This systematic review aims to estimate the magnitude and severity of complications associated with abortion in areas where access to abortion is limited, with a particular focus on potentially life-threatening complications. In spite of the challenges on how near miss morbidity has been defined and measured in the included studies, our results suggest that a substantial percentage of abortion-related hospital admissions have potentially life-threatening complications. Estimates that are more reliable will only be obtained with increased use of standard definitions such as the WHO near-miss criteria and/or better reporting of clinical criteria applied in studies.


  1. Ganatra B , Gerdts C , Rossier C , et al . Global, regional, and subregional classification of abortions by safety, 2010–14: estimates from a Bayesian hierarchical model. The Lancet 2017;390:2372–81

  2. Harper CC , Blanchard K , Grossman D , et al . Reducing maternal mortality due to elective abortion: potential impact of misoprostol in low-resource settings. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 2007;98:66–9

  3. Winikoff B , Sheldon W . Use of medicines changing the face of abortion. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health 2012;38:164–6


Maternal Health  



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