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Abortion: Types, Causes, Treatment and Cost

Last Updated: Nov 02, 2023

What is Abortion?

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Abortion is a procedure of terminating a pregnancy by removing the fetus/embryo.

Nearly 26 countries do not allow abortion without exceptions (in some countries, It is permitted only to safeguard the mother’s health or save her life).

Types of Abortion

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The different types of abortion depend on the trimester and the child bearer’s medical condition. These include:-

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion is done with the help of two abortion pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. These pills need to be prescribed by your doctor and it is illegal to sell them over the counter (OTC).

If you are less than 11 weeks pregnant, your doctor might suggest you get a medical abortion. The benefit of medical abortion is that it doesn’t require any anesthesia or surgical procedure. Medical abortion is not recommended for people who:

  1. Have anemia or serious blood clot problems
  2. Allergic to the prescribed medications
  3. Have IUDs
  4. Have the fetus implantation outside of the womb

If you need to take the abortion pill at home, make sure to ask your doctor for proper directions on when and how to take the pills.

Suction Abortion

Also known as Vacuum Aspiration, the procedure is allowed to terminate a pregnancy that is in between 12 and 16 weeks. In certain cases, suction abortion is prescribed when medical abortion fails. In this scenario, the surgeon might need to dilate the cervix for easy access.

Suction abortion is not suggested for people who:

  1. Have a uterus that functions abnormally or is shaped differently
  2. Have blood clot problems
  3. Have pelvic disorders or infection

D&E

The abortion procedure is recommended for people who are later than 14 weeks of pregnancy. In many cases, the doctor might find out that the fetus is at risk of an abnormality or the pregnancy might be dangerous for the child bearer.

The Dilation and Evacuation abortion procedure is recommended for these cases, along with those who are getting a late abortion. D&E is safe for women of all ages, but consulting your doctor is a better option.

Induction Abortion

Induction abortion is appropriate for those people who have crossed the 24th week of pregnancy and cannot get a D&E. The doctor will prescribe a pill that you need to take in a hospital setting, which will put you in labor and cause contractions to release the fetus.

Late-Term Abortions

Abortions that are done after the 20th week of pregnancy, when the fetus is considered to survive outside the womb, are termed as ‘late-term’. Most countries ban late-term abortions and are only allowed to be performed if the life/health of the child-bearer is at a risk.

Spontaneous Abortion

The unintentional expulsion of the fetus/embryo before the 24th week of pregnancy, known as miscarriage, is medically termed spontaneous abortion.

Abortion Causes

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The stigma around abortion can make it difficult for people to take the decision. However, general causes of abortion might include:-

  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Financial instability
  • Relationship issues
  • Health concerns
  • Not ready emotionally/mentally

In the case of miscarriages, most occur due to abnormalities in one’s chromosomes (these happen in the first trimester). Other than that, there might be other factors causing a miscarriage, including:-

  • Exposure to Bio-Hazardous Agents
  • Abnormal Uterine or Improper Implantation
  • Drug abuse, alcohol consumption, or smoking
  • Kidney or Congenital Heart diseases
  • Certain Medications for Other Conditions

The exact causes of missed abortion are not known, but doctors have noticed certain trends in the various studies conducted. For example, people with a uterine problem or an endocrine disorder are at a higher risk of incomplete abortion. Moreover, people with an autoimmune disorder or indulging in smoking/consuming alcohol/drugs might face miscarriage.

How much unripe papaya can cause abortion?

Unripe papaya is a high source of papain and latex. The high content of latex in papaya might cause uterine contractions leading to premature labor. Moreover, the papain might also be perceived as prostaglandins, which are used to encourage labor. Thus, unripe papaya is avoided during pregnancy.

Can skipping cause abortion?

Exercising regularly can help pregnant women stay fit and aid in a smooth delivery. However, intense exercises like skipping can lead to complications in the later trimesters, even though light exercises like walking are beneficial for proper blood circulation. Thus, exercising with caution is important to help you stay healthy during pregnancy.

