OVERVIEW — Abortion, also known as pregnancy termination, is a procedure that is performed to end a pregnancy. In India, abortion is a safe and legal option for women who choose not to continue with a pregnancy.
Deciding to have an abortion is a very personal decision. Any woman considering abortion should understand the risks and benefits of the various types of abortion, as well as the alternatives to abortion, including parenting and adoption.
TYPES OF ABORTION PROCEDURES — There are two basic ways abortions are performed:
Medication or surgical abortion? — The type of abortion procedure you may have depends on a number of factors, including how far along you are in your pregnancy, what type of abortions are available in your area, and your personal preferences. "Early" medication abortion, in which a woman takes medicine by mouth, is most effective if the pregnancy is less than 7 weeks. If the pregnancy is later (beyond 10-12 weeks), you may be given medicines that induce labor to cause an abortion. This type of abortion would be performed in a hospital and is usually called "labor induction." It is not as common as aspiration or early medication abortion.
Reasons that you might prefer an early medication abortion:
It is important to know that in approximately 3-5 percent of cases, the medication may not work and an aspiration procedure is necessary.
Reasons that you might prefer surgical abortion:
Initial evaluation — With both medication and aspiration abortion, you will need the following before the procedure:
EARLY MEDICATION ABORTION — Early medication abortion usually involves taking two different medications to end an early pregnancy.
Expected side effects — Abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding are expected side effects with early medication abortion. Some women also have fever, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Pain and cramps — Most women will have abdominal cramps after taking the second medication . These cramps may be mild or strong. The pain usually improves after the pregnancy has passed out of your uterus, which for most women occurs within 2 to 24 hours after taking the misoprostol.
Vaginal bleeding — It is normal to experience vaginal bleeding with an early medication abortion. The bleeding may be heavy, especially in the first few hours and decreases after you pass the pregnancy tissue out of your uterus, and then continues for several days. It should be lighter than a menstrual period after the first few days.
Fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea — Some women experience a mild fever, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. This usually goes away quickly on its own without treatment.
How effective is early medication abortion? — Early medication abortion is very effective in ending pregnancies up to 7 weeks
If early medication abortion does not work in ending your pregnancy, you will need to have an aspiration abortion to remove it. Continuing a pregnancy after taking medications for an abortion is not safe due to the risk of birth defects from the misoprostol.
ASPIRATION OR "SURGICAL" ABORTION — Aspiration abortion is a procedure that is done in hospital to end a pregnancy. The procedure is done by removing the pregnancy tissue from the uterus through the opening, called the cervix.
In most cases, you will have an IV line placed in a vein, and medication will be given to make you relax or feel sleepy. Many people do not remember much about the procedure after the sedative medication is given.
The abortion procedure usually takes between 5 and 20 minutes, and is usually shortest when the pregnancy is early. You will be monitored in a recovery area for about an hour after the procedure (longer if you are given a sedative).
Expected side effects — Vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, and cramping are expected side effects after an aspiration abortion.
Abdominal pain and cramping — Most women have some abdominal pain and cramping after an aspiration abortion. The pain usually lasts several hours. I
Vaginal bleeding — It is normal to have some vaginal bleeding after an aspiration abortion.The bleeding usually lasts a few days to two weeks. You may also pass some tissue or blood clots.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP AFTER ABORTION
Call your doctor immediately if:
In addition, you should be aware of signs that your abortion was not complete. Call your doctor if:
FOLLOW-UP CARE —
You should avoid sex or putting anything in your vagina (tampons, douches) for at least a few days to a week after an abortion. This may help prevent infection and give you time to recover.
About one week after a medication abortion, you should have a follow-up visit with your doctor.
At this visit, you can review how you are feeling and discuss contraception ("birth control").
ABORTION COMPLICATIONS — Legal abortions are safe and usually cause no serious complications. However, complications do sometimes occur, as with any medical or surgical procedure. Complications can include excessive bleeding, infection, injury to the cervix or uterus (aspiration procedures only) and the potential need to remove pregnancy tissue by aspirating the uterus. These complications occur in a very small number of cases
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT ABORTION