Abortion is a medical practice that involves terminating a pregnancy by removing the placenta and foetus from the uterus. Healthcare providers use varying treatments for termination of pregnancy, including medications and surgical treatments. An expert women’s healthcare provider will determine the method to be used based on several conditions, such as your stage of pregnancy.
The reasons for getting an abortion can vary considerably and include factors like financial instability, unplanned pregnancy when the mother’s health is at risk, or the foetus has serious defects. What is right for one woman may not always be the best decision for another because every individual and circumstance is unique.
If you are considering abortion it’s important to consult the doctor and be aware of the procedures, risks, complications, and care after abortion.
A] Methods For Pregnancy Termination
1. Medical Abortion
Medical abortion is the preferred way for early pregnancy abortion. This is a non-invasive abortion method where an abortion is brought on with the help of medications. It stops the pregnancy growth and discharges the foetus from the vagina mimicking a natural miscarriage.
Under the guidance of a professional healthcare expert, medical abortion tends to have a success rate of 95%.
The Medical Abortion Procedure Steps:
- The doctor will examine you to determine if it’s the right and safe option for you.
- If it is determined to be a safe choice, you will be prescribed pills for the abortion, the first of which must be taken orally in the doctor’s clinic and the others as prescribed at home.
- The first pill blocks the effects of progesterone hormone, which plays a crucial role in maintaining the lining of the uterus during pregnancy, and blocking its effects can cause the lining to break down and be shed, leading to termination of the pregnancy.
- Consult the qualified medical professional for the follow-up period to ensure the pregnancy has been terminated.
Risks With Medical Abortion:
Make sure to take all the prescribed medications as guided by the healthcare professional as skipping a dose can lead to serious health risks:
The other risks of medical abortion may include:
- Heavy Bleeding.
- Allergic reaction.
- Unsuccessful Abortion.
- A toll on emotional health.
- High fever and Abnormal discharge.
2. Surgical Abortion
Surgical abortion, also known as suction aspiration abortion is the procedure to terminate an undesired pregnancy surgically by removing the foetus and placenta from the uterus.
There are 2 types of surgical abortion:
- Suction Abortion (Vacuum Abortion): This is the most preferred type of abortion when the mother is typically used in the first trimester of pregnancy (up to 12 weeks). During the procedure, a small tube is inserted into the uterus and connected to a suction device that gently removes the contents of the uterus, including the developing embryo or foetus.
- Dilation and Evacuation Abortion (D&E): This surgical abortion method is used during the first trimester of pregnancy (around 13-14 weeks) and up to 24 weeks or later. During the procedure, the cervix is dilated (opened) and surgical instruments, such as forceps and a suction device, are used to remove the foetus and other uterine contents.
Surgical Abortion Procedure Steps:
- The pregnant woman is given medication to help relax and numb the cervix. Sometimes, antibiotics are also given to reduce the risk of infection.
- Next, the healthcare professional will use medical instruments such as dilators to gently widen or dilate the cervix to create an opening in the uterus.
- Then, a suction device, such as a vacuum aspirator, will be used to gently remove the pregnancy tissue from the uterus.
- After the pregnancy tissue is removed, the uterus is gently cleaned and examined to ensure that all pregnancy tissue has been removed.
Risks With Surgical Abortion:
Surgical abortions are safe but like any other medical procedure, it carries some risks which may include:
- Heavy Bleeding.
- Allergic reaction.
- Reaction to anaesthesia.
- A toll on emotional health.
- Injury to the uterus or other organs.
- Pregnancy tissue left in your uterus.
3. Which Method Should You Choose?
Choosing the right abortion method largely depends on the stage of pregnancy, personal preferences, medical history, and individual circumstances. Both methods are safe and effective when performed by a qualified healthcare provider. It’s important to discuss all options with a healthcare provider to make an informed decision.
B] Why Is Abortion The Right Choice For Many Women?
Having an abortion can be the right choice for women for various reasons. They may make the decision based on their best interest for their mental health, financial stability, or personal circumstances.
- When women feel they are unprepared to raise a child they may choose to have an abortion.
