Short-term complications after surgically induced abortions: a register-based study of 56 117 abortions

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2002 Apr;81(4):331-6. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0412.2002.810410.x.


Background: Performing an induced abortion is a rather simple medical procedure which is frequently done and side-effects will have public health implications unless they are very rare. We estimated the incidence of side-effects detected during the stay at the hospital and 2 weeks after the discharge. We only include side-effects reported by clinics or hospitals.

Methods: Altogether 56 117 induced abortions performed by public hospitals in Denmark from 1980 to 1994 were analyzed in this study. The study combined results from the mandatory reporting of side-effects to the National Induced Abortion Registry and all diagnoses reported to the Hospital Discharge Registry.

Results: Side-effects in the form of bleeding, infections or re-evacuation were recorded for about 5%. We found more side-effects in teenage women and for abortions performed late in pregnancy. We found nothing to indicate that the frequency of side-effects following an abortion changed over time.

Conclusions: About 5% have side-effects registered by hospitals following an induced abortion. The long-term consequences of this are not known.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / methods
  • Abortion, Induced* / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Odds Ratio
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors