A medical method of terminating a pregnancy is abortion. About half of all reported unplanned pregnancies worldwide result in abortions.
The pregnancy is terminated either medically or surgically.
When An Abortion Can Be Carried Out
Nigerian law makes abortion illegal and is punishable by a lengthy prison term of up to 14 years unless the pregnant woman’s life is in danger. Nevertheless, many illegal abortions are being performed often, sometimes with grave implications for the lives and health of the women involved.
The majority of abortions happen before 24 weeks of pregnancy.
In extremely rare instances, such as when the mother’s life is in danger, they may be performed beyond 24 weeks.
The majority of abortion clinics will request an ultrasound in order to determine how many weeks along you are. The earliest day of your last menstruation is used to determine how long you have been pregnant.
The sooner abortions are performed, the safer they are. If you seek counsel early on, you’ll have more time to decide if you’re uncertain.
How to get An Abortion
Only a licensed physician and under the supervision of a hospital or clinic should perform abortions.
By getting in touch with a nearby qualifying hospital, you may self-refer.
Most of the time, it is the physicians who determine that the pregnancy is hazardous to the mother and that termination is the most sensible course of action.
Deciding To Get The Abortion Done
Regardless of what the doctor may advise, the choice to undergo an abortion is yours alone. The majority of doctors will recommend an abortion only if it is essential and aimed at preserving the mother’s life.
While some women may know for sure that they desire an abortion, others may find it more difficult to decide.
Any woman who wants an abortion may talk to a certified pregnancy counselor about her choices and get help from them if she so chooses.
You are not required to talk to your partner, friends, or family, but you may wish to. They have no influence on your choice.
Your information will be kept private if you don’t wish to share it with anybody.
You will make an appointment to discuss your choice and what will happen next before undergoing an abortion.
You should, wherever feasible, have a choice as to how the abortion will be performed.
There are two choices:
You may induce it medically by taking two medications, often 24 to 48 hours apart.
Surgical abortion – you have a procedure to end the pregnancy, and you often leave the hospital shortly after.
You’ll probably need to rest up for a few days after having an abortion. For up to two weeks, you’ll probably have some pain and vaginal bleeding.
Complications of abortion
It is safe to get an abortion when handled by a qualified doctor. When performed as early in the pregnancy as possible, abortions are the safest and occur with the least amount of pain and blood.
The majority of women won’t have any issues, although there is a little possibility of complications, like:
- Disease in the womb (uterus)
- There is still some pregnancy in the womb.
- A lot of blood
- Injury to the womb’s entrance or womb itself (cervix)
If complications do arise, you could need more medical care, perhaps even surgery.
Your chances of becoming pregnant again and having healthy pregnancies in the future are unaffected by having an abortion.
It’s possible to get pregnant right away after having an abortion. If you don’t want to get pregnant, you should use contraception.
How to Prepare
Only certified physicians and hospitals or clinics with a license may perform abortions.
The hospital or clinic will typically be able to provide you with the second dosage of medication to take at home if you are less than 10 weeks pregnant and undergoing a medical abortion.
The majority of abortion patients do not often need to spend the night at the clinic or hospital, although you may need to schedule many sessions.
Evaluations Necessary Before an Abortion
You will need an evaluation visit prior to getting an abortion. You could be given the option of a phone or video examination, although this often takes place at the hospital or clinic.
During this evaluation, you might:
- Talk about the reasons you’re thinking about getting an abortion and if you’re certain of your choice.
- You will be given the opportunity to speak with a skilled counselor if you believe it would be beneficial.
- Speak with a nurse or a doctor about the various abortion techniques, including any dangers or issues that could arise.
- You will be provided with an ultrasound to determine how many weeks along you are.
- Sexually transmitted infection tests are carried out.
- Depending on any medical concerns you may have or the stage of your pregnancy, you may need to complete additional tests, such as a blood test.
Once you’ve made up your mind to have an abortion, the clinic or hospital will ask you to sign a permission form and set up a time for the procedure.
Up to the beginning of the abortion, you have the option to alter your mind.
Available Methods of Abortion
This occurs in two primary forms:
- Taking medication to stop the pregnancy is known as a medical abortion (“abortion pill”).
- An abortion is performed surgically to end the pregnancy.
Abortions performed medically and surgically are often only permitted up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Abortion is only permitted beyond 24 weeks in a very small number of situations, such as when the baby’s development is compromised or there is a danger to the mother’s life.
Whenever feasible, you should be given the option of choosing the technique that you prefer.
A Medical Approach
Two separate medications must be taken in order to stop the pregnancy medically.
The hospital or clinic will prescribe the medications, which are typically taken one or two days apart.
The vagina is where the pregnancy passes through (erupts). Several hours after taking the second drug, this often occurs.
It does not need anesthesia or surgery.
The steps involved are as follows:
The major pregnancy hormone is blocked by the medication mifepristone, which is initially taken as a pill. After taking this medication in the hospital or clinic, you may return home and go on with your regular activities.
A second medication called misoprostol is often taken one to two days later. You may take the pills under your tongue, between your cheek and gum, or into your vagina.
If you are less than 10 weeks pregnant, you may often take the medication at home; if you are more than 10 weeks pregnant, you must take these pills in the clinic or hospital.
The uterine lining degrades within 4 to 6 hours of taking the second medication, resulting in discomfort, bleeding, and pregnancy loss.
