Incomplete Abortions

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan.


An incomplete abortion is a subtype of spontaneous abortion, along with inevitable and missed abortion. Other types of spontaneous abortion are threatened abortion and complete abortion. This article will focus on incomplete abortion, which is described as partial loss of products of conception within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Patients will present with vaginal bleeding with lower abdominal and/or pain and cramping. Threatened abortion is vaginal bleeding with a closed cervical os and viable pregnancy. Inevitable abortion is vaginal bleeding with an open cervical os and viable pregnancy. Complete abortion is vaginal bleeding with either an open or closed cervical os with complete loss of products of conception.

The overall incidence of spontaneous abortion is 10% to 15%. It is divided into early, <12 weeks, and late, >13 weeks. The causes of abortion are usually unknown but most commonly are attributed to fetal chromosomal abnormalities and the rest due to modifiable etiologies and risk factors. Treatment of incomplete abortion includes expectant, medical, and/or surgical treatment. Complications are rare but can be serious such as sepsis from the retained product, hemorrhagic shock, and uterine rupture. The prognosis for these patients is generally good with a proper workup, close obstetric follow-up, and patient education.

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