Was my abortion successful?


It is usually possible to know if the abortion was successful because pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness and nausea begin to disappear within a few days. Sometimes it is possible to identify 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.

How to confirm that the abortion was successful:

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 for some time after an abortion or miscarriage. 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. If there is a positive pregnancy test after 3-4 weeks, the test can be repeated days later, or an ultrasound can confirm whether the pregnancy is continuing. 34, 35

Ultrasound – Although an ultrasound can confirm if the abortion was successful immediately after the abortion, it is advisable to wait 10 days before having a scan. An early ultrasound may lead to an unnecessary vacuum aspiration or curettage if pregnancy tissues or clots are present in the uterus. 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 quantitative 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. Note: A quantitative blood test is the kind that gives the result as a number.  A qualitative blood pregnancy test will only give a positive or negative result, and this can remain positive for weeks following an abortion.

Signs of complication