Abortion Risks and Side Effects. How to Avoid Them?
Most abortion procedures are safe when performed under prescribed guidelines in certified and safe Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) centres. However, there are certain complications and associated risks in having an abortion.
Have you ever had an abortion? If yes, what were the risks that you think you were exposed to at that time?
An abortion can be a choice of any woman for an unwanted pregnancy or it can be prescribed looking into the health concerns. This post is to help you understand the risks to which a woman is exposed during and after an abortion procedure.
Avoiding abortion risks:
If you are looking forward to having an abortion, you need to know that any risks discussed ahead can be avoided as well as minimised. And the only method to prevent them in the first place is to visit only a certified abortion clinic for getting an abortion performed. And by no means, try performing it at home even with abortion pills obtained at a pharmacy or anyplace online. Such an act escalates the probability of risk exposure with unsafe abortion.
The prescribed method of abortion may vary from a simple abortion with the help of safe abortion pills to a complicated surgical abortion procedure. But, some risks are the same regardless of any method. And there are another set of risks which are specific to the method of abortion.
Avoiding risks with early abortion:
If the decision for having an abortion is certain, then each day can cause a delay. Abortion risks are minimum when abortion is performed during early pregnancy. In the case of unwanted pregnancies, the woman should visit the abortion clinic as early as possible.
The method of abortion in most cases is dependent upon the gestation age. So, visiting as early as up to 6 weeks of gestation will deem you fit for the simplest abortion method, called Medical Abortion.
It is a non-invasive method and holds minimum risks. In the medical method of abortion, safe abortion pills, Mifepristone and Misoprostol are administered. Most of the women are administered only oral dose. Some might require vaginal administration. It seems easy and indeed is a very simple procedure. But, there are several concerns like your medical history and confirmation of the pregnancy to be intrauterine that need an insight before the administration.
Hence, you should not buy abortion pills from any pharmacy or an online store to be self-administered. Without a doctor’s consultation in person and recommendation, even these pills can pose great harm.
Abortion risks to the mother:
Before an abortion procedure, a woman faces several physical as well as mental disturbances. Many questions about the procedure and its side-effects occupy her mind. And providing sufficient correct knowledge is the only way to clarify her doubts.
If you too are in a state of any confusion regarding abortion side-effects, then keep reading ahead to know what the risks are and how you can avoid them.
There can be several bases on which abortion risks to mother can be fractioned. Some can be mild while others can be life-threatening.
Mild abortion side effects are:
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- A little more than expected vaginal bleeding
Serious abortion side effects or the risks are associated with complications and the weightiest ones can be:
While mild side effects are common and manageable, serious side effects can be very difficult to manage and treat. And some can be so grave which may lead to permanent loss. But, yes they can be avoided and minimized.
The serious side effects of abortion are generally due to various complications posed by unsafe abortions. Here are the complications of unsafe abortion and how they can be avoided:
- Incomplete abortion: When complete elimination of all the uterine contents does not take place after the abortion procedure has been performed, it is called an incomplete abortion. After the abortion, vaginal bleeding is expected for a maximum of up to a week. But, continuous bleeding, from scanty to heavy may be a symptom of incomplete abortion. Bleeding in most cases is accompanied by abdominal cramps and pain.
An incomplete abortion can be experienced with any method, either medical or surgical. And to complete the abortion, surgical intervention is needed to evacuate all the remaining products of gestation from the uterus.
The risks associated with an incomplete abortion can be avoided by getting the abortion done at the earliest possible scheduled appointment.
Well qualified gynaecologists prescribe the medical method of abortion only up to 6 weeks of gestation. If this method is opted for beyond this time either as a woman’s choice or by an unqualified professional, chances for an incomplete abortion increase. Therefore, you know it can be avoided by the right method at the right time.
- Hematometra / Post-abortion syndrome (PAS): This happens when vaginal bleeding is decreased to a significant extent. Instead of getting expelled from the body, the blood starts accumulating in the uterine lining. A protruding belly can be seen in women who have PAS.
This is a result of incomplete abortion and hence can be completely avoided by making sure the abortion procedure is complete.
- Infections: The risk of infections is completely preventable if concern for hygiene is taken care of starting from pre-abortion to the post-abortion. Your hygiene is always in your hands and you can prevent yourself from catching any infection.
But there are risks of infection during the abortion. These can be due to unhygienic premises and equipment. Besides, risks for infection increase after any surgical procedure. Even these are preventable and manageable.
