Abortion is a delicate topic, not only in India but all over the world as well. It can affect your physical health, mental health and your wellbeing as well. So, there is no way you can make this decision without utmost consideration. The decision is in your hands. After all, your body, your choice. Only you have the right to do what you want to do with your body and with your pregnancy. However, whatever choice you make, just ensure you know everything there is to know.
Today, we will be discussing some of the effects abortion (induced abortion) may have on your body. Read them carefully to make a sagacious decision.
Types of abortion
There are two types of abortion procedures you must know about:
Medication abortion involves the use of pharmaceuticals, typically a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol, to terminate a pregnancy in its early stages. This non-surgical method is effective within the first ten weeks of gestation, allowing women to administer the medication under medical supervision or at home. It induces a miscarriage-like process by blocking hormones necessary for pregnancy, leading to the expulsion of the embryo.
Procedural abortion encompasses various surgical methods to terminate a pregnancy. Common procedures include suction or aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C), and dilation and evacuation (D&E). Suction or aspiration involves the gentle suction of the pregnancy from the uterus, typically performed in the first six weeks. D&C employs scraping the uterine lining, while D&E is utilized in later stages, involving dilation of the cervix and removal of the pregnancy with suction and medical instruments. The choice between medication and procedural abortion often depends on the gestational age and individual preferences, with both methods requiring careful consideration and medical guidance.
What to expect immediately after abortion?
Here are some things you may experience in the coming days after getting your abortion done:
The bleeding may resemble a period but would be lighter than periods in the coming days. It may be heavy in the first few days.
The pain may be mild or strong depending on a lot of factors, including your body and how far along you were in your pregnancy. You may take painkillers upon consultation with your doctor.
Nausea/Vomiting, dizziness and fever:
These side effects generally fade quickly without treatment. However, if you have a fever higher than 100.4°F (38°C), consult your healthcare provider. You may want to do the same if you are experiencing chills, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
Can abortion affect future pregnancies?
Abortion may pose certain risks. These risks depend on the type of abortion chosen.
Medication is prescribed early in pregnancy to abort the fetus. An elective medical abortion may not increase the risk of future pregnancy complications, as long as it’s conducted under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
The procedure aims to remove the fetus from the uterus. It is typically performed using suction or a medical instrument called a curet. While many studies have shown that surgical abortion has a limited effect on future pregnancies, a review of these studies suggested an association between prior surgical abortion and a slightly increased risk of premature birth or low birth weight. Women who have had multiple surgical abortions using a curet are at a greater risk of scarring of the inner lining of the uterus, which may cause difficulty in getting pregnant again.
Is abortion safe in general?
Abortions are generally safe when they are carried out with specialist healthcare providers and using a method that is appropriate to the pregnancy duration, and the patient’s medical history and profile.
What are some long-term risks of abortion?
Pre-term birth risk:
Women with multiple abortions face a higher risk of pre-term birth (<28 weeks) in subsequent pregnancies, especially if conceived within six months post-abortion.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID):
Untreated post-abortion infections can evolve into PID, elevating the risk of infertility and ectopic pregnancies.
Infection and infertility:
Any abortion type carries infection risks, potentially leading to infertility if untreated. Surgical abortion, when performed incorrectly, may scar the uterus, hindering conception.
Uncontrollable bleeding or uterine damage:
Rare but severe side effects (<1 in 1,000) include uncontrollable bleeding requiring transfusion and surgical repair due to uterine damage.
Common post-abortion, especially for coerced or unsure decisions, leads to regret, guilt, shame, and potential substance abuse or suicidal thoughts.
Fear of impaired fertility and relationship impacts may lead to anxiety disorders and dysfunctional behaviour.
Traumatic experiences, particularly when not by choice, may cause nightmares or flashbacks, triggered by anniversaries or related stimuli.
The decision to undergo an abortion is deeply personal and should be made with a thorough understanding of potential health implications. While some risks highlight the importance of post-abortion care, the emotional toll cannot be overlooked. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic flashbacks can have enduring effects on a woman’s mental health. It is crucial for women contemplating abortion to seek comprehensive information and support to help make informed choices and receive compassionate assistance for those navigating the complexities of abortion and its potential impact on both physical and emotional well-being.