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Risks of an abortion

Abortions are generally very safe and most women won't experience any problems.

But like any medical treatment, there is a small risk that something could go wrong.

Possible complications

The risk of complications increases the later in pregnancy you have an abortion. Possible complications include:

  • the pregnancy is not completely removed
  • infection of the womb
  • heavy or irregular bleeding after the abortion
  • mental health problems such as feeling down or upset
  • continuing pregnancy
  • haemorrhage or very heavy bleeding

If complications do occur, you may need further treatment, including surgery.

Related topics

Medical abortion: risks, complications and what extra treatments you might need

Surgical abortion: risks, complications and what extra treatments you might need

Effect on fertility and future pregnancies

Having an abortion won't affect your chances of becoming pregnant. You should be able to have normal pregnancies in the future.

Abortion does not increase your risk of:

Many women are able to get pregnant immediately afterwards. So you should start using contraception right away if you don't want this to happen.

Talk to your GP or doctor if you're concerned about the risks of an abortion.

Mental health effects

You may have a range of emotions after you have an abortion.

If you need to, you can talk to a professional counsellor for free about how you're feeling.

Call the My Options helpline on freephone 1800 828 010.

You are not more likely to have a mental health problem if you have an abortion. You are just as likely to have a mental health problem if you continued with the pregnancy.

You can also talk to your GP if you have any concerns.

Breast cancer

An abortion does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer.

page last reviewed: 18/12/2018
next review due: 18/12/2021

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