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What is Abortion? Purpose, Risks, Preparation, Recovery

by | Pregnancy

Welcoming a baby is an overwhelming time of life. If the mother is not ready, this exciting period transforms into the most difficult time of life. In order to cater to this inconvenience, many countries have allowed voluntary abortion under various circumstances.

Abortion involves surgery or medicine to terminate unwanted pregnancy. According to a survey, 25% of pregnant American women want an abortion. For further clarification, let’s dive into the details.

What is Abortion? And Why is it Done?

Both surgical and medicinal abortion procedures are available. It is also known as a termination of pregnancy.

ultrasound, baby, pregnant

Being pregnant was the last thing either of them wanted. Existing data suggests that almost half of all women who seek abortions also report using some kind of contraception in the month prior to their pregnancy.

  • They are no longer eager to start a family.

  • Due to their health, childbearing poses significant risks to them.

  • A severe sickness is threatening the fetus’s life.

Because the pregnancy has already ended, physicians may not use the term “abortion” in these situations, yet, the medicines and methods used are identical. However, some women may be unable to access the care they need because of persistent abortion restrictions at the state level.

For a study published in BMC Women’s Health, researchers analyzed information from 954 women who had abortions at one of 30 abortion clinics in the United States. Researchers found that women’s reasons for choosing abortion varied widely.

  • Unpreparedness for the economy

  • A miscalculation of time has occurred.

  • relationship issues

  • The urge to prioritize one’s present kids above future generations.

  • She worries that having a kid will hold her back from reaching her potential.

  • Weak psychological and emotional readiness

  • Because it’s good for your health

  • For the sake of the kid’s future success, we must do this.

  • immaturity; an incapacity to handle one’s affairs

  • Forces from the outside, such as peer pressure

Women in our research often reported many reasons for their abortion decisions. The study’s authors concluded that a woman’s age, health, socioeconomic circumstances, parity, and marital status all have a role in her abortion decision.

History and religion

The abortion method is a variety of methods which are used for the abortion process. Induced abortion is an important cultural tradition that dates to ancient civilizations. One of the most famous artistic depictions of abortions exists in a bas relief on Angkor Wat (c. 1150).

cancellation, self-determination, infant


There are two commonly used measures that measure abortion rates: medical reporting on abortion can sometimes be inaccurate. [151] – In other words, estimates of abortion rates cannot be calculated without a determination of standard errors. [26]

Numerous Forms of Abortion

There isn’t just one method for performing abortions. Depending on the preferences of the expecting mother, the woman’s current developmental stage in pregnancy, and other criteria, doctors may recommend a certain kind (UCSF Health).

Abortion Caused by Chemicals

Abortion medications are used to end a pregnancy, thus the name “medication abortion.”

Planned Parenthood only offers this form of pregnancy termination until 11 weeks have passed from the last day of a woman’s last menstrual cycle. Yet, as UC San Francisco notes, there are insurance companies that won’t cover a pharmacological abortion beyond the seventh week of pregnancy.

abortion, stop, abort

Abortions induced by medication are around 95% effective in ending the pregnancy without resorting to surgery.

Mifepristone (Mifeprex, RU-486) and misoprostol are two drugs often used in medical abortions (Cytotec). Mifepristone blocks the effects of the pregnancy-inducing hormone progesterone. Misoprostol induces contractions of the uterus, which results in the emptying of the uterus.

Medication like this is something you’d get from a doctor or nurse at a health center. Depending on the rules of your institution and your state’s regulations, you may take them there or at home.

To ensure the abortion was successful, you will need to visit your doctor twice: once before beginning the medication and again after you have finished the course of therapy.

It may take up to 24 hours for a medication abortion to take effect.

There is no comparison between the “morning after pill,” the most frequent form of emergency contraception, and a pharmaceutical abortion. Medication abortions are used to end a pregnancy, whereas emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy.

Abortion via Surgical Procedure

According to MedlinePlus, an “in-clinic abortion” occurs when the pregnancy tissue is removed from the uterus using surgical means.

Planned Parenthood identifies two distinct surgical abortion procedures:

Suction-assisted abortion (Vacuum Aspiration) The uterus is evacuated with the use of mild suction in this method. You may have a suction abortion up to roughly 14-16 weeks after your last menstruation. The vast majority of clinic-based abortions are performed in this manner.