Post-abortion antibiotic therapy and the therapy to maintain the urogenital flora can help prevent the occurrence of many associated infections of the urogenital tract such as bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, vulvovaginitis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Prophylactic antibiotics, probiotics and prebiotics are administered during and after the procedure only at safe abortion centres. Also, the certified MTP centres take care of hygiene and sanitation throughout the procedure.
- Hypersensitivity: Allergic responses to certain substances can cause hypersensitive reactions, also known as anaphylactic reactions. Do you know any medicine you are allergic to? You might have heard or read about people being allergic to the penicillin class of antibiotics. Similarly, there can be allergies to various other medicines.
These are entirely avoidable if concern for the substances you are allergic is taken care of before administration of any medicine. If your doctor discusses your medical history and performs a patch test before intravenous administration of the antibiotic during the abortion, the allergic responses can be avoided.
- Contraindications: Do you have any existing medical condition such as hypertension or diabetes or bronchitis or any other? If not, it is good. But, if yes, you might be taking certain regular medicines. Or you may simply be taking oral contraceptives which just failed in preventing you from getting pregnant. In all events, you should tell your doctor about your medical history before an abortion. So, the doctor can strike out any interacting medicine from your prescription and can prescribe another medicine.
These kinds of risks can be easily prevented provided you visit the qualified gynaecologist for abortion who will take all these noteworthy things into his/her consideration.
- Haemorrhage: It refers to the rupture of any blood vessel that can lead to uncontrolled bleeding.
- Physical trauma: Handling surgical equipment during the surgery needs special care and strictly needs to be performed carefully and precisely. In case of improper uterine perforation, any internal organ can be injured. The uterine lining may get scarred, cervix and/or the womb can damage.
Haemorrhage and physical trauma are the risks associated with unsafe procedures performed by untrained and unqualified quacks. And hence they can be avoided by getting an abortion performed only by a qualified gynaecologist who is equipped with necessary training and facilities to perform a safe MTP procedure.
As a result of these complications, the risk to health and life can be multifold. They may result in several co morbid conditions and can even be fatal. But, remember, they can be avoided.
The most efficient method to avoid abortion risks to the mother is to opt for safe abortion at a safe abortion centre.
Abortion risks for future pregnancies:
Will abortion be risky to my future pregnancy? This is the most obvious query of any woman seeking an abortion. Indeed it is the most crucial concern for any woman.
The simple and incomplete answer to your query is YES, abortion can be risky to your future pregnancy. But, the answer is incomplete without saying that the risk of partial or complete loss of fertility can be avoided. And you can have a safe abortion and a safe future pregnancy.
Now, you must be wondering how can this risk be avoided? Infertility due to an abortion can be due to diverse reasons, some of which are discussed here.
Infertility due to ectopic pregnancy:
When a pregnancy is unplanned and unwanted, the want for abortion can drive you in having abortion pills at the earliest. Many women think they can get these pills from any nearby or online pharmacy and get the fetus aborted. This is because they do not know about ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy in which the fertilized egg does not get implanted in the uterine lining. A simple home urine pregnancy test (UPT) by an easy to use pregnancy test kit can reveal that a woman is pregnant. But, what it does not tell is whether this pregnancy is intrauterine or not. This is revealed only by an ultrasound scan.
Women who either take abortion pills without a doctor’s consultation or visit a quack for an abortion do not perform this scan before the abortion procedure. In events where abortion pills are taken for terminating the pregnancy which happens to be ectopic, the abortion procedure will not be complete. The fertilized egg that remained in the fallopian tube can lead to a burst. The ovary and fallopian tube of that particular side will have to be removed surgically. So, the probability of getting pregnant again is reduced to half with half of the reproductive system removed.
And a simple ultrasound scan can prevent this provided it is done on time.
Infertility due to internal injury:
As mentioned above, during a surgical abortion, improper uterine perforation can lead to internal injury. If this injury is of a higher degree and to any reproductive organ, it can lead to partial or complete loss of fertility.
Again, this is an avoidable risk and can be avoided by choosing safe hands to perform the procedure.
Difficulty in pregnancy due to the bicornuate uterus:
Abortions can sometimes lead to the bicornuate uterus which is a congenital uterine malformation. The normal uterus has a single cavity. But, suction if not applied properly or more uterine contractions can lead to the uterus being divided into two conjoint chambers.
The bicornuate uterus does not make a woman infertile but it makes it difficult for a fertilized embryo to get implanted in the uterus. So, women when planning for pregnancy might not even realize why they are not getting pregnant.
This risk can also be avoided by getting the abortion performed by a trained professional who takes care of all the guidelines for the procedure.