Abortion: Diagnosis and Tests

To check for spontaneous abortion, the doctor will advise you to undergo certain tests:-

  1. Pelvic Analysis: In the case of labor, your cervix starts dilating. A pelvic analysis is conducted to check for the same.
  2. Ultrasound: If a person is at the later stages of pregnancy, they will be advised to get an ultrasound to check for the baby’s heartbeat.
  3. Blood Tests: In case you have been bleeding profusely, your doctor will advise you to take blood tests to compare your current hormone levels with past metrics.
  4. Tissue Examination: In certain cases, the person might expel some tissue that can be tested to find out whether it was caused by miscarriage or something else.
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Does medical abortion affect future pregnancy?

Abortion can be complicated which is why performing it under expert supervision and in a medical setting is necessary. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, an abortion, medical or surgical, does not affect your fertility and chances of a future pregnancy. However, your doctor might advise you to refrain from sexual intercourse for a few days to allow your body to recover.

Do abortion pills damage the womb?

Though abortion is not harmful, it can give way to further complications. If one has a medical abortion, they might need to undergo a medical procedure to remove tissues that have been left behind in the womb.

Additionally, if a person opts for medical abortion after 14 weeks of gestation, they might face an injury or infection in the womb. However, this is quite rare and your medical team at Pristyn Care will ensure their best that you do not face these serious complications.

Home Remedies for Abortion

Abortion can cause discomfort and some abdominal pain, which is why home remedies are important. Some home remedies that can help induce an abortion include:-

  • Peppermint, parsley, pennyroyal, and other herbs and teas
  • High-intensity physical exercises like strength training
  • OTC medications
  • Foods high in Vitamin C content
  • Consumption of unripe papaya and goji berry

Abortion using home remedies can be harmful and can induce life-threatening conditions. We advise you to consult your gynecologist and healthcare experts for safe abortion methods to avoid complications.

What to Eat in Abortion?

An abortion can be both physically and mentally demanding, which is why proper aftercare is needed. You will need to include a diet filled with essential vitamins, and minerals, that offer good nutrition to recover. Some guidelines to follow for eating after an abortion are as follows:-

  • Eat Food that is Easy to Digest - Women might face nausea and indigestion due to the hormones, while those opting for surgical abortion might face these as a side-effect of the anesthesia. Eating food that is high in fiber content can help you avoid feeling constipated.
  • Include Protein in Your Diet - Other than eating a balanced diet for promoting overall health, it is important to include protein-rich foods to allow your body to recover. You can include lean protein like lean chicken or add soya/tofu to your meals.
  • Drink Juices and Plenty of Water - Maintaining your blood sugar levels and staying hydrated after having an abortion is really important. An increased fluid intake will also help avoid conditions like indigestion, gas, and vomiting.
  • Eat Your Comfort Foods - Your favorite foods will help enrich your body and alleviate your mood. Indulge in your comfort foods and nourish yourself for a quick recovery. However, ensure that you do not consume foods that might cause digestion problems and affect your health.

Can I drink milk after abortion?

Drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated can help boost recovery, allowing you to get back to your active lifestyle. You might choose to drink juices, milk, or simply water, but whatever you do, remember that you should avoid foods/fluids that may cause indigestion.

What not to eat during an abortion?

When opting for a medical abortion, you need to have a mindful watch over your diet. You might need to include some dietary changes to avoid altering the effectiveness of the drug. Your healthcare physician will be able to guide you about it in detail.

Additionally, it is important to include a balanced diet right after an abortion, and avoiding foods that cause inflammation/constipation is necessary. Some general guidelines on the foods that you should avoid after an abortion include:-

  • Foods that have high sugar content and refined carbs have low-fiber content
  • Processed and red meat
  • Alcohol and Drugs

Your gynecologist will advise you to consult a nutritionist or will provide a general diet chart to help boost your recovery.

