Signs of complication

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Complications after medical abortion are rare 1,15, and include severe bleeding and infection. You should go to the doctor or hospital if you have any of the signs of complication below:

  • Severe bleeding (more than 2 or 3 pads used every hour for more than 2 or 3 hours)
  • Severe abdominal pain that isn’t relieved with painkillers or continues for 2-3 days after taking the pills
  • Fever over 39º or 38º for more than 24 hours
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

The risk of a complication is low (2-5 women in every 100), 11 and the need for emergency care (that might be needed in case the woman suffers from heavy bleeding) is extremely low (1 in every 2000 women).1,15  However, to make the process as safe as possible, it is important to be near medical care in case of an emergency or a complication throughout the process of abortion.  If a woman lives far from medical care, she should use the medicines where she can access medical care, preferably within one or two hours. She should also plan how she would get to medical care (by car, taxi, or in case of emergency by ambulance).

If possible, the woman should choose a hospital or doctor where she knows that women having miscarriages are treated respectfully.

If a woman seeks medical attention, she does not have to say she used medicines.  She can say she is having a miscarriage.  The symptoms and treatment of a complication of miscarriage is exactly the same as treatment for abortion.

Misoprostol cannot be detected in the blood or any bodily fluids within a few hours after use.   Even if a hospital claims that they can check to see if a woman took medicines to cause the miscarriage, it is not true. 55