Tools and Resources

Abortion: Does it affect subsequent pregnancies?

Could an abortion increase the risk of problems in a subsequent pregnancy?

Generally, abortion isn't thought to cause fertility issues or complications in subsequent pregnancies. However, some research suggests a possible link between abortion and an increased risk of:

  • Vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Placenta previa when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix, which can cause severe bleeding before or during delivery

During a medical abortion, a woman takes oral medications such as mifepristone (Mifeprex) in early pregnancy to abort the fetus. During a surgical abortion, the fetus is removed from the uterus typically with a vacuum device, a syringe or a spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge (curette) as an outpatient surgical procedure. Rarely, a surgical abortion can damage the cervix or uterus. In such cases, surgery might be needed to correct the damage before a woman can conceive again.

If you've had an abortion and are concerned about the possible impact on a future pregnancy, consult your health care provider. He or she can help you understand the potential risks, as well as what you can do to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Updated: 8/6/2011

© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to content provided to this site by Clinic Health Information. Use thereof signifies your agreement to these terms of use.