Abortion by Dilating the Cervix and Squeezing the Evacuated Trophoblastic Cells In a D&E, the uterus is removed from a woman using suction and surgical tools. In cases when it has been 16 weeks or more since the patient’s last menstruation, doctors may advise this surgery.

Most clinic-based abortions may be completed within ten minutes.

Abortions performed surgically are quite effective in the vast majority of cases. More than 99 times out of 100, they are effective, according to Planned Parenthood.

Late-Term Abortion

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, just approximately 1 percent of all abortions occur at or after the 21st week of pregnancy. Many medical professionals object to the nonmedical phrase “late-term abortion” to describe abortions performed at this point in a pregnancy.

What to expect during different types of abortion?

Abortion pills and aspiration abortions (also known as surgical abortions, procedural abortions, dilation and curettage (D&C) procedures, or in-clinic abortions) are two methods that may be available to you at different clinics. How many weeks pregnant you are, how long each procedure takes, and whether you’d rather spend most of your time at home or the clinic are all factors to consider. Guidelines and protocols may also differ from one nation to the next.

It’s common practice for clinics to have patients talk to a counselor or healthcare provider before an abortion procedure. This person should address any concerns you may have and inform you of your birth control choices after the abortion while you are under no obligation to initiate such measures. They’ll also check to see whether you’re making this choice on your own, without any other influence.

cancellation, self-determination, infant

Medical professionals occasionally perform physical examinations and other diagnostic procedures, such as blood work. An ultrasound may help determine how far along you are in your pregnancy and what your termination choices are. Information on the abortion procedure, any medications you may need, and who to contact if you have questions when you get home should all be provided in writing.

It’s also a good idea to surround yourself with items that provide you comfort before going through with an abortion.

If you plan on using sedatives during an in-clinic abortion, you’ll need to make transportation arrangements in advance.

Explaining The Process Of A Medical Abortion

Abortions induced by tablets are called pharmaceutical abortions. You may choose between a pharmaceutical abortion with Mifepristone plus Misoprostol or a Misoprostol-only abortion. Abortions of this sort are considered legal abortions in all 50 states from the moment of conception until weeks 10-12 of pregnancy, and even later in some.

First, you’ll take a medicine called mifepristone, which blocks progesterone from keeping the pregnancy going. After your abortion, you may be prescribed further medicine to take home with you and asked to return in a week or two for a follow-up visit.

Misoprostol is the pill you’ll take at home to induce a miscarriage. Misoprostol may be administered anywhere from six to seventy-two hours following mifepristone, but your healthcare practitioner may advise otherwise based on your specific situation and drug history.

ovum, stop, abortion

The contractions of your uterus and the relaxation of your cervix that Misoprostol induces help to force the uterine lining and its contents out. This medication is a prostaglandin, the same chemical that triggers cramping during normal periods. There is a wide range of intensity in cramping, discomfort, and bleeding during pregnancy, which may be related to when the symptoms first appear. Anti-nausea medicine should be taken 30 minutes before misoprostol, and pain medication (ibuprofen) may be used either before or after the abortion. Aspirin and other blood-thinning pain relievers should not be used.

Abortions induced by drugs in the first trimester abortions are both safe and very successful. When a woman has an abortion with medicine, more than 95 out of 100 don’t require any further care. Supplemental pills or surgical abortions are utilized in the first round of pills that don’t have 100% success. Less than 0.4% of instances include significant problems.

Medicated abortion’s positive effects:

  • As soon as you discover you are pregnant, you may be able to get an abortion using medication if such services are legally accessible in your area.

  • This method may save you the pain and discomfort of needles and anesthetics, and the timing of the second tablet is likely to be within your control.

  • It’s possible to tailor the environment to your requirements while remaining in the convenience of your own home or other preferred location.

  • You have the option of being with someone else or by yourself.

  • If you find that kind of thing important, you’ll have more time and room to reflect on what just happened.

Abortion drugs include the following risks:

  • Abortion procedures often take between two and three days to finish.

  • Heavy or painful bleeding and cramping may occur, and they may last longer than they would after a surgical abortion.

  • After returning home, people may worry whether their symptoms are normal.

  • Medication abortions are often not accessible as late in the pregnancy as other techniques, however this varies by area.

What Occurs During A Surgical Abortion?

