Complete Abortion

Definition - What does Complete Abortion mean?

A complete abortion is the complete expulsion of the products of pregnancy (fetal and/or placental tissue) not requiring any intervention. It is one of the several types of spontaneous abortion defined as the loss of pregnancy that occurs within 20 weeks from the last menstrual period. About 80% of early pregnancy losses occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (i.e. in the first trimester). Repeated miscarriages indicate infertility.

A complete abortion is also known as a complete miscarriage.

FertilitySmarts explains Complete Abortion

What causes a complete abortion?

The most common cause of any spontaneous pregnancy loss in the first 12 weeks is chromosomal abnormalities or exposure to substances that can harm the baby in its development.

The mother’s age also highly predicts the risk of any type of abortion. In women aged 20 to 30 years, the risk of early miscarriage is 8.9%. When women reach 42 years, this risk rises to 74.7%.

Another important predictor in the risk of early pregnancy loss is a prior history of miscarriage. The risk of miscarriage in a future pregnancy is around 20% after a first miscarriage and rises to 28% after 2 consecutive miscarriages.

A woman with complete abortion will experience heavy vaginal bleeding with the passage of clots. Pain may or may not be present. On examination, the cervical os (opening at the end of the cervix) is closed.

The best way to ensure that a woman has had a complete abortion is to have an ultrasound after the pregnancy loss. This paired with a negative pregnancy test after 3-4 weeks helps confirm complete removal of the products of pregnancy.

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