When a woman miscarries or has an abortion, there is always the possibility of pregnancy tissue remaining in her body. This means the miscarriage or abortion is incomplete.

It is vital to contact your healthcare provider if you are bleeding, have pelvic pain, or have vaginal discharge. Learn about all of the symptoms of an incomplete abortion in case it happens to you.

Can Any Abortion Be Incomplete?

There are two types of abortion: medication and surgical. How far along you are in your pregnancy determines which procedure you have. Your abortion can be incomplete with either method.

Medication Abortion (also known as the abortion pill method)

The abortion pill uses two drugs to terminate a pregnancy that is no farther than 10 weeks. Mifepristone, the first drug, blocks progesterone, a necessary hormone for the pregnancy’s growth. Without progesterone, the pregnancy cannot survive.

The second drug, misoprostol, causes bleeding and cramping to expel the pregnancy from your body through the vagina.

The combination of the two drugs may not remove the entire pregnancy, including the placenta. The placenta is an organ that develops during pregnancy and provides oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord.

Surgical Abortion

Abortion providers perform a surgical abortion in a clinic or hospital. If you are still in your first trimester of pregnancy (12 weeks or under), the provider uses a vacuum or suction aspiration to remove the pregnancy.

Later pregnancies require additional surgical instruments, including a curette (a spoon-shaped scraping tool) and possibly forceps to remove larger parts. Despite using these instruments, the abortion provider can miss parts of the pregnancy or placenta.

What Are the Symptoms?

The following are the most common symptoms of an incomplete abortion:

  • Bleeding and passing of clots or pieces of tissue
  • Back pain
  • Fever and chills
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Infection
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

According to experts, incomplete procedures occur in up to 40% of second-trimester miscarriages or abortions.

How is an Incomplete Abortion Treated?

Treatment focuses on completing the miscarriage or abortion process. That may involve additional drugs or dilation and curettage (D & C).

An incomplete abortion can be painful physically and emotionally. You must seek treatment immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms following an abortion.

How Can Calaveras Pregnancy Center Assist Me?

Although we do not perform or refer for abortions, we can give you factual information about abortion procedures, side effects, and potential risks. We can also discuss your other options.

We want to inform you so you can make a confident and safe decision for your future. Schedule a no-cost appointment to speak to one of our caring client advocates. You’ll find a safe, open door at Calaveras Pregnancy Center.