Abortion in which the fetus and uterus are surgically removed is called a procedural abortion. A medical facility is where this takes place. Although a procedural abortion may be performed any time throughout the pregnancy, certain facilities do not do them beyond week 12. Thus it is necessary to verify this before making travel plans.

The period until your operation varies depending on your circumstances and the results of your pregnancy-week calculation. Others may have to wait or come back at a different time to be ready for their treatment, while others may have it done the same day they make their appointment.

Medications, including antibiotics and pain relievers for cramps, are administered then. The healthcare professional will discuss pain relief strategies with you. Depending on the process, you may be given the option to be fully awake, somewhat drowsy, or completely unconscious. A local anesthetic, which is injected around the cervix to numb the area, lets you be awake and alert during the whole surgery.

It may be coupled with a sedative to induce a deep slumber while maintaining consciousness. Although a general anesthetic renders the patient unconscious, it is not usually readily accessible for regular procedure abortions. It’s best to discuss your options and what to anticipate with the clinic in advance.

A pelvic exam will be conducted throughout the operation. Sedation medicine is administered by an intravenous (IV) line placed in an arm or the back of the hand. The vagina is then gently opened with the use of a speculum so that the cervix may be accessed with relative ease (just like in a pap smear test).

The area surrounding the cervix is then injected with a numbing drug. If your cervix hasn’t been dilated with medicine or osmotic dilators, your healthcare professional will do so now, inserting a series of progressively smaller instruments to widen the cervix.

Next, a long, thin instrument is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus, and the uterus is suctioned out using a hand-held suction device or a suction machine to remove the pregnant tissue and the embryo. The average time for the process is between 5 and 10 minutes. After the surgery is completed and you’ve had time to recuperate from the anesthetic drugs (if you had them), you may typically go home right away.

Abortions performed surgically in the first trimester are safe and effective: Almost often, things function well the first time. Sometimes more surgery is needed as a follow-up. Rarely, fewer than 0.2% of cases in the United States have more significant consequences.

Advantages of surgical abortion:

  • The operation just takes a few minutes to complete, and the anesthesia will make you feel much more comfortable throughout the little period of time that the pain will be there.

  • When compared to an abortion induced by medicine, there is much less blood loss.

  • You won’t be alone, and you may only need to schedule one session at the clinic.

  • Depending on the regulations and clinics in your area, a procedural abortion may be an option if you need to stop the pregnancy at a later stage than you would be able to use the medicine. Compared to abortions induced by medicine, they are also somewhat more successful.

Abortion using a surgical procedure has the following risks:

  • It’s a medical treatment in which tools are inserted vaginally to open the cervix and expel the uterus.

  • Adverse reactions to anesthetics and painkillers are possible in certain cases.

  • With fewer people able to enter the examination room with you, you have less say in how the process goes, how the atmosphere is set, and even where and how your body is positioned.

  • Knowing that the aspirator equipment used for the process might sometimes make a lot of noise is helpful.

  • It’s possible that some clinics won’t perform surgical abortions before the 20th week of pregnancy.

Getting Ready for an Abortion

Urine testing, a physical examination, or blood work may be done before the medical or surgical abortion. To confirm your gestational age and rule out an ectopic pregnancy, an ultrasound may be necessary.

Your doctor will go through the benefits, dangers, and side effects of any treatment you undergo.

You may need the following before undergoing a surgical abortion:

  • Medications used orally for pain, such as Vicodin, Valium, and ibuprofen

  • The cervix-softening medication misoprostol

  • Cervical dilators, such as laminaria or Dilapan, Antibiotics to help prevent infections

  • Sleeping pills

UCSF Health warns that the sort of abortion you’re having, and the length of your pregnancy will determine which medications you’ll need and when you’ll get them.

You should make plans for a ride home from the clinic if your treatment involves the use of sedatives like Vicodin, Valium, or anything else.

Location of a Doctor or Medical Facility

You should be aware that medical professionals are under no obligation to carry out elective abortions and that abortion laws, including waiting periods and age limits, vary widely throughout the country. It may be more difficult to locate a clinic or abortion providers due to these regulations.

Those looking for local clinics and health facilities might use the information provided by Planned Parenthood.

Fees and Safety Coverage

Some individuals find it difficult to budget for an abortion due to the high potential expense involved. Planned Parenthood reports that the average cost of a first-trimester abortion is a huge cost. More money has to be spent in case of second trimester abortion.

