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An incomplete abortion is the first complication the Mayo Clinic mentions when explaining the risks of a medical abortion. You can even experience an incomplete abortion with a surgical procedure. Recognizing signs like excessive vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain are essential. Protect your physical and emotional health by knowing what to expect after an abortion.

What Does It Mean to Have an Incomplete Abortion?

An abortion terminates or ends a pregnancy. A pregnancy can also end naturally through miscarriage. An abortion and a miscarriage can result in tissue remaining in the uterus. Often, this is referred to as “retained products of conception.”

An incomplete abortion means your body did not expel all of the pregnancy. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “The tissue is usually from the placenta, which is an organ that develops in your uterus during pregnancy. However, this tissue can also be fetal tissue.”

You may be required to have a surgical procedure to remove additional tissue. 

How Will I Know If My Abortion Was Incomplete?

The Cleveland Clinic suggests incomplete abortion happens in up to 40% of second-trimester miscarriages or abortions. The following are some of the symptoms you may experience:

  • Ongoing bleeding
  • Passing blood clots
  • Rhythmic cramping similar to labor
  • Pelvic pain

Severe complications may include the following:

  • Shock due to extensive blood loss
  • Pelvic or uterine infection
  • Cervical damage
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina

The results from an untreated incomplete abortion could include:

  • Infertility
  • Death

How Do You Treat an Incomplete Abortion?

Your healthcare provider can treat an incomplete abortion medically and surgically. To determine 

if your symptoms result from an incomplete abortion, the provider may give you another pregnancy test, perform a transvaginal ultrasound, or an endometrial biopsy.

Treatment may involve additional drugs to trigger your body to expel the retained tissue. Or, it may require dilation and curettage (D & C). A D & C is a surgical procedure that first dilates (opens) your cervix and then uses suction or a scraping tool to remove tissue.

How Can Willowbrook Women’s Center Assist Me?

Nurses are available to talk with you about your symptoms. Although we do not provide or refer for abortions, we can recommend medical professionals to assist you. 

Do not wait if you suspect you are experiencing an incomplete abortion. Seek medical attention immediately. If you are considering abortion for your unplanned pregnancy, come to Willowbrook Women’s Center for a no-cost and confidential pre-abortion screening. We have two locations to serve you. Schedule your appointment online or call 816-244-7824.

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