The decision to terminate a pregnancy is deeply personal and can be accompanied by emotions, considerations, and questions. Whatever the circumstances, it’s crucial to have access to accurate information and resources to make an informed choice. This guide will discuss pregnancy termination, including the methods, reasons, expectations, and potential complications
What is the termination of pregnancy?
Pregnancy termination is a medical procedure of ending a pregnancy, preventing the birth of a baby.
There are two methods of termination of pregnancy:
Medical termination of pregnancy
Medical termination of pregnancy involves using medications to terminate the pregnancy. It typically includes a combination of drugs (mifepristone and misoprostol) that cause the uterus to contract and expel the embryo or fetus. This termination is usually performed within ten weeks of pregnancy.
Surgical termination is a medical procedure to remove the embryo or fetus from the uterus.
There are several methods of surgical termination, including:
Suction method: This method involves using gentle suction to remove the contents of the uterus. It is usually performed during the end of the first trimester, lasting 12 weeks, or at the start of the second trimester, which lasts 16 weeks.
Dilation and curettage (D&C) method: This method involves dilating the cervix and using a curette (a spoon-shaped instrument) to scrape the lining of the uterus. It is performed in the first trimester of pregnancy, typically within the first 12 weeks.
Dilation and evacuation (D&E) method: If the woman has entered the second trimester of pregnancy (13 and 24 weeks), the doctor will recommend this method. It involves dilating the cervix and using forceps to remove the fetus and placental tissues from the uterus, concluding the pregnancy.
Why do some women have pregnancy termination?
Here are some of the common reasons why women might consider terminating a pregnancy:
In situations where pregnancy poses serious risks to a woman’s physical health, such as severe hypertension, heart conditions, or infections
If USG in pregnancy indicates genetic or developmental irregularities in the fetus
Instances of unplanned pregnancy
Due to social or personal beliefs
If women don’t feel financially stable enough to provide for a child’s needs
If women feel emotionally or mentally unprepared to become a parent
What should I expect after having a pregnancy termination?
After having a pregnancy termination, you can expect a combination of physical, emotional, and hormonal changes. It’s essential to understand that individual experiences can vary depending on the stage of pregnancy, the method used for termination, and your own physical and emotional health. Here’s what you might expect:
It is normal to experience some vaginal bleeding after termination. After a medical termination of pregnancy, you could expect bleeding for up to six weeks. Following a surgical procedure, it often ends sooner, after approximately two weeks. Some women have minimal bleeding. If you experience continuous, heavy bleeding (more than 3 soaked maxi pads within 3 hours), seek medical assistance immediately.
Pain and discomfort
Many women experience mild abdominal pain and cramping after termination, similar to periods. You can use a heat pack or hot water bottle, take pain-relief medicines, or gently massage the lower abdomen to reduce the pain.
Additionally, you might experience tender breasts or milk leakage from the breasts, especially if the pregnancy was more advanced. You can mitigate breast tenderness by wearing a supportive bra, taking medications, or applying cold packs to the breasts.
It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after a pregnancy termination. You might feel relief, sadness, or both. Everyone’s emotional response is unique. Having a support system of friends, family, or a mental health professional can be helpful during this time. Feel free to reach out for emotional support if needed.
After a termination, hormones that support pregnancy, such as progesterone, decline. This can lead to mood swings and changes in your emotional state. Depending on your body, your menstrual cycle should gradually return to its regular pattern within a few weeks to months.
Most women can resume their normal activities the day after the termination. However, taking periods of rest and refraining from heavy lifting or intense workouts for at least a week following the procedure is advisable.
What are the possible complications of termination?
Pregnancy termination is safe, and most women will not experience any problems. However, there is a small risk of complications, such as:
- Uterine infection
- Excessive bleeding
- Retained pregnancy tissue in the uterus
- Cervical injury (injury to the opening of the uterus)
It’s essential to remember that undergoing a pregnancy termination does not impact your ability to conceive again or have successful pregnancies in the future.
Every woman’s pregnancies are unique, and seeking support from healthcare providers can help guide you through this time. Remember that whatever choice you make, prioritizing your well-being is essential.