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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Elective Surgical Abortion: Home Care and Complications

Elective Surgical Abortion

Alternate Names : Induced Abortion, Interruption of Pregnancy

Elective Surgical Abortion | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

What happens later at home?

At home, a woman should take these steps.

  • Avoid using tampons or having sex for at least 2 weeks.
  • Be aware of the possible emotional aspects of abortion. Some women have depression similar to postpartum depression after an abortion.
  • Call the doctor if there are any new or worsening symptoms, such as fever, severe or lasting abdominal distress, or heavy vaginal bleeding.
  • Slowly resume daily activity.
  • If a woman has no problems after the abortion, it is likely that she will be able to get pregnant at a later time. A follow-up visit with a doctor should include a pelvic exam to make sure the uterus is shrinking in size. This office visit is also a good time for a woman and her doctor to talk about birth control. This will help the woman choose a method that will work well for her.

    What are the potential complications after the procedure?

    Any type of abortion can cause heavy bleeding that might require a D&C or blood transfusion. There are other possible complications linked to each type of abortion. Early abortions tend to be much safer than later ones. In the first trimester of pregnancy, rare complications of a D&C are:

  • a hole in the uterus
  • infection in the lining of the uterus
  • severe bleeding
  • These problems are far more likely to happen when a D&E is done after 12 weeks of pregnancy. At that time, the uterus is larger and softer. This means more tissue must be removed.

    In late abortions, putting very concentrated salt solutions, urea, or prostaglandin into the amniotic fluid can cause the problems listed below:

  • damage to the cervix
  • infection
  • leftover tissue that remains in the uterus, which means a D&C would need to be done
  • severe bleeding
  • Sometimes, too much of the uterine lining is scraped away, causing scar tissue to form within the walls of the uterus. The scar tissue can cause infertility.

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    Elective Surgical Abortion: Preparation & Expectations


    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 08/22/01

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