Abortions may or may not be covered by your insurance plan. Before setting up the appointment, double-check your policies. It is possible to discuss alternative payment arrangements with the clinic if your operation is not covered.

For those on a tight budget, community health clinics are a great resource. Centers like this can only exist because of federal funding, and they tend to pop up in places where medical professionals are scarce. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) requires these federally designated health facilities in underprivileged communities to provide treatment on a sliding scale, depending on your capacity to pay.

In addition, the local Planned Parenthood clinic may be able to suggest other avenues for securing financial aid.

What are the Benefits of an Abortion and the Risks of Being Denied One?

The ladies who participated in the interviews for the seminal report “The Turnaway Study” were all seeking abortions at the time. Those who were too far along in their pregnancies to legally have an abortion in their state were denied service. The research authors were able to examine the physical, mental, and social effects of granting the desired abortion vs. denying one by following up with these abortion patients many times over a five-year period.

The advantages that abortion-eligible individuals have over others who are compelled to carry their pregnancies to term include the following:

Increased Vitality and Decreased Chronic Pain

Women who were unable to have an abortion often suffered from life-threatening complications after giving birth, such as eclampsia and hemorrhage. And as compared to those who were able to receive an abortion when they wanted one, they reported much higher rates of persistent headaches or migraine, joint discomfort, and gestational hypertension.

Better Mental Health in the Short Term

Those who were turned down for an abortion reported feeling more stressed and anxious, as well as having lower levels of confidence, shortly after the operation was rejected. All of the women reported feeling the same way mentally between six months and a year following their abortion, whether they had one or not.

Have More Financial Stability

Those who ban abortion are more likely to grow poorer and fall below the line of healthy living than those who were allowed. In addition to being three times as likely to be jobless, women who were coerced into carrying a pregnancy to term also reported higher levels of debt, poorer credit ratings, and more financial instability for years after giving birth.

Higher Proportion of Graduates With Postsecondary Education

Women who were not granted an abortion were no more likely to complete high school or drop out than those who did, but those who did have an abortion were more likely to do so with honors.

Improvements in Outcomes for Their Current Offspring

Existing children of women who were coerced into carrying a pregnancy to term were more to become poor and not reach developmental milestones than those of women who had access to abortion.

Preparing For Life After An Abortion

A person’s energy levels may drop in the days after an abortion.

Support Via Direct Contact

Cramp pain, like that experienced during menstruation, is frequent.

In order to go home safely following surgery, patients should arrange for a ride from a loved one. They may want to take the next day or two off work to make sure they receive enough sleep. Avoid anything that might be too taxing on them mentally or physically.

Having an abortion increases a woman’s susceptibility to infection since the cervix won’t shut for some time after the procedure. They should avoid the following for two weeks trusted Source to lessen the likelihood of contracting an infection:

  • period-related product use

  • being endowed with a penetrating sex

  • Pools may be used to insert anything vaginally.

It’s crucial to prioritize self-care following an abortion. The treatment itself may not take long, but getting back to full health may take many days. One can at least give it a go. Authoritative Source:

Using a hot pack to massage the stomach and lower back. Taking over-the-counter pain medicines, including ibuprofen or acetaminophen

  • Keeping subsequent appointments

  • Affectionate treatment

  • Abortion is a sensitive topic, and the choice to have one may be hard on a person’s emotions.

Mood swings are a real possibility because of the hormonal changes that occur following the operation. Abortion causes a progressive decline in progesterone and estrogen levels in the body. It’s possible that this might lead to feelings of depression or other mood swings.

Eventually, a person’s menstrual cycle will resume, and their hormone levels will level out.

Some individuals, however, have persistent emotional challenges that they should not disregard. Statistics show a correlation between abortion and rising poverty levels. Reliable Information for Problems with Mood, Anxiety, Sleep, and Other Mental Health Areas.

People with a preexisting history of mental health issues may also be at a higher risk for these consequences.

If an individual is having mental health issues, they should seek medical attention, take time off from work, and talk to supportive loved ones.

The time needed for healing after an abortion

The length of time it takes to feel back to normal after an abortion varies from woman to woman. A person who gets an abortion in the first trimester and has no complications from it should feel better within a few days.

