We have spoken before about the safety of first trimester abortion procedures so long as they are performed by trained professionals using proper equipment, hygiene and standard procedures. However, it is also necessary for women to be aware of the potential side effects and possible complications of abortion as well.
Commonly seen side effects
According to the American Pregnancy Association, a first trimester abortion will have side effects such as some bleeding or spotting, and a certain amount of pain and cramping in the abdomen for about 2 to 4 weeks after the abortion. There could be some digestive disturbances such as nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Serious complications after abortion
A first trimester abortion is very safe procedure, and complications in early abortions are very rare. However abortions in general carry certain risks, which women should known about even if they are rare.
There could be heavy or persistent bleeding following the procedure. There could be damage to the cervix or to other organs or even development of scar tissue in the uterus, which may lead to pregnancy complications and other problems in the future.
Infection or sepsis is another problem that could occur and is a risk with any kind of surgical procedure. In some rare cases, perforation of the uterus may be reported and in very rare cases death of a woman could occur if complications are severe. However these complications are rare and many of them may present in the event of a woman carrying the pregnancy to term as well.
Some experts also claim that aborting raises the risk of preterm delivery in the future which can in turn result in congenital defects in the baby. Some groups also claim a link between abortion and increased breast cancer risk, however this is disputed and controversial and far from being established medical fact.
The emotional and psychological impact of first trimester abortion
It is thought that there could be short term as well as long term psychological and emotional impacts of an abortion regardless of when during a pregnancy it is performed.
There could be feelings of guilt, anger, anxiety, grief, a sense of loss, and even suicidal thoughts after an abortion in some cases. The risk of clinical depression, substance abuse, mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and even suicide may rise, claim some groups.
Some groups also urge women to reconsider abortion since it could cause bonding and relationship issues in the future and also ask women to consider spiritual and religious issues connected to abortion and their possible consequences for the woman.
When to call a doctor after a first trimester abortion
There could be certain indications that could indicate post-abortion complications that women should report immediately to the doctor: If a woman experiences very severe back pain or abdominal pain, or if the bleeding is heavy (heavier than a normal period).
If there is a fever it could indicate the presence of an infection. Any fever or foul smelling discharge should be reported. If there are continuing symptoms of a pregnancy, this could indicate that the abortion is not complete and that some parts of the pregnancy were retained in the uterus.