Misoprostol dosages may sometimes need to be increased in order to end the pregnancy.
On rare occasions, the pregnancy does not end and must be removed surgically.
An operation is required for a surgical abortion in order to remove the pregnancy from the womb. It could involve:
A regional anesthetic (to numb the cervix)
When you are consciously sedated, you are comfortable yet alert.
General anesthesia or a severe sedative that puts you to sleep.
Most patients under severe sedation won’t remember anything and won’t be conscious throughout the procedure. If you have general anesthesia, you won’t remember anything since you’ll be completely sleeping during the procedure.
Your circumstances, the number of weeks you are pregnant, and your personal preferences will all influence the kind of anesthesia or sedation you get.
You’ll be asked to take drugs to open the cervix prior to a surgical abortion. Depending on the medication used, this may occur just before the procedure or 1 to 2 days before.
There are two surgical abortion methods:
Suction or vacuum aspiration
This is safe to use up to week fourteen of pregnancy.
The pregnancy is expelled using suction using a tube that is placed into the womb through the cervix (the entryway to the womb from the vagina).
Depending on how many weeks along you are, the doctor may need to utilize specific tools to assist in removing the pregnancy.
Most women return to their homes a few hours after vacuum aspiration, which takes between 5 and 10 minutes.
Evacuation and dilation (D&E)
After 14 weeks of pregnancy, this is utilized. To remove the pregnancy, specialized tools called forceps are inserted through the cervix and into the womb.
D&E procedures are often performed under sedation or general anesthesia. You may often leave on the same day and it generally takes 10 to 20 minutes.
After an Abortion
After a surgical abortion or a medicinal abortion in a hospital, you often do not need to have any more tests or checkups.
You may require a specialized pregnancy test or scan if you undergo a medical abortion at home to confirm that the pregnancy has terminated.
You can have temporary adverse effects from the medications during a medical abortion, such as diarrhea and nausea.
The sedative and general anesthesia medications might potentially have negative effects if you have a surgical abortion.
You may have some stomach cramps (pain) and vaginal bleeding with any form of abortion. Bleeding often lasts one to two weeks. Sometimes, following a medical abortion, there may be mild vaginal bleeding for up to a month.
If you had an abortion, you could:
Use pain relievers like ibuprofen or paracetamol to alleviate any discomfort or agony.
Instead of using tampons until the bleeding has ceased, use sanitary towels or pads.
Have intercourse as soon as you’re ready, but if you don’t want to become pregnant again, take contraception because you’ll typically be fertile right after an abortion.
Normal activities including taking a bath or shower, using tampons, exercising (including swimming), and heavy lifting may normally be resumed as soon as you feel safe doing so.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Seek guidance if you:
Have bleeding or discomfort that doesn’t stop after a few days
After nearly a week, I still feel pregnant
Having a fever, feeling like you have the flu, or experiencing odd vaginal discharge might be indicators of infection.
After an abortion, you could go through a variety of emotions. This is typical.
Contact the abortion service or your doctor if you need to talk about how you’re feeling.
If you need therapy, they will be able to provide it or suggest a counselor.
More Of Risks Associated With Abortion
In general, abortions are very safe, and most women won’t have any problems.
But like any medical treatment, there is a small chance that something could go wrong. The later in the pregnancy an abortion is done, the more likely it is that something will go wrong.
Whether you have a medical abortion or a surgical abortion and how many weeks pregnant you are affecting the risks.
Before 14 weeks, the biggest risks of having a medical abortion are:
About 70 out of every 1,000 women need another surgery to remove parts of the pregnancy that have stayed in the womb.
About 1 in 1,000 women have serious problems like heavy bleeding, damage to the womb, or sepsis.
The main risks of a medical abortion after 14 weeks of pregnancy are:
About 13 out of 100 women need another surgery to remove parts of the pregnancy that have stayed in the womb.
A small number of women get an infection or hurt their uterus.
Before 14 weeks, the main risks of having an abortion by surgery are:
About 35 out of every 1,000 women need another surgery to remove parts of the pregnancy that have stayed in the womb.
About 1 in 1,000 women have serious problems like heavy bleeding, damage to the womb, or sepsis.
When abortion is done after 14 weeks, the main risks are:
About 3 out of 100 women need another surgery to remove parts of the pregnancy that have stayed in the womb.
About 1 to 10 out of every 100 women have very heavy bleeding.
Infection: a small number of women get this.
A small number of women get hurt in the womb or at the entrance to the womb (cervix).
If you need help after an abortion, the clinic will give you the number of a helpline that is open 24 hours a day.
Effect on fertility, health, and Getting pregnant in the future
Having an abortion does not make you more likely to get breast cancer or have problems with your mind.
Having an abortion won’t change your chances of getting pregnant again and having healthy babies.
Any woman can get pregnant right away, so if you don’t want to get pregnant, you should start using birth control right away. When you get an abortion, the doctor or nurse at the hospital or clinic should talk to you about birth control.
If you don’t treat a womb infection quickly, there is a very small chance that it will affect your ability to get pregnant in the future. It could spread to your ovaries and fallopian tubes. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
PID can make it harder to get pregnant or cause a pregnancy to start outside of the womb, which is called an ectopic pregnancy.
Most infections, however, are treated before they get to this point.
If you want to know more about the risks of an abortion, you can talk to your doctor or an abortion advice service.