Different methods of abortion have different set of risk factors associated with them. This article describes different abortion methods and risks involved in each of them.
A doctor should evaluate you if you are thinking about having an abortion. Only a doctor can perform an abortion. Discuss your situation with your doctor. Ask about any risks you might face.
In the first trimester abortion that usually takes place during 0 to 14 weeks of pregnancy, the uterus is often dilated 24 hours prior to the procedure followed by a sharp cutting into the skin of the uterus and scrapping of the placenta and the membranes with a sharp instrument. The possible risks and complications are- bleeding excessively, infection and pus formation in the uterus or fallopian tubes, damaged cervical skin, punctured uterus and blood clots.
Another method of abortion in the first trimester resorts to medication which is injected in the uterus muscle followed by a vaginal placement of misoprostol. The foetus and the placenta are forced out the following day. The dosage is repeated in case of unsuccessful attempts. The risks involved are- excessive bleeding, diarrhoea, abdominal cramping and allergy to medications.
In the first trimester, the mifepristone and Misoprostol is another medicinal combination used to abort the foetus. In this method the medication can be taken up to four to five weeks of pregnancy starting from the date of conception. This medicine is taken orally and it is on the medical practitioner to monitor the dosages. Repeated visits to the doctor are required as the patient should be watched closely because the possible risks can lead to incomplete abortion, allergic reactions to medications and cramping.
Vacuum Aspiration is the most widely practiced method of abortion where the cervix is opened and a suction tube is inserted into it which sucks out the foetus, and the placenta along with other membranes. This process takes no longer than five minutes and is considered to be the safest of all the methods tried during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, the dilation in this method takes several hours. The possible risk can include- reaction to anaesthesia or a torn cervix.
The second trimester which usually ranges from the period of 14—26 weeks, the abortion method suggested at this stage is hysterectomy. In this process, an incision is made in the uterus and the foetus is removed carefully. The procedure is similar to a caesarean where the woman is given sedatives. The possible risks involved are- injury to the urinary tract, blood clots, sepsis, bleeding and infection.
Dilation and evacuation is another method that is widely followed when in the second trimester. Performed within 13—20 weeks of pregnancy, it entails the widening of the cervix after the dilation and removal of the foetus by suction tubes. The possible risks include heavy bleeding leading to clotting later on. Infertility can also be a major risk.
In the third trimester which ranges from 26 to 40 weeks of pregnancy, an abdominal hysterectomy is performed to abort the foetus. Partial dilation followed by suction is the method followed in this. Te foetus is extracted part by part from the uterus through a forcep where the hands and legs of the baby are torn apart in pieces. At last, the head of the foetus is crushed inside the womb and brought out. The figure is slowly rearranged to check and confirm whether the abortion has been done successfully or not. The possible risks are- infertility, heavy bleeding and risks in future child birth.
It is your right and the doctor’s responsibility to inform you fully prior to the procedure. Ask all of your questions and make sure you understand the answers.
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