Abortion refers to the early ending of a pregnancy, which may happen naturally which is called a miscarriage, or may be a choice made by the woman to end the pregnancy.
Abortion may be an option for a woman for a variety of reasons including unplanned pregnancy, medical complications or high risk pregnancy. There are two main types of abortion including medical abortion (taking medication to end the pregnancy) and surgical abortion (undergoing surgery to end the pregnancy). Having an abortion is a very personal choice that needs to be well-thought through with the help of counsellors and your doctor. Keep reading to learn more about abortion.
It can be a very difficult decision to continue or end your unplanned pregnancy. An unplanned pregnancy can occur under a variety of different circumstances including birth control failure and unprotected sex. Abortions are generally performed within the first 9-12 weeks of pregnancy (first trimester).
If you think that you are pregnant you should make an appointment to see your doctor. It is important to see your health care physician the earlier that you are in your pregnancy, the more options that you will likely have and less risk. A physical examination and laboratory tests will be done to determine if you are pregnant or to date the pregnancy (determine how far along you are). If you are pregnant you will want to speak with a doctor and a counsellor to help you figure out what your options are based upon how far a long your pregnancy is.
Medical abortion is done up to 9 weeks in the pregnancy and requires at least two visits to your doctor. The doctor will perform a physical exam and lab tests. You will also be given information about birth control, self-care and what to expect. The first visit you will be given medication to take there, and then medication to take at home. There are two main medications given for a medical abortion. Generally two weeks after the first visit, a follow-up examination is schedule to ensure that the procedure was successful.
Surgical abortion ends a pregnancy by surgically removing the uterus contents. There are a few different types of surgical abortion, depending on how far along the pregnancy is. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and lab tests before the procedure, and will give you information about what to expect and recovery. Surgical abortion within the first trimester (5 to 12 weeks) may use a manual or machine vacuum aspiration to empty the uterus. Surgical abortion within the second trimester may use a dilation and evacuation because it is fairly low risk. It generally includes a few procedures which may include vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage, and surgical instruments to completely clear the uterus.
It is a very difficult decision to decide what to do if you find yourself dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Your doctor and family planning clinics can help give you the information you need to decide what option is best for you.