Things you should know before you get an abortion:

An abortion is a way of ending an unwanted pregnancy, either through using Medicines (drugs) or a surgical procedure.

The Medical termination act of India (1971) allows termination of a pregnancy till 12 weeks under the supervision of one qualified doctor and up to 20 weeks (under certain circumstances only) if two qualified doctors give consent for the procedure.

In general the earlier an abortion is performed during pregnancy, the lesser are the procedure related complications.

The decision to have an abortion is a matter between you and your healthcare team.

All information and treatment is confidential. This means that information about you

Should not be shared with anyone else without your consent.

Please make sure that you have appropriate and accurate information about the different methods of abortion that can be used at your stage of pregnancy and the possible risks associated with them.

The decision to end a pregnancy is in most cases associated with substantial mental stress and guilt. Please be absolutely sure about your feelings before you start the whole process. Usually once drugs are initiated to abort the pregnancy, we do not recommend continuation as the fetus can be born with serious handicap. If you are not sure about whether to get the pregnancy terminated then it is better to wait till you are absolutely sure about the course of this pregnancy.

Before the abortion we usually need to find out about relevant aspects of your health and medical history. You should therefore be offered:

- Blood Tests- Haemoglobin and Blood Group.

-  An ultrasound scan to check if the pregnancy is in the right place and its size.

You may also be offered:

- A cervical smear test (PAP smear) if it is due (ask your doctor about it)

- Tests for genital infections (including chlamydia or other sexually transmitted infections), any other related test if suggested by your history or antibiotics to help prevent problems after the abortion.

- Women who have a Rh negative blood group and whose partners have Rh positive group are usually offered an injection after the procedure to safeguard the next pregnancy.

Medical abortion

What is it?

Medical abortion means getting rid of the pregnancy with the help of medicines or drugs. The earlier these medicines are taken after a missed cycle the better is the success rate. Most of the doctors prefer to use medical abortion if the pregnancy is less than 7 weeks but the same medicines can be used in different combinations for any gestation.

What will happen during a medical abortion?

Once you have made a decision to go ahead with the medical procedure, your gynaecologist will do a vaginal ultrasound to reconfirm her findings and to make sure that the pregnancy is in the right place.

After the baseline scan she will give you two sets of medicines- one to eat and other to put in your vagina. She should explain how you need to do this. After the complete dose is taken, bleeding usually starts within 6 hours and may last for a variable period of time, depending upon how big the fetus is at that time.

You should contact your doctor if you feel your bleeding is too heavy or too less. A normal person will have bleeding which is little heavier than her menstrual period.

Your doctor will call you again after 15 days for a repeat ultrasound to confirm that things are fine and the abortion has been complete. You may want to utilize this opportunity to discuss future contraception and cervical cancer vaccination with her.

What are the benefits of a medical abortion?

The biggest advantage of a medical advantage is that it is totally private. No one may ever come to know of it.

There is no need for a hospital or operation theater admission.

There is no need for any anesthesia and we avoid all side effects associated with the anesthetic drugs.

It is a cheaper option as compared to surgery.

The medicines are usually very safe and the process does not affect your future conception.

What are the problems associated with medical abortion?

Usually there is no serious or permanent side effect with use of these medicines. The biggest drawback of a medical abortion is that it is not 100% effective. The sooner you take the medicines after your missed dates the better is the end result. At around 7 weeks pregnancy the effectiveness is around 90-94%. That means that if the medicines are given to 100 women who are 7 weeks pregnant, 94-95 will abort completely with use of medicines only.

A few women who do not abort completely and continue to bleed irregularly may need a surgical procedure to clear all the products from their uterus. You need to keep the possibility of the procedure not being complete when you go for your ultrasound and there should not be any disappointment when it happens.

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