In this article, we will look at:
- What is abortion?
- What is the legal abortion time limit in India?
- Is having an abortion safe?
- What happens during an abortion?
- Will abortion be painful physically?
- How long will the bleeding continue after an abortion?
- What are the side-effects of the of oral medication for abortion?
- What are the possible complications of oral medication for abortion?
- What are the side-effects of surgical abortion?
- What are the complications of surgical abortion?
- Are there before and after guidelines for a surgical abortion?
- When will my periods return to normal after an abortion?
- Does having an abortion increase my risk of breast cancer?
- Will having an abortion affect my ability to get pregnant in the future?
- Do women who have had an abortion suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder?
- When can I have sex after abortion?
- Are follow-up visits necessary?
- What is the cost of an abortion in India?
- In The Spotlight - Latest news on abortion
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What is abortion?
Abortion or Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy so that it does not result in the birth of a baby.
What is the legal abortion time limit in India?
Abortion or MTP in India is legal only up to twenty weeks of pregnancy.
Is having an abortion safe?
First of all, go to a qualified well-experienced doctor in Gynecology and Obstetrics. Do not compromise on the qualification and experience of the doctor simply to save money.
What happens during an abortion?
There are two methods of abortion:
- Oral Method: If the pregnancy is less than three months old, the doctor will suggest you to go for oral abortion. You will be required to sign a form stating that you want the abortion to be done and that you are responsible for it.
The doctor will give you medicines, all of which you will have to consume in the doctor’s presence. The intake of the medicines can be spread within two or three days.
There will also be vaginal pills, which the doctor will insert into your vagina.
After a few hours of taking all the medicines, you may experience strong cramping which can last for a few hours. This will be followed by heavy bleeding, during which time you are expected to pass the pregnancy tissue and blood clots. Once the pregnancy has passed, your bleeding will lessen and become like a heavy period. The bleeding may continue for a day or two till the uterus contracts back to its normal size.
Surgical Method: There are two kinds of surgical abortion depending on how long you have been pregnant:
- Vacuum aspiration (up to 15 weeks) - In this method, a small suction tube is placed in your cervix and the pregnancy is sucked out.
- Dilation and evacuation (15-24 weeks) - In this method, your cervix is gently widened using forceps and the pregnancy is removed using a suction tube.
Please Note: Abortion in India is legal only up to twenty weeks of pregnancy.
Will abortion be painful physically?
The level of pain during an abortion process varies from woman to woman. Some women report that they feel like it is a normal period while others experience pain and discomfort. Painkillers are generally given to minimize the discomfort.
How long will the bleeding continue after an abortion?
The bleeding will vary from woman to woman. Some women bleed heavily, some moderately, some lightly and some not at all, for one to three weeks after the abortion. Some women do not start to bleed until several days after the abortion. Some others stop bleeding and then start again. Some women pass clots, whilst experiencing strong cramps for several days.
What are the side-effects of the of oral medication for abortion?
The side effects of oral medication for abortion include:
- pain and cramping
- bleeding accompanied by the passage of blood clots and tissue
- hot flashes
- fever may also occur
What are the possible complications of oral medication for abortion?
Some possible complications of the oral medications are:
- the abortion pills don’t work and the pregnancy doesn’t end
- some of the pregnancy tissue is left in your uterus
- blood clots in your uterus
- bleeding too much or too long
- allergic reaction to one of the medicines
What are the side-effects of surgical abortion?
Usual side effects of surgical abortions include:
- bleeding, including blood clots
- nausea and vomiting
- feeling faint
What are the complications of surgical abortion?
Some complications which require immediate medical attention after surgical abortion are:
- passing blood clots that are bigger than a lemon for more than two hours
- bleeding that is so heavy that you need to change your sanitary pad twice in one hour for approximately two hours straight
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- pain or cramping that gets worse instead of better, especially after 48 hours
- pregnancy symptoms that persist after one week
Are there before and after guidelines for a surgical abortion?
You will have to undergo a physical exam, ultrasonography, and some blood tests before undergoing a surgical abortion.
The doctor and staff will educate you on what to expect during the surgical procedure, the self-care instructions, the side-effects you might experience, and possible complications which signal that you need to call your doctor immediately.
When will my periods return to normal after an abortion?
Your period should return to normal four to eight weeks following your abortion.
Does having an abortion increase my risk of breast cancer?
Abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk.
Will having an abortion affect my ability to get pregnant in the future?
Abortions which have not had any complications will pose no risk to a woman’s future reproductive health. If infections crop up, then there are chances of damage to the fallopian tubes, which in turn can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy or fertility problems.
Swift medical intervention in such a case can easily prevent the risk.
Do women who have had an abortion suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder?
The emotional after-effects of an abortion might vary from woman to woman. Some women might feel a sense of loss, depression, and sadness. Other might feel immense relief. Some others may encounter feelings of anger, confusion, shame, and guilt. On the whole, studies show that there is no long-term psychological distress associated with abortion.
When can I have sex after abortion?
You will need to ask your doctor regarding this. Though most of the doctors under ideal circumstances may suggest that you can continue with your sex life after two to three weeks of abortion, since light vaginal bleeding may continue for up to two weeks after the abortion.
But, please keep in mind that though it may be several weeks after your abortion before you menstruate again, you could ovulate in the first week or two after your abortion, meaning, you could get pregnant right away. Therefore, it is advisable to start using contraceptives and condom immediately if you do not wish to become pregnant right away.
Are follow-up visits necessary?
Follow-up visits are extremely necessary to make sure there are no complications. Please visit the doctor according to the appointments scheduled for you.
What is the cost of an abortion in India?
Typically, an abortion that involves medicines costs about Rs. 3000 – Rs. 5000 in India.
Surgical abortion varies depending on the type of surgery, hospital facilities, complications involved, and post-op care. The cost can range anywhere between Rs. 5000 to Rs. 30000 In India.
In The Spotlight
Here are some latest news on abortion from around the world:
- Abortion has been legal in India since 1971 but it is still not a woman’s right
- Together for Yes begins tour of Ireland ahead of abortion vote
- Doctor held for illegal scans, abortions
- The 4 basic facts every woman in India should know about abortion
- Why abortions should be performed by qualified doctors
- Abortion a grey area of struggle for rape survivors in India
Questions answered by trusted doctors
Did you know?
In 2013 it was reported that unsafe abortions killed one woman every two hours in India (i.e., approximately 4,000 deaths a year)
Abortions Among Young Girls
The abortions among under-15 girls in the city have increased by 144% over the last three years.
Medical termination of pregnancies
Despite health risks, middle class women in India are still resorting to unlicensed abortions, though there has also been a steady double-digit increase in the overall number of medical termination of pregnancies in 2015-16.
The cells of the cervix began to develop anomalously, there is a high chance of them transforming into cancerous cells leading to cervical cancer.
This is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus through the vagina. This procedure is performed through an incision made right above the vagina. The incision is small and leaves no visible scar.
Radical hysterectomy is an extensive surgical procedure, in which the uterus, the ligaments (tissue fibers) that hold it in place, cervix, the upper vagina around the cervix, some surrounding tissue, and the pelvic lymph nodes are removed.