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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The earlier in the pregnancy that a termination is performed, the safer the operation.

  • Rate of major complications during first trimester vacuum aspiration and hospital admission or blood transfusions increase for both medical and surgical abortion as gestational age advances.
  • Major complications are seen in about one in 100 second trimester medical or surgical abortions (1).

The safest time to perform a termination of pregnancy is between 6 and 8 weeks of amenorrhoea.

Long-term sequelae of termination of pregnancy (e.g. cervical incompetence due to dilatation and tears of the internal os) means that there is an increased risk of spontaneous abortion between the 16th and 25th weeks of amenorrhoea.


  1. Lohr PA et al. Abortion. BMJ. 2014;348:f7553

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