Complications of Abor tion 251
A woman with any of the danger signs after abortion (see page
249) needs medical help fast! She should go immediately to a
health center or hospital where she can get the care she needs.
Most of the time the womb must be emptied completely using
vacuum aspiration (MVA) or a D and C. In the meantime, the
information on the next 8 pages may help if transport is not
available immediately or if medical care is very far away.
Heavy bleeding from the vagina
Heavy bleeding is the most common problem
after an abortion. It is usually caused by pieces
of the pregnancy that are left in the womb.
The womb cannot squeeze itself shut
and keeps bleeding. This is called
an incomplete abortion. If the
pieces are removed, often
the bleeding will stop.
Sometimes the bleeding
is caused by a torn
cervix which must
be stitched for the
bleeding to stop.
is bleeding too
much if she soaks more than 2 heavy pads or cloths in one hour
for 2 hours in a row. A slow, steady trickle of bright red blood is
also dangerous. When this happens, a woman may quickly lose a
dangerous amount of blood. If it is not possible to get medical
help immediately, try to stop the bleeding.
To stop the bleeding
A woman who is bleeding too much may
be able to help her womb squeeze shut
with massage. She can do this herself or
have someone else do it. Rub or massage
the lower belly very hard while lying down
If there are pieces of tissue stuck in the womb or
cervix, she may be able to push them out herself by squatting and
bearing down as if passing stool or giving birth.
Even if these treatments seem to work, get medical help as
soon as possible. The woman will need antibiotics and may still
need to have her womb emptied completely.
➤ Early treatment
infertility, and death.
Seek help quickly if
you have problems
after an abortion.
Do not wait!
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012