Medically reviewed by Dr. Rabeya Afroz Shomi
What is Abortion?
When a pregnancy is deliberately eliminated at an early stage it is known an abortion. On occasion an abortion may take pace by itself, that is, naturally. In this case, it is called a miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion. Abortion is a type of service offered to women who do not want to go ahead with their pregnancy. In this case, they may end their pregnancy either through medication or surgery.
If you think you are pregnant or have confirmed your pregnancy through a home test, make sure to consult a doctor immediately. If you want to eliminate the pregnancy, it is best to do it during the early stages of pregnancy. Thus, make sure to discuss all your options with a doctor. Early termination of pregnancy also reduces the risks involved.
Terminating a pregnancy is a big decision and one that is very difficult to make. Thus, it should be carefully considered. In the case of any type of confusion, counselling may be opted for. One can either speak to their doctor about the implications of an abortion or discuss it with a close family member or friend. Only after serious thought should an abortion be considered.
What Are the Types of Abortion Procedures?
These are the types of abortion procedure:
- Early non-surgical abortion (medical): Time 2-10 weeks of pregnancy.
- Vacuum aspiration: Time 2-12 weeks of pregnancy.
- Dilation and Evacuation: Time 13-21/22 weeks of pregnancy.
- Induction Abortion: Time 13-21/22 weeks of pregnancy.
- Labor induction: Time 22 to 29 weeks of pregnancy.
- Hysterotomy (similar to C-section): Time 22 to 38 weeks of pregnancy.
How is Abortion done?
Here is the process of abortion and how it is done:
- Early non-surgical abortion:
This abortion is performed in the 2-10 weeks of pregnancy and is based on the medical process. In this process, the drug is prescribed so as to stop the process of pregnancy. With the consumption of this drug, there may be crampings, bleeding or pelvic pain, clotting and often women pass the unborn child within a few hours.
- Vacuum aspiration:
This abortion is performed in 2-12 weeks of pregnancy. In this near or in the cervix local anesthetic is injected thus helping in stretching over of the cervix to insert a tube into it. After this, the unborn child and the placenta is suctioned out through the tube. Though the process gets completed here sometimes after this procedure the walls of the uterus are scraped to make sure that the unborn child and placenta are washed out.
- Dilation and evacuation:
This process is performed in the 13-21/22 weeks of pregnancy. In this, a sponge-like material is placed in the cervix of the woman thus helping to open the cervix slowly. She is given medication in order to cure the pain and prevent infection. The mother and the child is given general anesthesia. After which with the help of suction curettage and forceps the unborn child and placenta are removed from the womb. At time dismembering the child is necessary.
- Induction abortion:
This is performed in 13-21/22 weeks of pregnancy. During this process, you may require to go to the hospital and the mother is given drugs in order to terminate the pregnancy thus beginning the labor which usually starts in 2-4 hours. In this procedure, the placenta cannot be removed completely during the labor and the cervix is kept open for the doctor to perform suction curettage.
- Labor induction:
This is performed in 22-29 weeks of pregnancy. During this process, you may require to go to the hospital and the mother is given drugs in order to terminate the pregnancy thus beginning the labor which usually starts in 2-4 hours. In this procedure, the placenta cannot be removed completely during the labor and the cervix is kept open for the doctor to perform suction curettage. But in this abortion, it is possible that the child is delivered alive and if this happnes then the baby will be taken care of by the doctors.
- Hysterotomy (similar to C-section):
This is performed in the 22-38 weeks of pregnancy and needs clinical setting. Mostly it is done when there are no possibilities left or labor induction or it is failed. In this process the unborn child is removed by cutting the abdomen and uterus and after the removal, the unborn child is killed.
How late can you have an abortion?
The time for the abortion mostly is the first 3 months of pregnancy and it is the safest time. In rare cases, abortion is done in the second trimester that is in the 4-6 months of pregnancy. In the third trimester abortion is rarely done as it not safe and is only done at the time of emergency or life-threatening reasons. Therefore one must opt for earlier options as it is safe and cheaper.
How to get a safe abortion?
To get a safe abortion the first trimester that is the first 3 months are the safest time because at this time drugs can be used for getting an abortion done and these drugs generally do not have side effects. Vacuum aspiration procedures can also be used which are also safe. After the first trimester, it is tough to get a safe abortion and one should not go if it unless there is an emergency.
Are there any side effects?
While both the medical and surgical abortion procedures are quite safe, every procedure and treatment do involve some risks. Abortion risks include-
- Development of infection in the womb.
- Excessive bleeding may result after termination
- The cervix may be damaged
- The womb may be damaged
Abortion is safest if it is done at the earliest. In the case of any complications, a doctor should be consulted immediately and relevant treatment should be opted for. Opting for an abortion does not reduce the chance of a future pregnancy.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
Post the abortion complete recovery is important. The guidelines are -
- Have sex only 2 weeks after post the procedure to avoid the onset of an infection.
- Take a pregnancy test to confirm if the procedure has been a success. The test should be taken about 4 weeks post the procedure.
- Contraception should be used immediately after the procedure.
- Wait a day post the treatment and then take a bath, primarily because you may still be a bit dizzy and weak from the medicine that was given to you for the procedure.
- Tampons should be used only 4 weeks post the procedure.
How long does it take to recover?
The abortion procedure takes about two days to complete and the recovery period may take about 2 weeks depending on complications.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
Yes, the results of the treatment are permanent
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
An alternative way of abortion includes the use of herbs to trigger a miscarriage. This is known as herbal abortion. Although not entirely an alternative to abortion, having the baby and giving it up for adoption may also be considered.