When is an abortion advisable?
If a pregnancy has been planned, and in some cases difficult to achieve, the decision to abort the baby is a devastating one for everybody involved (including parents and in-laws). There are many cases, however, where aborting is the best alternative that the parents can choose.
The following list provides some of the possible reasons for having an abortion:
- Abnormalities in the baby
- Mother gets German Measles
- Medical risk to the mother, like severe heart disease, which can get exaggerated if the pregnancy continues
- History of abnormalities in baby which are likely to be repeated
- Mother has taken medicines in the first trimester which are contra-indicated during pregnancy
- Failure of contraceptive devices like copperT (loop) with pregnancy
- For unmarried girls, when continuation of pregnancy could be responsible for severe psychological and emotional stress
What are the emotional effects of abortion?
The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a very difficult one to make. Sometimes a woman may have no choice because there may be extenuating circumstances that force her to take this decision. Whatever the reason, the decision is usually arrived at after a lot of soul searching, and can cause significant grief. It is normal for a woman to experience feelings of depression and loss after an abortion. If an abortion is performed when the woman is very young, she may only realize the significance of what she has done at a later stage. It is important that the woman not isolate herself: she should talk to a counsellor, a close family member or friend before undergoing an abortion, and certainly after it. Full support of family and close friends will help in relieving some of the mental anguish.
What are the possible complications of an abortion?
In general, abortion is one of the safest procedures in medicine. Sometimes complications may, however, occur in the first twenty four hours.
If the uterus is not fully emptied, it may cause bleeding. A dilatation and curettage (D & C) procedure may be required in less than 1% of all suction abortions and 10% of second-trimester procedures.
A clamp is used to steady the uterus during an abortion. In some cases this clamp may tear the cervix, but a single suture can easily repair the damage.
Uterine perforation occurs in 2-3 cases for every thousand abortions. It is caused by the passage of the instruments through the uterine wall. In this case, the patient will just have to be observed overnight to ensure that there are no further complications. Sometimes complications occur from two days to two weeks after the abortion. The woman may develop pelvic pain, fever, foul smelling vaginal discharge, heavy bleeding, or chills. These symptoms can be treated with oral antibiotics. If the symptoms do not improve within a day or two, the doctor will perform a D & C.
What are the long-term effects of an abortion?
Women who have had an abortion worry that it may affect their ability to conceive or bear a child in the future. They will be relieved to learn that now it is generally believed that a single abortion performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy does not pose a threat to future childbearing potential. However, a recent World Health Organization study has shown that women who underwent two or more abortions had a two-to-three times greater chance of miscarriage, premature delivery, or low birth weight infants.