What are the Complications of Incomplete Abortion?

What are the Complications of Incomplete Abortion?


Abortion is a serious procedure that may have dangers and adverse effects. One of the hazards of medical or surgical abortion is an incomplete abortion. Despite being uncommon, it can be fatal if not handled well. As a result, it’s imperative to see a doctor to be checked for indicators of incomplete abortion.

One of the best treatment methods for a permanent cure for incomplete abortion is D and C procedure. However, patients generally have a question: “How much does D and C procedure cost?”. This blog will help one understand and provide awareness of incomplete abortion, its complications and the treatment modalities for incomplete abortion along with its cost.

What is Incomplete Abortion?

Incomplete abortion is the partial loss of a foetus within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. The word “incomplete abortion” is sometimes used to describe miscarriages, which occur when a pregnancy ends naturally, but the tissue hasn’t been fully removed.

Chromosomal abnormalities account for 50% of these occurrences. Modifiable causes and risk factors include age, under or overweight mothers, maternal diseases (diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, thyroid issue, polycystic ovary syndrome, lupus, thrombophilia), abnormal uterine development, teratogen exposure (drug, alcohol, caffeine, radiation), and infections (human immunodeficiency virus, sexually transmitted infections). These risk factors may result in congenital anomalies leading to incomplete abortion.

The symptoms of incomplete abortion may start soon after a woman has an incomplete abortion. Here are some of the indicators of incomplete abortion that one should look for:

  1. Vaginal bleeding
  2. Lower abdominal cramps or pain
  3. Discharge of fluid or tissue

Women must recognise the symptoms to get the help and treatment they need. People can be more in control of their health decisions if they know the causes, risk factors, and accessible treatments.

Treatment Options for Incomplete Abortion

If a woman, after an abortion or miscarriage, is experiencing the signs and symptoms of incomplete abortion, she should immediately seek medical attention.

The treatment for incomplete abortion generally includes the removal of the foetal remnants from the uterus. The specific treatment options may vary depending on the extent of the incomplete abortion, gestational age, and individual circumstances. Here are some common treatment approaches:

  1. Expectant Management: If there are no symptoms of infection, then a woman could decide to let the miscarriage happen normally. Medical or surgical intervention will be required if expulsion doesn’t occur naturally.
  2. Medical Treatment: If a woman wishes to expel the foetal remnants quickly after learning that she has lost a pregnancy, then a medical abortion technique is recommended by the treating doctor. The medication is inserted into the vagina or orally to expel the foetal remnants.
  3. Surgical Treatment: An incomplete abortion can be permanently cured via surgical procedures. The following list of surgical procedures can be used to treat an incomplete abortion:
  • Vacuum Aspiration: The excess tissue from the uterus is gently suctioned out during this treatment using hand-held equipment.
  • Dilation and Curettage: D and C procedure is a surgical technique used to remove the remaining uterine tissue while the patient is under anaesthesia. It entails dilation of the cervix and removal of the uterine contents using a curette, a surgical tool.

The D and C procedure cost in India ranges from ₹ 8,000 to ₹ 11,000. Several factors determine the total D&C procedure cost, including the cost of diagnostic tests, doctor’s experience, location and type of clinic, hospitalisation, drugs used, follow-up medical visits, etc.

Complications of Incomplete Abortion

If left untreated, complications from an incomplete abortion can harm a woman’s health. To guarantee prompt medical support and action, it is essential to comprehend and be aware of these potential issues. Here are a few of the typical complications of an incomplete abortion:

  1. Excessive Bleeding: Heavy or continuous bleeding can signify an incomplete abortion. Concern should be raised because this could result in anaemia and necessitate medical attention to stop the bleeding.
  2. Retained products of conception: The tissue still in the uterus can sometimes trigger chronic pain and discomfort. This might obstruct the body’s normal healing process and require additional medical treatment to remove the trapped items.
  3. Infection: Foetal tissue that remains in the uterus can cause an infection. Symptoms of the infection include fever, stomach ache,  and foul-smelling discharge. Untreated infection may spread to other reproductive organs and necessitate more involved medical care. The infection rate was 0.1% to 4.7% in low-income economies where females underwent surgical care for incomplete abortion, compared to 0.1% to 0.5% in high-income countries.
  4. Psychological Impact: Coping with an incomplete abortion can be emotionally challenging. Addressing the psychological impact and seeking the right support to cope with any potential loss, sadness, or fear is crucial.

After managing an incomplete abortion, typical side effects like vomiting and diarrhoea are seen. Several additional complications may also develop, including.

  1. Infertility: In some cases, medical or surgical abortion treatment for incomplete abortion may also lead to infertility.
  2. Uterine Rupture or  Perforation: A surgical instrument or foetal tissue may puncture the uterus’s wall during an incomplete abortion, increasing the risk of uterine perforation. Given that it may cause internal bleeding and possible harm to nearby organs, this complication must be treated by a doctor immediately.
  3. Pelvic Infection: The presence of foetal remnants in the uterus or maintaining poor hygiene post-treatment can further invite infections.
  4. Cervical Damage: Surgical abortion procedures are performed using surgical equipment which may damage the cervix when performing the surgical procedure.

Rare complications include hemorrhagic shock, septicemia, multiorgan failure, and death.


An incomplete abortion may sound intimidating, but understanding its causes, symptoms, and the importance of seeking medical care can alleviate your concerns. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey; healthcare professionals are here to guide you. By staying informed and proactive, you can navigate the complexities of incomplete abortion with confidence, ensuring your well-being and peace of mind.

Ref Links:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/missed-abortion#symptoms
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559071/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559071/

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