Side Effects and Risks of Abortion 

Side Effects and Risks of Abortion 

Here at First Coast Women’s Services, we believe women experiencing unplanned pregnancies have the right to access all the information they need to make an informed choice for their futures.

Deciding between parenting, abortion, and adoption is not an easy choice and it can be a challenge to sort through all the information out there. 

If you’re interested in the option of abortion, it’s important you take time to understand the risks and side effects you may encounter.

What are the side effects of abortion?

Those who choose to have an abortion might encounter some of the following side effects:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Cramping or pain in the abdomen 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Headaches
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Fever and chills

What are the risks of abortion?

Whether you are planning on taking the abortion pill or are having a surgical abortion, there is a chance you may experience some severe and long-term health risks.

Some of these risks include: 

 1. Heavy and Excessive Bleeding

Bleeding is part of the abortion process, however, excessive bleeding is cause for alarm as it can sometimes indicate hemorrhaging.

While hemorrhaging only happens in around 1% of abortions, the mortality rate is significant. Hemorrhaging can be caused by “atony, coagulopathy, and abnormal placentation, as well as by such procedure complications as perforation, cervical laceration and retained tissue.”

2. Developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Women who are infected with chlamydia at the time of their abortions are 23% more likely to develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), a condition with lasting consequences, including fertility issues, abscesses, and chronic pain.1

3. Long-Term Mental Health Struggles

For some women, the abortion process can be traumatic and may trigger mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.2 For those who come to regret their abortion and carry feelings of shame and guilt, there are post-abortion recovery and support groups available through many local pregnancy centers.

4. Future Ectopic Pregnancies and other Fertility Issues

The abortion process can result in infections, hemorrhaging, and scarring of internal organs, which can cause issues as women attempt to conceive and give birth later on in life.3

5. Life-Threatening Infections

In some instances, fetal tissue is left in the uterus, which is called an incomplete abortion. This can result in infections that can be life-threatening if left untreated.  

How do I decide if abortion is right for me?

Before you make any decision for your pregnancy, we recommend scheduling an appointment for no-cost pregnancy testing and options counseling at your local pregnancy clinic.

Here at First Coast Women’s Services, our staff is passionate about providing women with information on each of their pregnancy options so that they can feel confident as they make this important choice!

  1. Westergaard L, Phillipsen T, Scheibel J (1982). “Significance of cervical Chlamydia trachomatis infection in postabortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 68(5): 668-90; Ovigstad E, et al. (1983). “Pelvic inflammatory disease associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection after therapeutic abortion.” Br J Vener Dis, 59: 189-92; Heisterberg L, et al. (1987). “The role of vaginal secretory immunoglobulin a, gardnerella vaginalis, anaerobes, and Chlamydia trachomatis in post abortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 66(2): 99-102.
  2. Reardon DC. The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities. SAGE open medicine. 2018;6: 1–38. 10.1177/2050312118807624 . [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  3. Bhattacharya, S. et al. Reproductive outcomes following induced abortion: a national register-based cohort study in Scotland. BMJ Open. 2, (2012).