Miscarriage vs Abortion - What is the Difference between Them?

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Monika Dubey
Written by Charu Shrivastava, last updated on 9 February 2024
Miscarriage vs Abortion - What is the Difference between Them?

There is often confusion in understanding miscarriage vs abortion. While both involve the termination of a pregnancy, there are some key differences between the two.

The main difference between abortion and miscarriage is that abortions are induced, while miscarriages occur naturally. In other words, an abortion is a planned termination of a pregnancy, while a miscarriage is an unplanned one. Read the blog to learn the difference between miscarriage and abortion.

What is an Abortion?

Abortion is a legal procedure by which a woman can end her pregnancy deliberately. It can be done till the 24th week of gestation. A pregnant woman can abort her pregnancy using medicines or surgery if she doesn’t want to deliver the baby. 

It is better to abort in the early stages of pregnancy to reduce risks. As it involves going through emotional turmoil, the patient must consider carefully and take the advice of specialists before going ahead with the procedure.

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What is Miscarriage?

Miscarriage is the ending of the pregnancy naturally before the 20th week. Miscarriages are also called spontaneous abortions. The majority of miscarriages are unavoidable and happen when the foetus stops developing.

Miscarriages are very common in the first trimester of pregnancy. The most common signs of miscarriage include bleeding of tissues and clots, abdominal cramps and lower back pain.

Difference between Abortion and Miscarriage

Miscarriage and abortion are two very different things. Miscarriage can happen for various reasons like problems related to the uterus or placenta.

Abortion, on the other hand, is a deliberate termination of a pregnancy. It can be done for various reasons, including if the pregnancy is unwanted or if there are health problems for the mother or baby. The difference between abortion and miscarriage are:


Abortion Miscarriage


Planned termination before 24 weeks Loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks


Deliberate termination Not a choice


Abortions are induced Miscarriage is natural

Medical Intervention

Required  Happens spontaneously


Can be prevented Cannot be prevented


Legal No laws required


Not a tragedy Can lead to physical and emotional trauma

Conditions Leading to Miscarriage vs Abortion

There can be various factors for terminating a pregnancy. Miscarriage can happen for many reasons, such as health-related or lifestyle. In rare cases, an accident or assault also causes miscarriage. In comparison, abortion is a decision based on the mother. 

Some of the common causes of miscarriage are:

  1. Hormone problems
  2. Clotting disorders
  3. Infections like bacterial vaginosis, HIV or gonorrhoea
  4. Uterine fibroids
  5. Uterine adhesions are where the inner walls of the uterus stick together
  6. Uterine polyps
  7. Uterine septums
  8. Penetrating injuries in the abdominal region
  9. Partner abuse

On the other hand, a woman may choose abortion for the following reasons:

  1. To end an unwanted pregnancy
  2. Risk of inherited or congenital disease in the developing foetus
  3. To remove the foetal tissues left after miscarriage
  4. Life-threatening complications of the mother or the foetus

Risks and Complications of Abortion vs Miscarriage

Miscarriages are due to natural and unpreventable causes, which need medical intervention to reduce the risks. In contrast, abortion is a safe procedure with fewer risks.

The risk of miscarriage includes:

  1. Fever
  2. Chills
  3. Lower abdominal tenderness
  4. Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  5. Infection in the uterus

The risks of abortion include:

  1. Incomplete abortion (in the case of medical abortion) 
  2. Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  3. Infection
  4. Fever
  5. Damage to the cervix
  6. Perforation of the uterus

Treatment Modalities of Miscarriage vs Abortion

A doctor can perform D&C method to remove all the foetal tissues in the case of miscarriage. It is a safe procedure that uses a surgical instrument to clean the uterine lining.

Your doctor will give you guidelines on what to eat and drink before the surgery. As its name implies, a D&C consists of two steps:

  1. Cervical Dilation is necessary to allow the insertion of a surgical instrument.
  2. Curettage involves removing uterine tissue and cleaning the lining of the uterus to remove any foetal tissues.

The abortion method depends on the gestational age of the pregnancy. There are two types of abortion, Medical Abortion and Surgical Abortion.

