A Woman’s Guide To Having A Safe Abortion

Every woman wonders if there is someone who could help or guide them at every step while making decision on safe abortion. This article is meant for women who feel lost while facing trouble with the idea of abortion. 

As women are not fully aware of abortion procedures, they opt for unsafe abortion methods that can be life-threatening. You must know everything before going for an abortion. So, keep reading. 

What is an abortion?

Abortion, also called Medical Termination of Pregnancy or MTP, is a process of terminating an unwanted pregnancy. A woman does not need anyone’s consent for abortion. She can opt for an abortion for different reasons; however, she should know what is best for her and her health. Safe abortion is a right of every woman. 

Who can opt for an abortion?

Having an abortion is always the individual’s choice. A woman may choose abortion for the following reasons:

  1. To end an unwanted pregnancy
  2. Risk of inherited or congenital disease
  3. To complete an early miscarriage
  4. Health complications that could be life-threatening to the mother or the foetus

Is abortion the right thing to do?

Terminating a pregnancy is a personal decision, and millions of women across the globe opt for an abortion every year. Many women deal with an unwanted pregnancy, and around 4 out of 10 women decide to go for an abortion. While the moral decision of ending a life is your decision, legally, abortion is safe in India. 

Aborting a baby who has a genetic disease is better than conceiving a baby who might have life-threatening conditions. It is you who has to decide what is best for you.

What are the different methods of abortion?

There are two methods for abortion, including medical and surgical. 

  1. Medical abortion: This method is done when the pregnancy is nine weeks or shorter. The doctor prescribes the pregnant woman two medicines (mifepristone and misoprostol), which are taken through the oral and vaginal routes. This combination of medications induces abortion.
  2. Surgical abortion: In this method, the doctor surgically removes the developing baby from the uterus/womb. This process is done under local or general anaesthesia. Women opt for this method for personal preference, failed medical abortion, or too far along in the pregnancy.

What to expect before the abortion?

The doctor will examine and evaluate the woman in the following way:

  1. A physical examination to confirm the pregnancy
  2. Urine and blood tests
  3. Ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy duration and confirm that it is not an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb)
  4. The doctor will explain the procedure, side effects, and risks or complications.

What happens during the process of abortion?

A woman may undergo the following methods:

  1. Medical abortion: 
    1. The doctor prescribes a combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol. These medicines may be taken at home or in a doctor’s clinic.
    2. Mifepristone blocks the action of the hormone progesterone, which makes the uterine lining thin and helps in detaching the developing baby from the uterus.
    3. After 24-48 hours, the woman will take misoprostol which causes contraction of the uterus muscles and leads to bleeding, which makes the developing baby expel from the cervix.
  2. Aspiration:
    1. The process is carried out under local anaesthesia.
    2. The doctor opens the womb’s opening (cervix) with metal dilators or laminaria (a porous material that becomes soft in the presence of moisture and opens the cervix).
    3. The doctor then attaches a tubing to a suction machine and puts the tube into the womb. 
    4. The vacuum creates suction, pulls the developing baby out, and detaches the placenta from the uterus wall. 
    5. The foetal parts and placenta are collected in a suction container and discarded.
  3. Dilation and Curettage (D&C):
    1.  The doctor dilates the cervix using metal instruments called dilators.
    2.  They then insert a curette (loop-shaped tube) into the uterus.
    3. The curette aids in removing the developing baby and detaches the placenta from the uterus wall.
    4. They scrape out all the remaining parts of the baby from the womb.

What happens after the abortion?

A woman may expect the following after an abortion:

  1. After any abortion, the woman may have stomach pain/cramps and vaginal bleeding. The bleeding may last for one or two weeks. However, in the case of medical abortion, light vaginal bleeding may last for a month.
  2. In the case of medical abortion at home, a woman would need a pregnancy test or scan to ensure that she is not pregnant anymore. She may also notice short-lived side effects like diarrhoea and feeling sick due to the hormones in the blood circulation.
  3. In the case of surgical abortion, a woman may have side effects due to anaesthesia (local or general).
  4. On the doctor's recommendation, one may take pain-relieving medicines such as paracetamol/ibuprofen to help with discomfort or pain. 
  5. She should use sanitary pads till the bleeding stops. Do not use tampons.
  6. She can return to usual activities after consulting with the doctor, such as showering or bathing, exercising (swimming), lifting weights, and tampons.
  7. If she feels comfortable, she can have sexual intercourse. It is essential to use contraceptives as one is most fertile after the abortion, and there are high chances of becoming pregnant.

