The previous miscarriage generally does not significantly impact fertility or future pregnancies. Following a miscarriage, a person can become pregnant again during the first menstrual cycle, which can occur as early as two weeks after the miscarriage. There are two methods for terminating a pregnancy: medical and surgical. The choice of termination method depends on various factors, including the gestational age and the individual’s preferences.
Research indicates that a previous abortion does not adversely affect fertility, and the risks associated with both types of abortion (medical and surgical) are relatively low.
This means that someone can become pregnant shortly after an abortion. Those who want to avoid pregnancy in the weeks following an abortion should use contraception if they are engaging in sexual activity that could lead to pregnancy.
Most of the time, individuals who have had an abortion can go on to have a healthy pregnancy. In rare cases, someone who has had an abortion may face complications in subsequent pregnancies.
In this article, the potential impact of abortion on fertility and pregnancy is discussed, including protective factors and risks.
Does Abortion Affect Future Pregnancies?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), having a previous miscarriage does not increase the risk of infertility after the procedure.
Individuals who become pregnant after an abortion may face some complications, but the risk is low.
In a study that included 50,273 women with 54,911 abortion cases, researchers found that only 2.1% of cases had complications, and severe complications occurred in 0.23% of cases.
Safety and Risks
Abortions are safest when they are performed early in pregnancy. The likelihood of complications is higher when the pregnancy is more advanced.
Whether someone experiences complications and their severity can also depend on the type of abortion procedure used.
Medical abortion involves taking medication, and medical professionals typically use this method for abortions in the first trimester. For example, the combination of medications like mifepristone and misoprostol has a success rate of up to 99%, based on credible sources.
Surgical abortion, also known as dilation and curettage (D&C), involves the removal of the fetus with suction and curettage. The level of risk can vary depending on the individual’s specific circumstances.
In a large-scale study, a positive association was found between the completion of surgical abortion and subsequent pregnancy complications, including preterm delivery, low birth weight, placental retention, and heavy post-partum bleeding.
These rare and unusual cases are sometimes linked to uterine wall damage from surgical abortion and are referred to as Asherman’s syndrome. Getting pregnant again after Asherman’s syndrome can be more challenging, and there may be a risk of reduced pregnancy in the future.
The risks associated with medical abortion are generally lower compared to surgical abortion, although this might be due to the fact that medical abortions are more common during the early stages of pregnancy. In general, the risk of complications decreases when abortion is performed early in the pregnancy.
If complications arise, further treatment may be necessary to mitigate the risks for future issues. A doctor can provide advice on risks for each individual.
Can You Get Pregnant Immediately After an Abortion?
Pregnancy can occur as early as two weeks after an abortion. This means that someone can become pregnant before their next menstrual cycle. However, menstrual cycles vary in length, and individuals with shorter cycles can ovulate quickly.
Another factor affecting the timing of ovulation is the gestational age at the time of abortion. If an abortion occurs later in pregnancy, it might take several weeks for ovulation to resume as pregnancy hormones persist in the body.
Someone who wants to avoid pregnancy immediately after an abortion should use contraception. According to ACOG, individuals can use intrauterine devices or any contraceptive method of their choice following the termination of pregnancy.
Anyone who is concerned about the possibility of being pregnant immediately after an abortion should take a pregnancy test. If the result is positive, they should see a doctor who can determine whether a new pregnancy is present or whether residual pregnancy hormones are still in the body.