  1. Medical Abortion: It is done using medicines. Two medicines, namely, Mifepristone and Misoprostol, are given to terminate the pregnancy. It is done before 9 weeks of the gestational period. 
  2. Surgical Abortion:  The pregnancy is terminated through a surgical procedure. The D&C procedure can be followed by medical abortion. After 9 weeks of pregnancy, a surgical abortion is considered to terminate the pregnancy. 


Both miscarriage and abortion are two ways in which a pregnancy is terminated. An important point to note here is that neither of these events can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant again, provided the treatment is done by qualified specialists. 

Our experts at HexaHealth are always ready to provide you with the necessary assistance and support should you require any advice or treatment for miscarriage or an abortion. Check out our website and get in touch with a HexaHealth expert today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between miscarriage and abortion?

Miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy without the consent of the mother, whereas abortion is a conscious decision to terminate a pregnancy.

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What is abortion?

To end a pregnancy that is developing inside the womb, a woman may have an abortion. There are two types of abortion:
1. Medical Abortion
2. Surgical Abortion
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What is a miscarriage?

The most usual form of pregnancy loss is a miscarriage, which frequently occurs because the foetus isn't growing appropriately.
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How do I know I've had a miscarriage?

Vaginal bleeding, in which cramps and pain may follow in your lower abdomen, is the primary indicator of a miscarriage
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How long does a miscarriage last?

The placenta, pregnancy sac, and other pregnancy tissue will eventually pass on their own. It could take a couple of days or up to three or four weeks for the uterus to get rid of the foetal tissues.
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What is a false miscarriage?

False miscarriage is a  pregnancy where there is some bleeding, but the cervix is still closed, and the baby's heart is still beating, which can be checked through an ultrasound scan.
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Can you have a miscarriage from stress?

Although too much stress is bad for your general health, there is no proof that stress causes miscarriage.
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When can I start using birth control after my abortion?

It's a good idea to consider using birth control as soon as possible because you can become pregnant immediately after having an abortion.
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What is done after a miscarriage?

A surgery called dilation and curettage (D&C) is used to remove tissue from within the uterus. Dilation and curettage are procedures by medical professionals to identify and treat specific uterine disorders, such as severe bleeding, or remove the uterine lining following a miscarriage or abortion.
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How will doctor diagnose a miscarriage?

Doctors diagnose miscarriages using the below methods:
  1. Pelvic examination
  2. Ultrasound scan
  3. Blood test - Human Chorionic Gonadotropin test
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How long do you stay in the hospital after a miscarriage?

Even though it usually just takes ten to fifteen minutes, you could be advised to stay up to five hours in the office, clinic, or hospital.
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What happens if you have a miscarriage and the foetus remains in the uterus?

After a miscarriage, some pregnancy tissue frequently stays in the uterus. D&C procedure is performed to remove the remains of the foetal tissues. If these tissues remain in the uterus, then there are chances for infection and heavy bleeding.
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Will a pregnancy test be negative after a miscarriage?

After a miscarriage, it takes some time for your hormones to reach their pre-pregnancy levels. For several weeks following a miscarriage, the level of the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), a pregnancy hormone, may still be high enough to result in a positive pregnancy test.
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How long does a medication abortion take?

Medical abortion is completed in 48 hours. The pregnancy typically ends within 30 minutes and 4 hours after taking the second medicine, misoprostol.
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I’m breastfeeding. Is it safe for me to have a medication abortion?

It is safe to have a medical abortion while you are breastfeeding. However, if you breastfeed your baby after taking misoprostol, your baby may get diarrhoea within 24 hours.
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Updated on : 9 February 2024


Dr. Monika Dubey

Dr. Monika Dubey

MBBS, MS Obstetrics & Gynaecology

21 Years Experience

A specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology with a rich experience of over 21 years is currently working in HealthFort Clinic. She has expertise in Hymenoplasty, Vaginoplasty, Vaginal Tightening, Labiaplasty, MTP (Medical Termination...View More


Charu Shrivastava

Charu Shrivastava

BSc. Biotechnology I MDU and MSc in Medical Biochemistry (HIMSR, Jamia Hamdard)

2 Years Experience

Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical content. Her proofreading and content writing for medical websites is impressive. She creates informative and engaging content that educ...View More

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