- Women who are already caring for children and cannot handle more can choose to have an abortion.
- Women who receive the news that their pregnancy is not viable can also choose to have an abortion.
Ultimately, abortion is a deeply personal decision that should be made by the woman and her healthcare provider. It should be free of judgement or interference from outside parties.
C] Abortion Preparation Tips For A Safe & Healthy Abortion
1. Book An Appointment With A Healthcare Provider
It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before deciding to have an abortion.
A healthcare provider can help you confirm the pregnancy, let you know how far along you are in your pregnancy and provide you with the best solution depending on the circumstances.
You should think of all the questions you need to ask before your first gynaecological visit. Listed below are three questions that you might want to ask your doctor.
- Which abortion method is suitable for you?
- What are the risks or complications of the opted procedure?
- Will abortion affect your ability to get pregnant in future?
2. Physical Examination And Testing Requirements
A healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to determine that the procedure is safe. A pelvic exam is usually performed to assess the size, shape, whether the cervix is dilated and the position of the uterus.
An ultrasound can also be carried out to check foetal growth and examine for any potential complications. Blood tests may also be necessary to evaluate your general health and the hormone levels linked to pregnancy. To ensure a safe and effective abortion process, these physical examination and testing standards are vital.
3. Consider Cost and Insurance
While deciding on the termination of pregnancy, don’t forget to consider the cost. As cost is one important factor to consider. You should also check if it is covered by your insurance.
The cost of termination of pregnancy may vary depending on multiple factors such as the stage of pregnancy, the method used, complications, and the location of the hospital. Some insurance policies cover the cost of abortion but it can vary depending on the insurance plan. Check with your insurance provider whether the cost is covered before you book an appointment. If it is not covered in your insurance you may have to self-pay.
4. Get Emotional and Psychological Support
Check if your healthcare clinic has counsellors, as they provide a safe environment to talk about the concerns, and process the thoughts you are experiencing. There are even support groups where individuals come together to share their experiences and it can help you to gain a sense of comfort and overcome self-doubts.
5. Abortion Aftercare Is Also Necessary
It is essential to take good care of yourself after you have undergone an abortion. Following the procedure, you may experience physical symptoms such as weakness or dizziness, which can be difficult to manage on your own. Having someone present to support you and provide physical care, such as a back rub or assistance with daily tasks, and strictly following abortion aftercare instructions can make a significant difference in your recovery.
It’s also important to take rest for a day or two and prepare beforehand for the recovery period by stocking up on essentials like a heating pad, comfort foods, books or other forms of entertainment to help you relax and find comfort. By prioritising aftercare, you can ensure a smoother and more comfortable recovery after an abortion.
6. Know What to Expect
Following surgery, you can experience abdominal pain, and heavy bleeding especially during the first few hours if you are opting for medical abortion. Once the pregnancy tissue has passed out from the uterus, the bleeding decreases.
You may even see blood clots, experience vomiting, nausea, cramps and mild fever. But if you experience severe pain and it’s not getting decreased after the prescribed painkillers or if the fever gets higher than 38 degrees call your healthcare provider and address the issue.
7. Talk To A Counsellor Before And After The Procedure
The whole phase of abortion is a challenging and complex one. It not only impacts you physically but drains you emotionally. Hence, pre-abortion counselling is important before you decide as it will help you to explore mixed feelings, overcome concerns and doubts. Some people find it difficult to cope with negative feelings after an abortion, and post-abortion counselling provides a safe space to discuss the issues and provide resources about self-care.
Individuals must have access to accurate information and resources about abortion to make informed decisions and prepare for the abortion procedure. In this guide we have covered everything you need to know about safe abortion. If you have more questions, you can also refer to our abortion FAQs. Additionally, if you are afraid of abortion and still not sure what it entails, you can read our guide to abortion myths that can help you separate the abortion myths from the reality, helping you make an informed and safe decision.
The journey of abortion varies from person to person. Many may feel a sense of relief while others can get in an intense zone of guilt or loss. Understand it’s okay to feel both ways. There are counsellors and support groups available which can help you to navigate through your emotions and provide a sense of comfort. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends, or family members for support.