3 Reasons for a Positive Pregnancy Test After an Abortion

The vast majority of abortion procedures result in the successful termination of a pregnancy. However, it is possible to have a positive pregnancy test shortly after the procedure. While this can be unexpected and confusing, it should be noted a positive pregnancy test does not necessarily indicate that the abortion method has failed. This article will discuss a few reasons why women may experience a positive pregnancy test after an abortion.

How long you will test positive after an abortion

During pregnancy, the placenta produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). The hCG hormone triggers the body to make estrogen and progesterone, which all work together to help maintain the pregnancy. For women with 28-day cycles, hCG can be detected around the first missed period, 12 to 15 days after ovulation. After an abortion, hCG levels drop by 50% in 1.3 days and, in most cases, the hormone is undetectable by clinical testing at 2 weeks.

Possible reasons for a positive pregnancy test after an abortion

It can be worrying to receive a positive pregnancy test result after terminating a pregnancy. Here are a few reasons why it can occur.

1. Residual hormones

The pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) typically decreases by 50% within 24 hours after an abortion. However, residual levels may remain present in the body, causing a false positive on pregnancy tests if taken shortly after an abortion.

Because hCG can remain in the body for 4 to 6 weeks, a positive pregnancy test may occur for weeks after an abortion.

2. Ongoing pregnancy

A positive pregnancy test may also indicate that the abortion method was unsuccessful and the pregnancy has continued. A failed abortion that results in an ongoing pregnancy is an infrequent complication that may occur with either surgical or medical abortions. Ongoing pregnancy after a medical abortion has been reported in only 2 to 3% of cases.

3.Incomplete abortion

An incomplete abortion may also be the source of a positive pregnancy test. In this case, some tissue from the pregnancy remains in the body. However, this is also rare, with a frequency of only 2 to 5%.

What causes or contributes to unsuccessful abortions?

The risks of experiencing a failed or incomplete abortion increase for various reasons. With surgical abortion, women with very early pregnancies and those with uterus anomalies are at a higher risk. With medical abortion, incorrect usage and lack of medical supervision increase the risk of an unsuccessful abortion.

However, abortion procedures have high success rates when administered by qualified medical professionals, medical and surgical abortions are more than 95% and 98% effective, respectively. Proper supervision and appropriate follow-up are important for safely ending a pregnancy, and evaluating for and addressing any complications that may arise.

A positive pregnancy test after an abortion may result from the presence of pregnancy hormones or from a failed or incomplete abortion. If you have concerns about a positive test result after an abortion, contact your doctor or abortion provider. They will help assess the situation and (if needed) determine the best course of action for you. Proper follow-up care and monitoring will help ensure a safe and successful abortion.


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Ashley Smith
prefix 7 months ago
Thanks for this blog. It is said in simple terms and you have explained everything easily that anyone can make sense out of reading it.