Is abortion safe and effective?

Medical and surgical abortion is a highly safe and effective method. 95-97% of women respond successfully to the medicines in the case of medical abortion, and 98% of women have a successful abortion through the surgical method.

Takeaway

Women have all the right to terminate their pregnancy. It is her life, and so it’s her choice to decide. However, you must contact your doctor before going through the abortion process. Also, do not self-medicate; it can lead to complications.

We hope this blog gave you deep insights into the significance of safe abortion. If you have any queries, you can contact our care team; they will answer all your questions. You can also visit Hexahealth to know more.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is abortion permitted in India?

Under the act of MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy), abortion is permitted in India. The MTP Act of 2021 states that a woman may choose to end her pregnancy if it is less than 24 weeks. The MTP Act's primary goal is to prevent women from seeking abortion services from unqualified medical professionals or quacks and endangering their lives.

If I'm single, can I choose to get an abortion?

In India, abortion for single women is permitted; however, abortion based on the gender of the foetus is illegal.

Do I need anyone's permission to end the pregnancy?

Unmarried women at least 18 years old may give their written consent to have an abortion.

What kinds of abortions exist?

There are two kinds of abortions:

  1. Medical Abortion: This type of abortion is performed when the pregnancy is nine weeks or less. Two medications (mifepristone and misoprostol) are administered orally or vaginally to terminate the pregnancy.
  2. Surgical Abortion: The doctor surgically removes the developing child from the uterus or womb in this type of abortion. The anaesthesia used for this procedure can be local or general.

Is the morning-after pill the same as the pill for abortion?

No. In contrast to the Abortion Pill, which can be used up until nine weeks of pregnancy, the Morning After Pill is taken quickly after sexual activity.

What must I do to prepare for an abortion?

The woman will have the following examinations and evaluations by the doctor:

  1. Pregnancy test physical to confirm the pregnancy
  2. Blood and urine tests
  3. Ultrasound to verify the gestational period and rule out an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb)
  4. The side effects, risks and complications of the surgery will all be explained by the doctor

How do I decide which kind of abortion to have?

The type of abortion used depends on the gestational age (how far along an individual is in pregnancy). An ultrasound should be carried out to precisely date a pregnancy and establish which technique a woman qualifies.

What should I do if I wish to terminate my pregnancy but have an STD?

You must discuss your issue with your doctor if you have an STD. Before ending the pregnancy, your doctor would analyse your health. Antibiotics would be administered to you to treat any STD-related infections. Then, depending on the gestational phase, the doctor would either perform a medicinal abortion or a surgical abortion. Therefore, there won't be any STD-related contraindications to abortion.

What if I am being pressured into getting an abortion?

Even your parents or the baby's father cannot force you to get an abortion. You can have an option to file a complaint against them as it's against the law for anyone to force a woman into terminating her pregnancy.

Can menopause result from abortion?

Menopause is the end of the period because the eggs are entirely depleted. Therefore, menopause can not result due to an abortion.

Can ovarian cysts result from abortion?

Ovarian cysts are not a result of abortion per se. Ovarian cysts can be caused by hormonal imbalance, endometriosis, and pelvic infections.

Can I breastfeed after an abortion?

After treatment, minimal amounts of anaesthetic will be found in breast milk. As soon as you feel well and ready to do so, you can resume nursing without risk.

How long will I stay unconscious after having an abortion surgically?

Whether the treatment is carried out in the first or second trimester, you will be in sedation for 5 to 20 minutes.

Can I get an abortion after giving birth by C-section?

Yes. After a caesarean section, safe abortion is still possible. Abortion pills (Mifepristone and Misoprostol) or a surgical procedure, such as dilatation and curettage, are available.

In India, who performs abortions?

According to the MTP Act, only registered gynaecologists or obstetricians are permitted to perform abortions.

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