Abortion Research Compendium – India

Patterns and correlates of post-abortion complications in India
Manas Ranjan Pradhan,Daisy Saikia

Background: Abortion complications can range from minor and treatable to severe but rare complications that can result in morbidity or even death. There is limited evidence on the socioeconomic and demographic correlates of post-abortion complications, though abortion is associated with pregnancy and birth-related complications and contributes to maternal mortality in India. This study thus assesses the patterns and correlates of post-abortion complications in India. 

Methods: This study gathered data from the cross-sectional National Family Health Survey (2019–21) on women aged 15–49 who had their last pregnancy terminated by induced abortion in the five years preceding the survey (n = 5,835). Multivariate logistic regression was used to check the adjusted association of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics with abortion complications. The data were analysed using Stata with a 5% significance threshold. 

Results: Post-abortion complications affected 16% of the women. Women who had an abortion with a gestational age of 9–20 weeks (AOR:1.48, CI: 1.24–1.75) and those who had an abortion due to life risk/medical reasons (AOR:1.37, CI:1.13–1.65) had higher odds of abortion complications than their respective counterparts. Women in the North- Eastern (AOR:0.67, CI:0.51–0.88) and the Southern (AOR:0.60, CI:0.44, 0.81) regions were less likely to have abortion complications than those in the Northern region. 

Conclusion: Many Indian women suffer from post-abortion complications, with the primary causes being increased gestational age and abortions performed due to life-threatening or medical conditions. Efforts to educate women about early abortion decision-making and improve abortion care will reduce post-abortion complications.

Pradhan MR, Saikia D. Patterns and correlates of post-abortion complications in India. BMC Womens Health. 2023 Mar 9;23(1):97.

Published Material / Journal Article / Research Study