Do previous abortions cause problems conceiving?
An abortion is simply a procedure where the cervix is dilated or stretched open and the contents of the uterine cavity are removed either by suction with a catheter or scraping with a curette. This is known as dilation and curettage or D&C (not DNC, as some people say). In addition to abortions, the same D&C procedure is used to remove the uterine contents after an incomplete miscarriage or at times when women are having heavy menstrual bleeding.
An uncommon complication of a D&C is scar tissue formation inside the uterine cavity. If this occurs, difficulty in conceiving may result. Uterine scarring can be detected with a variety of procedures:
- A hysterosalpingogram in which dye is injected into the uterus followed by X-ray imaging
- A hysterosonogram in which salt water is injected into the uterus followed by ultrasound
- Hysteroscopy in which a fiber optic telescope is inserted into the uterus