Abortions performed later in the pregnancy may result in a lengthier period of recovery. It may take a few weeks to get well if issues arise. The number of persons who have difficulties after having an abortion is quite low, at 2%Trusted Source.

Follow-up medical treatment for women who have had an abortion

Appointments for post-abortion care are often scheduled a few weeks after the procedure. No more medical attention will be required if there are no indications of problems.

Any sign of difficulties necessitates a trip to the doctor, who should be consulted without delay. Abortion complications are very rare but might still need a trip to the ER in extreme cases.

Warning signs that it’s time to see a doctor

An abortion clinic’s 24-hour advising line is a great resource for women who aren’t sure whether their symptoms need medical attention. If someone is experiencing any of the following symptoms, they should contact the helpline, their local emergency services, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately:

Bleeding that soaks through two or more maxi pads in one to two hours, severe back or stomach pain, dizziness, faintness, fever, a foul-smelling discharge, or nausea and vomiting

How Dangerous Is It To Get An Abortion?

Abortion is considered to have a minimal risk of complications by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Abortion has a fatality rate of fewer than 1 in 100,000 births. A woman’s risk of problems from an abortion increases the later in her pregnancy she has one; nevertheless, the risk of death from giving birth is 14 times higher than the chance of death from an abortion.

Abortion has a wide range of possible side effects, including:


In certain cases, a woman may have bleeding following an abortion. Typically, the amount of blood loss isn’t enough to need medical attention. Still, in very rare cases, a woman may bleed excessively enough to have a transfusion.

Termination of pregnancy that is not complete:

If this occurs, a D&C may be necessary to remove any residual fetal tissue or any remnants of the uterine lining. Abortion pills increase a woman’s vulnerability to this side effect.


Antibiotics are often prescribed by doctors before abortions to mitigate this possibility.

Injuries to the internal organs:

Injuries to neighboring organs are a rare but possible complication of abortion. The uterus and the urinary bladder are just two examples. As a woman progresses throughout her pregnancy, the likelihood of this happening rises.

Theoretically, uterine inflammation might have an effect on future fertility. Even yet, the likelihood of this happening is low.


Abortion is a procedure that may be used to stop a pregnancy at any time. Both medical and surgical options exist for doing this.

Abortion is a medical choice that must be made on a personal level. It’s crucial to weigh the potential outcomes of your pregnancy against the costs and advantages of each abortion method before making a final decision. This page offers some clarity on the subject and provides a short overview of the various abortion procedures, including what a woman may anticipate both before and after her procedure. Get in touch with your doctor if you can, or visit an abortion clinic to learn more about your options.


Which remedy is optimal?

How far along you are in your pregnancy, the findings of your medical evaluation, and your personal choice will be all factor into the care that is ideal for you. The sort of abortion care we provide will be determined by expert opinion and accepted industry standards. Before beginning any kind of therapy, we’ll have a detailed conversation about this.

How will I feel after the abortion procedure?

You will be given a phone number to contact with any questions or concerns and detailed aftercare instructions. After your procedure, you may need to return for follow-up care, such as an examination or lab tests.

After having an abortion, you should plan on taking it easy. On the next day, you should feel well enough to resume your regular routine, including going to work or school. In the days after, try to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity. If you have any bleeding, you may use pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup, whichever you choose. However, if you need to monitor how much blood you’re losing, your doctor or nurse may advise you to use pads. When you’re ready, you can start having sex.

Some discomfort may last for up to a week, but most individuals feel better after a few days (or several weeks after the abortion pill). This cramping thing may last for a few days.

It’s natural to feel a wide range of emotions after having an abortion. There is no one “correct” way to feel since everyone has their own unique experience. The vast majority of folks feel relieved and don’t have any second thoughts about their choice. After an abortion, others may have feelings of grief, remorse, or regret. All of these emotions are experienced by many individuals at various periods. These emotions are common and not exclusive to having an abortion. The experience of giving birth may evoke a wide range of feelings among new mothers.

What risks am I taking with an abortion?

Abortions don’t pose any health risks. There is no danger to your future fertility or health unless a very unusual and dangerous issue arises and is left untreated. Abortion does not cause depression or other mental health problems, and it does not raise the chance of breast cancer. Even abortions don’t result in sterility. Pregnancy may occur shortly after an abortion is performed. It is recommended that you discuss a method of birth control with your doctor or nurse before and after your abortion.

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