Abortion: Risks of Procedures

Aspiration Abortion / D&C

Uterine aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C) and dilatation and evacuation (D&E) are some of the most common procedures in Canada. The rate of complications is less than 2 percent and most complications are minor and easily treated. Compared to pregnancy and childbirth, these procedures have few complications. However, like any procedure there are risks you should be aware of.

Complication Description Frequency
Infection Infection of the uterus; antibiotics are given to prevent this 1–20 in 1,000
Retained tissue Some pregnancy tissue is left in the uterus; often it comes out on its own, sometimes a second D&C is needed 5–10 in 1,000
Continued pregnancy Rare, linked to uterus with unusual shape, very early pregnancy or pregnancy not in the uterus With a normal uterine pregnancy, occurs less than 1 in 1,000
Hematometra Blood builds up more quickly than it comes out causing an enlarged, painful uterus. It is unpleasant but not dangerous. It means another D&C will be needed 1 in 1,000
Hemorrhage Excessive bleeding; usually can be controlled by giving medication at the hospital 1 in 1,000
Injury to the uterus Injury to the uterus or other organs is rare. Referral to a surgeon and repair may be needed Removal of uterus occurs 1 in 100,000
Allergic reaction Reaction to any of the medications given to you at the hospital; most reactions can be treated at the hospital  
Risk of death Most deaths are related to general anesthesia or other medical conditions. The risk of death in pregnancy/childbirth is ten times greater 1 in 1,000,000

Medication Abortion