Management of Postabortion Complications for the Emergency Medicine Clinician

Author Department

Emergency Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Although induced abortion is generally a safe outpatient procedure, many patients subsequently present to the emergency department, concerned about a postabortion complication. It is helpful for emergency physicians to understand the medications and procedures used in abortion care in the United States to effectively and efficiently triage and treat women presenting with potential complications from an abortion. Furthermore, because many states are experiencing increased abortion restrictions that limit access to care, emergency medicine physicians may encounter more patients presenting after self-managed abortions, which presents additional challenges. This article reviews the epidemiology and background of abortion care, including the range of symptoms and adverse effects that are within the scope of an uncomplicated procedure. This review also offers a comprehensive overview of management of abortion complications, including algorithms for more common complications and descriptions of less common but more severe adverse events. The article concludes with a recognition of the social stigma and legal regulations unique to abortion care.