Question: I have a positive pregnancy test after abortion. Is it normal?

Posted by drjoan on Tue, Oct 10, 2011 @ 1:11 PM

Question #1:

I had surgical abortion in 6 pregnancy week it was 3 weeks ago after that I had no bleeding at all, from last week have just brown discharge. The pregnancy test is still very strong positive.  After ultrasound the doctor told me that there was a small amount of remaining tissue that would come out with my period.  I’m afraid, because I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend since then, and I’m wondering if I could have a new pregnancy.   How do I check?  Is it too early for another scan?

Answer: You should see a doctor.  After six weeks, you should not have a strong pregnancy test after an early surgical abortion.

Question #2:

I had the abortion pill over 6 weeks ago.  I was six weeks pregnant.   My pregnancy test is still positive.  Could I still be pregnant?

Answer:  It is important that you see the doctor.  A pregnancy test staying positive for six weeks if you only had a six week pregnancy is not normal.

More information:

A positive pregnancy test after an abortion is confusing.  It can either be: 1) normal; 2) a continuing pregnancy (abortion was not successful); 3) retained products (incomplete abortion); or 4) a new pregnancy.

Pregnancy tests can stay positive for a few weeks after a surgical abortion or aspiration procedure.  If the pregnancy was less than 9 weeks pregnant, typically, a pregnancy test will become negative (or faint positive) in 2-3 weeks.  In the case of the abortion pill, it can stay positive for over a month.

The most simple test is to check a pregnancy test now.  Save it, and compare it to another test one week from now.  Make sure to get the pregnancy tests that have two lines.  See if the line is the same, lighter, or darker.  If it is lighter it  is likely normal.  If it is darker, you need to see a doctor.  You may either have a new pregnancy, or the abortion was not successful.  If it is the same, it may be normal, or you may have “retained tissue.”  This is not necessarily a problem and usually resolves on its own, unless you are having bad cramping, passing clots, or having an unusual odor.

The other option is to go to the doctor.  They  will check a blood test.  The doctor would check the blood test for “quantitative hCG” and then check it again at least 48 hours later to see if the levels are going up or going down.  If the doctor is concerned, they would also repeat an ultrasound scan.

I hope this is helpful.

Doctor Joan


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