Pregnancy Termination

November 12, 2012

Pregnancy Termination

When it comes to pregnancy terminations, it is important that people understand their options, the procedure, and the possible complications associated with the situation.

For a multitude of reasons, about 20% of all pregnancies around the world are ended. For safety and ethical reasons, many countries have put laws in place which restrict the length of time a woman has to decide whether or not she wants to have an abortion. It should be done when there is minimal risk to the mother and before the fetus could viably survive outside the womb. The upper time frame is about 24 weeks which means after this point of time in the pregnancy; it is not normally possible for pregnancy termination to take place. Anything past this point poses a threat to the safety of the mother. It is also possible at this time for advances in medicine to keep extremely premature infants alive. Any woman deciding to terminate should fully understand the process.

Pre-termination Considerations

There are many rules in place to help regulate pregnancy terminations. These rules cover every aspect of the procedure including the age of consent, allowed pregnancy lengths, and exceptions. If woman is considering having an abortion, it is necessary to:

  • Make sure that the woman is indeed pregnant.

  • Try to accurately estimate how far into the pregnancy she is.

  • Provide adequate counseling so that she can make a decision she will not regret.

  • Go over all available options with her and her partner if possible.

  • Provide enough time for all the information to be thoroughly processed.

  • If she is below the legal age (varies by location) make sure that legal guardians are present.

**Legal guardian opposition to an abortion can be overruled in court if it can be proven it is within the best interest of the pregnant girl to terminate.

For those people that have decided to end the pregnancy:

  • Blood tests should be performed to check for conditions such as HIV and Hepatitis

  • Blood type should be determined

  • Cervical screening

  • Test for Chlamydia and other conditions which may cause complications or further infection

  • Go over contraceptive methods that can be used in the future

  • Make sure that the procedure is scheduled with a reasonable amount of time from the date the decision is reached

Pregnancy terminations can take place later within a pregnancy term if:

  • The child is at high risk of being born with severe physical or mental handicaps.

  • The mother¬ís life is at risk.

  • There is risk of permanent mental or physical injury to the mother.

Pregnancy Termination Procedures

The actual procedure can vary depending on how far the woman is into her pregnancy. Antibiotics should be given before and after the procedure in order to reduce the risk of infection. Keep in mind that because of the strong moral and ethical debates associated with abortions, doctors can choose to refer patients to someone else.

Gestation shorter than 7 weeks

  • A medical abortion using prostaglandin and mifepristone is found to be safe and effective.

  • Conventional suction should be avoided.

  • Normally no adverse side effects associated with future pregnancies.

Gestation from 7 to 15 weeks

  • Medical abortions are effective up to nine weeks.

  • Conventional suction method can be used and should be accompanied by local anesthesia.

  • It may be necessary to use surgical evacuation to help clear the uterus if is evident that an incomplete abortion took place.

Gestation over 15 weeks

  • A medical abortion can be used with high doses of mifepristone.

  • Dilatation and evacuation of the uterus may be performed.

  • Make sure to follow up with the doctor after the procedure and follow all post-care instructions provided.

Possible Complications

Because of the nature of pregnancy terminations, there can be a range of physical and emotional side effects. In general, the sooner the procedure takes place, the lower the chance of developing any complications:

  • Perforation of the uterus

  • Cervical trauma

  • Failure to terminate

  • Hemorrhaging

  • Infection

  • Effects of stress normally associated with the entire procedure

  • Possible long term psychological problems which may require medical intervention

It is also important to note that women and the babies have been to shown to be negatively affected when the actual procedure has been denied.

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