A person considering an abortion may wonder about any effects on future pregnancies. In most cases, a previous abortion does not affect fertility and has no impact on other pregnancies. In rare cases, a previous abortion could lead to subsequent pregnancy complications.

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that secured a person’s constitutional right to an abortion.

This means that individual states are now able to decide their own abortion laws. As a result, many states will ban or severely restrict abortion access.

The information in this article was accurate and up to date at the time of publication, but the facts may have changed since. Anyone looking to learn more about their legal rights can message the Repro Legal Helpline via a secure online form or call 844-868-2812.

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There are two abortion methods: medical and surgical. The type of abortion a person has may depend on several factors, including how far along the pregnancy is and the person’s preference.

Research suggests that abortions do not affect fertility and that the risks associated with both types of abortion are relatively low.

This means a person can get pregnant soon after having an abortion. Anyone who does not wish to become pregnant within weeks of abortion should use contraception if they are engaging in sexual activities that could lead to pregnancy.

Most of the time, people who have had abortions can go on to have healthy pregnancies. In rarer cases, a person who has had an abortion could experience some complications in later pregnancy.

This article discusses fertility and pregnancy after an induced abortion, including safety factors and risks.

Learn more about fertility after miscarriage.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), having a previous pregnancy does not increase the risk of infertility after the procedure.

People who do become pregnant after an abortion may experience some pregnancy complications, but the risk of this is low.

In one study that included data on 54,911 abortions among 50,273 women, researchers found that complications occurred in only 2.1% of cases and serious complications occurred in 0.23% of cases.

Abortions are safest when they happen as early as possible in pregnancy. Complications are more likely when a pregnancy is farther along, regardless of the method of abortion.

Whether a person experiences complications and the degree of their severity may also depend on the type of abortion, a person receives.

A medical abortion involves taking medication, and medical professionals tend to use this method for abortions during the first trimester. A combination of the medications mifepristone and prostaglandin, for example, has a success rate of up to 99%.

A surgical abortion, also known as dilation and curettage (D&C), involves removing the fetus with suction and a tool called a curette.

One large cohort study found a positive association between a surgical termination of pregnancy and later pregnancy complications. These complications include preterm delivery, cervical insufficiency, placental retention, and heavy postpartum bleeding

In rare cases, a surgical abortion can cause scarring of the uterine wall. Doctors call this Asherman syndrome. Scarring may make it more difficult for a person to get pregnant again and may lead to pregnancy loss in the future.

The risks of medical abortion appear to be lower than those of surgical abortion, though this may be true only because medical abortions are more common during early pregnancy. Overall, having an abortion early in pregnancy reduces the risk of complications.

If complications arise, further treatment may be necessary to reduce the risk of future problems. A doctor can advise each individual about the risks.

Can you reduce the risk of pregnancy complications after abortion?

Many doctors recommend waiting until the bleeding ends after either type of abortion before having sex again. Bleeding from an abortion can last for 2 weeks or more.

Other doctors advise waiting until at least one menstrual period has come and gone. Delaying sex will help reduce the risk of infection.

In some cases, it is necessary to delay having sex longer, especially if the abortion took place later in the pregnancy or if there were complications from the abortion procedure itself.

Ovulation can occur as soon as 2 weeks after an abortion. This means a person may become pregnant again before their next period. However, menstrual cycles vary in length, and people with shorter cycles may ovulate sooner.

Another factor that influences the timing of ovulation is the duration of the pregnancy before the abortion. If an abortion takes place later in the pregnancy, the person may not ovulate for several weeks afterward. This can occur when pregnancy hormones linger in the body.

A person who wants to avoid pregnancy soon after an abortion may want to use contraception. According to the ACOG, a person can use any contraceptive method, including an intrauterine device, immediately after pregnancy ends.

Anyone who wonders whether they have become pregnant soon after an abortion should take a pregnancy test. If the result is positive, they should see a doctor, who can determine whether there is a new pregnancy or whether leftover pregnancy hormones are present.

People can become pregnant within 2 weeks of an abortion. For those who are ready to get pregnant again, there is generally no medical reason to delay trying to conceive — unless a doctor advises otherwise.

A person does not need to take extra steps to become pregnant after an abortion.

However, some doctors recommend waiting until the first menstrual period has ended. This will make it easier to estimate the delivery date of the next pregnancy.

Those who have had abortions for medical reasons may want a full medical assessment before trying to conceive again. A checkup can help determine whether a person will experience similar issues with future pregnancies.

Shortly after an abortion, a pregnancy test may give a false-positive result. This occurs because the body still contains significant levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

While hCG levels tend to fall quickly after an abortion, they can take several days or weeks to return to baseline.

Usually, a home pregnancy test shows an accurate negative result 3 weeks after the end of a pregnancy.

If a pregnancy test shows a positive result after 3 weeks, it may indicate a new pregnancy. To be certain, a person should see a doctor who can carry out a blood test or an ultrasound.

Learn more about false-positive pregnancy tests.

In most cases, an abortion does not affect fertility or future pregnancies. It is possible to ovulate and become pregnant within 2 weeks after an abortion.

In rare cases, surgical abortion can cause scarring of the uterine wall or damage to the cervix. These complications may make it more difficult to get pregnant again. They can also increase the risk of future pregnancy loss, preterm birth, or low birth weight.

However, both medical and surgical abortions are low risk. The right method will depend on the stage of pregnancy and on a person’s preference. A medical professional can help with this decision.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about pregnancy after an abortion should consult a healthcare professional.