A positive pregnancy test was still sitting in the bathroom trash can when the severe cramps began. After losing a considerable amount of blood a few hours later, Sarah decided to see her OBGYN, uncertain of what this meant for her early pregnancy.

Sarah’s diagnosis was an incomplete abortion, something she had never heard of before.

What is an Incomplete Abortion?

Usually occurring within the first twenty weeks of pregnancy, an incomplete abortion is when a woman’s body terminates the embryo on its own, sometimes known as a miscarriage. An incomplete abortion can also occur in cases when an earlier elected abortion does not fully remove all the parts of the pregnancy.

What Causes an Incomplete Abortion?

According to the National Library of Medicine, about 50 percent of incomplete abortions are caused by chromosomal abnormalities. Other cases are the results of the mother’s age, health, and habits. Some are the result of poor medical care or improperly completed abortion procedures. And of course, sometimes the incomplete abortion happens when the abortion pill or surgical abortion fails to remove all pregnancy tissue.

What Are the Symptoms of an Incomplete Abortion?

Just like Sarah experienced, cramping and moderate to severe vaginal bleeding are common signs that something is not quite right after a positive pregnancy test. If you are bleeding through multiple maxi pads in one hour, or if your toilet is full of blood, you should call your OBGYN right away.

Other signs include lower back pain and pelvic pain.

A fever alongside any of these symptoms should be addressed immediately, as it could be a sign of an infection or of oncoming septic shock.

How is An Incomplete Abortion Treated?

After being diagnosed with an incomplete abortion, your healthcare provider will want to see you for several follow-ups to check your beta-HCG levels. Most of the time, your own body will expel the remaining tissue on its own, but in some cases, it will need to be removed surgically.

Sometimes an IV for extra fluids or pain medication will be given as treatment. And in rare cases where too much blood has been lost, a blood transfusion may be administered.

Do You Have More Questions?

If you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy, we can help! If you wonder if you may have had a miscarriage already, we offer free pregnancy testing and an encouraging, helpful ear. Please contact us today!