysterectomy may be required.

Anesthesia-Related Complications

As with other surgical procedures, anesthesia increases the risk of complications.