Abortion Treatment

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Incomplete abortion is spontaneous and might cause mental health issues along with physical side effects. The procedure for an incomplete abortion treatment includes:-

  • Regular follow-ups with your obstetrician
  • Beta-hCG tests to examine the levels/changes
  • Pain medication in certain cases
  • Hydration through IV (rare)
  • Blood transfusion when there is abnormal bleeding
  • Removal of conception fragments attached to the cervix [to allow uterine contractions]
  • Controlling the bleeding with oxytocin
  • Drugs like misoprostol facilitate the contractions allowing the abortion to be completed

In the case of a missed abortion, healthcare experts suggest one of the following treatment options based on the problems you face:-

  • Wait and See Approach - The solution to the majority of missed abortion cases is expectant management (also known as the wait and see approach). Generally, after the fetus is lost, the person automatically miscarries and passes through the tissues.
  • Medical Approach - Drugs used in medical abortion help trigger the body’s abdominal cramps to enable it to pass the tissue and complete the miscarriage.
  • Surgical Approach - In case both the above approaches fail, the doctor will ask you to get a D&C (Dilation and Curettage) surgery to manually remove the tissue left.

Which are the best medicines for abortion?

The following comprehensive list of drugs and medications are used for abortion:-

How long does it take to recover from abortion?

Recovering from an abortion takes time and will vary from one case to another. Moreover, the trimester that you were in before the abortion also determines your recovery time. In the case of medical abortion, avoiding strenuous activities for at least a week is recommended. Some additional tips to help manage the side effects and get a bit of relief are as follows:-

  • Use sanitary pads instead of menstrual cups and tampons to avoid vaginal irritation and infection
  • Change your sanitary pads every 2 hours or when full for better vaginal health
  • Use heating pads or hot towels to ease abdominal cramps and pain
  • Stay hydrated and have nutritious meals for faster recovery
  • Approach a friend or an understanding community to support you through it
  • Avoid strenuous exercises and swimming to avoid further bleeding and infection
  • Do not use a bathtub at least 48 hours after an abortion, but opt for a shower
  • Contact your doctor if you have to use more than two sanitary pads in an hour

What is the price of abortion treatments in India?

The average price of medical abortion treatment in India is INR 2,750. Depending on the prescribed abortion pill cost, the price might increase/decrease. The minimum and maximum costs of medical termination of pregnancy are INR 500 and INR 5000, respectively.

Surgical procedures are slightly more expensive than abortion through medical pills and might vary from one healthcare facility to another. They, however, are recommended for safe termination of pregnancy. The minimum abortion procedure cost is around INR 5,000, while the maximum cost is INR 30,000.

You can check the detailed cost of abortion treatment at Lybrate, Some factors that affect the cost of abortion surgery include:-

  • The surgeon’s experience, handling of complicated cases, and skills
  • The infrastructure of the healthcare facility and its ability to provide emergency medical advice
  • Access to post-abortion surgery necessities like medications for pain relief

Abortion cost in different Cities in India.

  • Abortion Cost in Mumbai - Rs. 10,000 to 40,000.
  • Abortion cost in Delhi - 10,000 to 40,000.
  • Abortion cost in Bangalore - 10,000 to 40,000.
  • Abortion cost in Chennai - 10,000 to 40,000.
  • Abortion cost in Pune - 10,000 to 40,000.
  • Abortion cost in Kolkata - 10,000 to 40,000.

Are the results of abortion treatment permanent?

Generally, the results of abortion treatment are permanent, but they might not be in several cases. For example, medical abortion can easily fail to lead to incomplete abortion or missed abortion. In that case, a person needs to opt for abortion surgery to ensure that the results are permanent. However, remember that you can start ovulating soon after an abortion making it necessary to use contraceptives.

Who is eligible for the abortion treatment?