Infertility due to infections:
Urogenital flora can face disturbance if not properly managed. This can lead to several infections of the reproductive tract. But infertility due to infection might not seem like a risk to future pregnancy to you at first thought. But, it can adversely affect your future pregnancies.
Female genital tract is colonized with bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms and has a variable presence of these bacterial colonies. There is considerable variation in the amount of bacteria present and shifts of dominant bacteria present throughout the menstrual cycle.
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when normal bacteria lose their balance and can be hormonally-influenced as well as influenced by other bacteria and exposures. Many women can attest to the susceptibility of yeast infections after antibiotics. Reduction of the vaginal microbiome causes the Candida (yeast) population to occupy more real estate. The predominant species of the genital tract is the Lactobacilli species. If it is replaced by so-called “bad-pathogens”, these bad pathogens can hinder the process of embryo implantation in the uterine lining. So, it is essential to restore the microbiome with healthy flora.
Research and studies have shown that women with infections of the reproductive tract conceive with difficulty and are more prone to miscarriages.
This risk can be eliminated by proper personal hygiene and monitoring the hygiene of the abortion facility. Also, speak to your doctor in case of any problem that can be a result of an infection so that it can be treated on-time.
Generally, infections are represented by an increase in body temperature. Other indications could be smelly vaginal discharge or any other discomfort. In any such event, consult the gynaecologist so that the treatment can be given.
Mental risks of abortion:
Apart from physical anomalies, abortions also pose a threat to women’s mental well-being. Abortion is looked down due to being associated with societal stigma. Though it is a reproductive right of every woman in India, yet being associated with the choice of terminating an unborn life, it can make the woman feel guilty of her decision.
Guilt is one emotion which can trigger a chain of negative emotions like anger, fear, stress, anxiety and depression. These emotional disturbances can also disturb her physical well-being and can also inculcate suicidal tendency.
Then, there can be other repercussions disturbing the woman’s relationships and life. These can be sexual dysfunction, loss of libido also making her fall in for abuse of drugs, alcohol overindulgence, etc.
The disturbance caused to hormonal balance after an abortion can also be linked to the mood-swings.
But, these risks are also avoidable by visiting the right MTP centre. A good MTP gynaecologist will do consultation and counselling both before as well as after abortion to ensure complete recovery.
Mental traumas can be dealt with only by proper counselling and a certified MTP centre like Bangalore Genesis Hospital (BGH) ensures the woman’s health is safe in all respects.
You can now ascertain how a single choice of the abortion centre has the potential to alter your health and future life. So, choose wisely when making the choice of an MTP centre for your abortion procedure. Let not unwanted pregnancies bring along unwanted consequences.
We are here to help you. Call or message us to get your doubts cleared and book an appointment for a consultation.
There are more risks that go with abortion than many other procedures.
Many of these risks are serious. It is therefore extremely important to have the procedure done by an experienced professional doctor at a well equipped and certified abortion hospital.
It is important to be sure an abortion is what the woman wants and to discuss the medical options with the doctor.
Some of the risks can be life threatening, if they are not properly addressed:
- Mental traumas are common. Feelings include grief, guilt, shame, anger, and depression. These feelings can lead to self-harming tendencies, or even suicidal thoughts and/or attempts.
- Ectopic pregnancy risk rises thirty percent after one abortion, and nearly quadruples for women who have had multiple abortions. Ectopic pregnancies can lead to increased risk of death in future pregnancies.
- The risk of the placenta sac becoming dislodged from the uterus in future pregnancies is increased as well. If this happens, internal bleeding may cause serious health issues or even death if not caught and treated in an appropriate time frame.
- Increased alcohol and drug abuse are risks that occur after abortions.
- Nightmares and sexual dysfunction are also risks that can affect a woman’s overall health after an abortion.
There are many risks associated with abortions, and a woman should be fully informed of the abortion risks involved before making the decision to abort.
In order to substantially reduce the risks involved, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced MTP gynecologist and doctor regarding the medical effects and options involved and absolutely refrain from attempting unsafe and risky abortion methods at home or unsupervised.
An experienced medical doctor for abortion will provide you the care, guidance and counseling required during such a period to overcome associated abortion risks, while maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of the concerned patient.
Genesis Hospital is an MTP Certified medical institution providing safe abortion in Bangalore in accordance with The World Health Organization methods and standards, by experienced gynecologists.
Call or WhatsApp +91 900 849 2277 to schedule your appointment for a safe abortion in Bangalore India.