One of the major decisions in the life of a woman is related to termination of a pregnancy. It is this decision that is really a difficult one to think upon, as it involves considering two lives, i.e. one that of a mother and another of a child. Have you ever come across this situation? Or, are you undergoing such a dilemma currently? If yes, let’s work this out together.
Steps to be Taken
First and foremost, try to discuss about your concerns with someone close on whom you can trust. Try to get a confirmation that your decision about the abortion is proper and that you would not regret about it later. So, never be in a hurry for abortion. In support of this step, you might consult your GP and speak to him/her about your decision of not continuing with the pregnancy. To add to the list of counselors for your convenience, there are many counseling services, such as British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Marie Stopes and LIFE.
According to the law in U.K., termination is allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, almost all hospitals and clinics do not permit for termination once the period of 18 to 20 weeks has passed. This law is established from health point of view, as it is believed that the earlier the termination, the safer is the woman. That is why it is necessary for you to consult your doctor regarding the termination.
The law also mentions that the decision of abortion needs to be endorsed by two doctors. The approval takes place only after considering the woman’s mental and physical state along with the social circumstances. If the doctors believe that abortion might affect the woman’s mental and physical state badly, they will never permit for such termination.
Once the decision is taken, the doctor will find out how much time has passed from date you became pregnant by conducting a thorough examination. Next, he/she will make you understand you about the different ways of termination and will inform about the risks. Then, the termination request will be drafted by the doctor to the clinic. This will initiate an appointment to conduct the termination.
Examination to be Done
The doctor can perform the following examinations:
- Pelvic examination that aids in identifying the pregnancy length. In this case, a sample from the vagina can be taken to check for a microbe called Chlamydia. If the result is positive, both the woman and her partner need to undergo a specific treatment.
- Ultrasound scan to be convinced of the pregnancy length.
Methods of Termination to be Implemented
According to the pregnancy length and personal preference, a doctor suggests a specific method of termination to a woman. Listed below are the two methods of termination.
- Abortion Pill
It is suitable for a nine weeks old pregnant woman. Two drugs namely, Mifepristone and Prostaglandin are given separately, one being taken after 48 hours. They allow the womb to contract and drop its lining. This results in loss of the embryo that is moved out through the vagina. However, this experience is painful, while some even feel like vomiting or feel like having diarrhoea.
- Surgical Operation
This is recommended only for pregnancy that is 13 weeks old, not more than that. It is done with the help of local or a general anaesthetic. In this operation, a sterile tube is inserted into the womb through which the suction device is applied that terminates the pregnancy. Once the operation is over, you normally get a leave on the same day. This technique is still applicable for the period between 14 to 19 weeks and 20-24 weeks. For the period between 14-19 weeks, this technique is applied in a slightly different manner wherein the womb’s neck is extended to move out the foetus. Whereas, for the period between 20-24 weeks, it becomes a very complicated technique wherein the foetus’ heart stops functioning and subsequently, a surgical evacuation is performed.
There is one more method known as ‘medical termination’, which has now become a rare process. This method is suitable up to 24 weeks, which is actually considered very late for termination. In this method, the course of the same two drugs used in the abortion pill method is undertaken by the patient. First, mifepristone is taken orally either at the hospital or clinic. Next, after 48 hours, the patient needs to revisit the clinic. Now, prostaglandin is given by either of the two options, orally or through the vaginal passage. Generally, the termination takes place through the vagina within 12 hours after the intake of both the medicines. However, even this method inflicts pain for which further treatments are available.
The chances of complications arising out of abortion are almost rare if it is done within 10 weeks. However, irrespective of the method of termination, there is always a risk of complication to arise. This is because there is no such procedure, which holds a risk-free or complication-free treatment with it. Listed are common complications that might occur.
It is normal to bleed for some days after medical or surgical terminations, which should actually decrease for some weeks. Mostly, you will get your menstruation after five to six weeks. You need to consult your doctor, if you bleed excessively. One of the reasons for this could be that the uterus has not been vacant properly or completely.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
If you feel an unlikely vaginal discharge, a bit temperature, or stomach pains, report your doctor immediately. This is due to the inflammation that occurs due to the entry of bacteria at the time of operation or improper emptiness of the womb. Antibiotics are perfect for the treatment of this kind of inflammation. Even after this, if any tissue still exists in the uterus, the doctor might attempt to remove it.
This will remain mildly in the lower abdomen for the first few days. Doctors suggest painkillers if the pain is intolerable. However, if the pain is not in control even after taking painkillers, doctors might opt for some other suitable treatment.
- Puncture of the Uterus (rare one)
Sometimes, a hole can take place in the uterus due to the application of the suction device during the surgical operation. If such a hole occurs, the operation will not be carried further and the patient will be kept under observation in the clinic.
Chances of Infertility
The possibility of infertility because of termination by a qualified doctor is quite rare. However, if infertility is the effect of termination, its main cause is the inflammation of the Fallopian tubes and ovaries caused by the chlamydia organism. To prevent infertility, the patient is first examined for chlamydia and is treated before termination, if found. Such an examination is conducted in most hospitals and clinics.
Contraception after Abortion
A woman might produce eggs before her next periods to become pregnant. So, if you want to avoid another pregnancy, it is necessary to consult your doctor about contraception. Listed are the 3 ways to implement contraception.
- Taking contraceptive pills on the day of abortion for quick protection
- Inserting a contraceptive coil while undergoing operation
- Receiving a contraceptive injection
- Inserting a contraceptive implant in the arm
Before you choose a wrong method of contraception, it is advisable to discuss about the appropriate method with the doctor.