Was my abortion successful?

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Most women are able to know if the abortion was successful because pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness and nausea begin to disappear within a few days. Some women might see the embryo or embryonic sac. Even if the woman feels she is not pregnant anymore, it is important to make sure the abortion was successful. Women should either get an ultrasound after the medical abortion or take a pregnancy test 3 weeks after the abortion. A urine pregnancy test may not be accurate for 2-3 weeks after the abortion.

Urine pregnancy test - Even though HcG (human chorionic gonadotrophin – the pregnancy hormone) drops rapidly after an abortion, this hormone is still in the body and will show up on a pregnancy test. As many as 66% of the pregnancy tests done 2 weeks after abortion are positive, even when the woman is no longer pregnant. It is better to wait 3-4 weeks before doing a pregnancy test, otherwise a woman might have a false positive test result. 34, 35

Ultrasound – Although an ultrasound can confirm if the abortion was successful immediately after the abortion, women are advised to wait 2 weeks before having a scan. An early ultrasound may lead to an unnecessary vacuum aspiration or curettage. Medical abortion involves a process that can last for several weeks before the uterus is empty, so remains in the uterus are not a sign of an incomplete abortion.  There is no need for medical attention if there are no other signs of complication.

Blood pregnancy test –Women can get a blood pregnancy test when they have the abortion (it can also be done just before or after the abortion) and then repeat the test 4-5 days after the abortion. If the level of hormone called HcG decreases, this means the abortion was successful.

Signs of complication