Abortion at the right time, with no physical harm to the mother’s body and if legal in your country, is one of the best ways to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Though, taking necessary precautions to prevent pregnancy should be the right way, but sometimes an uncontrolled situation might lead to unplanned pregnancy. Then, abortion comes to the rescue if you do not want a baby at that moment or you are not ready to raise a child.
What is ‘abortion’ exactly?
Abortion is the removal of a fetus from the womb before it can survive on its own. Abortion done within 12 weeks of pregnancy is considered the safest, but around 98% abortions are done by 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is also acceptable. Abortions after 24 weeks are not safe and considered illegal. India is one of the few countries where abortion is legal, but only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Induced abortion vs miscarriage
If abortion happens spontaneously, then it is considered as a miscarriage. Else, there are different ways of induced abortion, which can terminate a pregnancy. Aborting can be either done by proper surgery or by medication like abortion pills. In some remote parts of the world, ancient methods like herbs, physical trauma are still used, but they are extremely harmful and illegal. An abortion requires medical expertise and in no way, should be tried on your own.
How abortion pills work?
Abortion pills are the safest way to abort pregnancy till 12 weeks of gestation. Medicines like Mifepristone and Misoprostol are popular abortion medicines. According to a research by the World Health Organization (WHO), using Misoprostol can lead to success in 90% of cases. In case the pill is not effective the first time, then it needs to be administered again after a period of time, mostly 3 days.
The medicine contracts a woman’s womb and hence the fetus fails to survive, resulting in abortion. Light to heavy bleeding, cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting are the obvious signs of abortion that occurs after taking the pill. Bleeding generally lasts for 1 to 3 weeks, but it can vary from woman to woman. The heaviest bleeding occurs within 2 to 5 hours of taking the pill and should slow down by 24 hours. Sometimes, women bleed for 48 hours with heavy clots, which is normal, but in case of excessive blood loss and other uneasiness, it is always advisable to contact the doctor. Menstrual period usually starts after 4 to 6 weeks.
The above symptoms generally indicate successful abortion and the remains of pregnancy is disposed by the body naturally. In rare cases, medical intervention might be required. However, one can do a home pregnancy test to confirm the results.
Abortion pills side effects
Abortion pills are safe if they are taken under proper medical supervision and at the right time during pregnancy. The medicine should never be taken to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. Bleeding, cramps, nausea, mild fever, etc. are normal side effects of abortion pills. However, medical help needs to be sought in case of emergency. Abortion pills taken at the right time during pregnancy are safe and does not harm the woman’s body. Taking pills quite late in pregnancy can cause damage to the body. Repeated or continuous consumption of abortion pills is not recommended as it can cause harmful damages to the body and reduce/cease chances of getting pregnant later. One should consult the doctor to check if such pills can be taken under any physical ailment or medical complications.
A recent study by NBCI shows that self-administered abortion pills and lead to morbidity and mortality in women. Among the samples studied, 65.5% had incomplete abortion, 22.5% had failed abortion and 7.5% developed sepsis with incomplete abortion. 5% of women taking unsupervised abortion pills went into shock after abortion.
Pros of taking abortion pills
One of the major advantages of abortion pills is that it is an easier, less uncomfortable and cheaper option for abortion. In countries, where abortion is legal, abortion pills are readily available over the counter. However, certain legal restrictions are there to ensure these are used correctly and to stop unfair usage.
Another advantage is that, medical abortion using pills mostly doesn’t require the person to visit the hospital, unless there is some complication. It can be easily taken at home with desired results.
Also Read: How Not to Get Pregnant
Cons of taking abortion pills
The major disadvantages, as mentioned earlier are a failure or incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, infection, damage to the uterus, severe pain and even death.
In case of failed or incomplete abortion, pregnancy continues and the baby can be born with severe birth defects with long-term implications.
Excessive bleeding can cause internal hemorrhage, which can cause trauma to the uterus, cervix and vagina.
Incomplete abortion can lead to infection and sepsis.
Abortion pills can sometimes lead to severe pain, which can indicate incomplete abortion, sepsis or infection, which can have serious effects on the woman’s health and internal organs.
Bacterial infection, excessive bleeding and severe pain can cause internal organ failure, leading to death. Hence, abortion pills need to be taken as and when prescribed by a qualified doctor to mitigate such risk and health hazards.
Abortion pill cost
Abortion pills like ‘Plan B’, ‘Afterpill’, ‘My way’ in United States cost between $25 to $40. Pills like ‘I-Pill’ in India cost between Rs. 150 to Rs. 200.
Think before you take the step
The intake of abortion pills should be a conscious decision for the expecting mother’s and her spouse / family. She should be completely aware of the medical, physical and mental future implications of the same as this is an irreversible process. A woman’s consent is most important and this should be done under approved medical guidance and support. In case, there are fair chances to go on with your pregnancy, avoid using abortion pills.
Always take proper and right decision to terminate your pregnancy, in unavoidable circumstances only.
Usually, our society perceives abortion as shameful, also considering that it is painful for the expecting mother. But, aborting a fetus before it takes proper form of life could be one of the safest ways both for the mother and the fetus, under certain conditions. It is important that abortion pills are taken under proper medical guidance from a qualified doctor, knowing its implications and of course under the full consent of the mother and father.