The different types of abortion have different eligibility, but determining whether you should opt for one method over the other is possible based on the advice of a healthcare professional. Women can opt for medical abortion up to their 10th week of pregnancy, while vacuum aspiration is recommended for those who are in their first trimesters (in some cases, early second trimesters are allowed too). Pregnant people who have crossed 14 weeks of pregnancy can undergo a D&E surgery (Dilation and Evacuation). It is also recommended for people whose fetus shows signs of medical complications or severe abnormalities. Induction abortion, a rarely used abortion procedure, is the only option for people looking for abortions in their second trimester or after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Who is not eligible for the abortion treatment?

Complicated cases wherein the implantation has happened outside the uterus, or the person is allergic to certain medications cannot undergo some types of abortion. Additionally, people with an abnormal uterus or pelvis can face complications in surgical abortions. Hence, it is suggested to approach a gynecologist for a proper health checkup to determine which abortion treatment is suitable for you.

What are the post-treatment guidelines for abortion treatment?

Once you have recovered from the side effects of abortion surgery, you need to focus on your health. Some guidelines you should follow are as follows:-

  • Avoid sexual intercourse until you have stopped bleeding or 2 weeks after the procedure to avoid vaginal infection
  • Get a pregnancy test at least 3-4 weeks after the abortion procedure to confirm whether the process has been successful or not
  • Use a contraceptive immediately after the abortion procedure
  • Avoid taking a shower if you experience nausea or weakness from the abortion pill or anesthesia
  • Do not use menstrual cups or tampons at least before 3-4 weeks of the procedure to avoid vaginal injury

You should also ensure that you include a well-balanced and nutritious diet for fast recovery. In case you notice something out of the ordinary, report it back to your doctor for their expert advice.

What are the side effects of abortion treatments?

Some common and regular side effects of an abortion treatment include:-

  • Period-like cramps and abdominal pain
  • Vaginal bleeding (nothing more than soaking 2 pads in an hour)
  • Fatigue, vomiting, and nausea

However, there are some other risks involved in the case of an abortion surgery, such as:-

  • Vaginal/Womb infection
  • An incomplete abortion that leads to further serious complications
  • Damage to the cervix or womb

You can look out for some common signs of an infection that include - severe abdominal and pelvic pain and smelly vaginal discharge.

Abortion - Outlook/Prognosis

The process of abortion might be difficult for you and can entail several mental/physical side effects. It is natural to feel a range of emotions like shame, guilt, regret, or even relief. Make sure to have strong support in place or approach the various organizations that extend help. You can talk to a trained therapist, social worker, or psychologist, or ask your gynecologist for recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Up to how many months can abortion be done?

According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, abortion in India is allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, in cases where the life of the child-bearer is at risk and abortion is necessary to save them, the restriction does not apply. The Indian laws about abortion state that:
  • In cases of pregnancy by rape or fetus abnormalities, the upper limit for abortion is 24 weeks
  • In cases of abortion after 24 weeks, a medical board is appointed by the state to decide whether it would be safe to have an abortion or not
  • A woman up to 12 weeks of pregnancy can get an abortion if approved by one expert doctor
  • A woman after 12 weeks and up to 20 weeks of pregnancy can get an abortion with approval from two doctors

After how many days of abortion can we do intercourse?

To avoid the risks of vaginal bleeding or infection, doctors recommend not to engage in sexual intercourse up to 2 weeks after the abortion procedure. Also, remember to use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy after the abortion as you can start ovulating soon.

How long does bleeding after medical abortion last?

The amount of bleeding and the duration depend on the gestational week of the pregnancy along with other factors. However, one should expect heavy bleeding up to 1-2 days of the procedure and light bleeding that might last 2-3 weeks.

References

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Written ByDr. Anand Bhatt MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecolog,PG Diploma in IVF & Reproductive Medicine,Advanced Infertility & ART trainin,MBBS,Diploma in Minimal Access SurgeryGynaecology
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