For various medical and personal reasons, women around the world may turn to abortion as a solution. These include teenage pregnancy, relationship problems, financial constraints, and others. However, there are also many dangers and risks of abortion. Abortion complications can cause damage to a woman’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
So, what is abortion, what are the possible reasons why women abort their babies, and what are the potential side effects of abortion? Read these abortion facts to find out!
Reasons why women induced abortions
Before we discuss the different side effects of abortion, let’s first understand the reasons why women have abortions.
Because numerous side effects of abortion may arise and pose permanent negative effects on a woman’s body, it is widely argued if a woman still has the choice about whether or not to continue with a pregnancy.
Generally, self-destructive behaviors such as drug use and prostitution are made illegal to prevent people from making bad decisions, but in the case of abortion, a woman can decide right from the time a pregnancy test shows positive.
While only a very small percentage of abortions are due to rape, it can be another reason why a woman will choose to not carry a baby full term. The mere thought of carrying a baby of a stranger who has done her wrong can be too much to bear. However, not all rape victims choose this path since abortion can add more pain and guilt to an already hurting and distressed woman and so will hinder the healing process.
The next reason for abortion is the immense pressure put on girls by their parents or partners. Usually, it is the boyfriend that forces a girl into abortion against her will. Some even go as far as threatening to leave her if she keeps the baby.
Some women also undergo an abortion to escape the anger or disappointment of their parents. Because of this, the woman is pressured to make rash decisions with consequences that she will regret but has to live with for the rest of her life.
Other issues regarding family matters include not wanting to marry to legitimize the birth, the pregnancy being a product of an extramarital relationship, an abusive husband, lacking the financial and emotional support to have another baby or a combination of these.
Poverty and economic reasons
The second most commonly reported reason for having an abortion, next only to stopping or postponing childbearing, is due to poverty and economic limitations. These include concerns like unemployment, having to stop working or studying for the baby, lack of child support from the father, wanting to provide better for existing children, or simply the inability to afford and provide for more children.
Side Effects of Abortions
So, now that you know what can lead a woman to go for an abortion, here are the possible short-term and long-term side effects of abortion:
Short-term Side Effects of Abortion
The short-term side effects of common abortion procedures are not well-known. However, understanding how do abortions work will give you an idea. Basically, the most common method is done by stretching the cervix with dilators and inserting a tube attached to a syringe to suction the fetus out. Complications of the surgical vacuum method can include:
- Abdominal swelling and pain after abortion
- Excessive bleeding
- Uterine perforation
- Incomplete or partial birth abortion
- Cervical tears
- Death (in rare extreme cases.
Medical treatment is another one of the common early abortion options. But how early can you get an abortion? In this method, the abortive medicines mifepristone and misoprostol are taken as soon as early pregnancy symptoms are noticed, usually during the first 50 days. These are still effective until the second trimester.
However, many doctors recommend having an abortion earlier in the pregnancy since doing it later poses more dangers and risks. In other words, an abortion at 5 weeks or an abortion at 4 weeks will have fewer complications than an abortion at 16 weeks or farther into the pregnancy. This also somehow answers the question of when can you get an abortion.
As for the question of how long do you bleed after abortion pill, bleeding usually lasts for one to three weeks and may be heavy, moderate, or light. Bleeding patterns often vary, however, from woman to woman.
The side effects of medically induced abortion are:
- Excessive uterine bleeding
- Frequent uterine pain
- Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
- Pelvic infection
- Incomplete abortion
Other safer pregnancy termination options are also available. These include natural abortion methods like menstrual extractions and herbal abortions which are generally considered safer since they do not involve general sedation, scraping the uterus or suctioning. There are even known methods of how to do abortion at home.
Long-term Side Effects of Abortion
While these short-term side effects prove how high-risk abortion can be, it can also lead to more devastating long-term dangers of abortion such as:
Abortion or pregnancies not carried to completion increase the risk of developing breast cancer due to the various physiological effects in the body. One of these is the sudden significant drop in estrogen levels which causes rapid cell multiplication in breast tissues. You can probably imagine why cancer is considered one of the worst multiple abortions side effects.
Can abortion cause infertility? Yes. Women who have had an abortion in the past may have difficulties conceiving when they are ready. Abortions can affect fertility both directly and indirectly.
A surgical abortion can directly cause infertility due to uterine scarring, which can prevent the attachment of the baby to the uterine wall and can also lead to ectopic pregnancies. An ineffective abortion of an ectopic pregnancy can also cause the fallopian tube to rupture and render the woman infertile.
The risk of developing fallopian tube infections, a condition called salpingitis, indirectly causes infertility. This increases the possibility of future tubal pregnancies.
Post-abortion syndrome is a type of post-traumatic disorder affecting women after having an abortion. Symptoms vary greatly and may include eating disorders, depression, difficulty sleeping, abusive or overprotective parenting, panic disorders, compulsivity, and many more.
Sexual dysfunction refers to problems that interfere with normal sexual activity or response. Some abortion info from several studies reported that the sexual desire, frequency, orgasm tendency, and satisfaction of women can be severely affected if they had an abortion in the past.
Other psychological disorders and emotional effects of abortion
The effects of abortion cost more than the physical health but can also affect the emotional and mental health of a woman. A feeling of guilt is especially prevalent in women who did not want to get an abortion in the first place. Many women suffer from psychological disorders like major depression, suicidal tendencies, and anxiety disorders brought about by post-abortion stress. Some women even have hallucinations or paranoia associated with pregnancy symptoms.
Other Side Effects of Abortion
A woman can also experience the following for as long as two to four weeks after an abortion:
- Spotting and Bleeding
- Vaginal smelling discharge
- Abdominal and Back pain
Serious Complications After an Abortion
Severe abortion complications happen in less than 1 out of 100 first trimester abortions and in about 1 out of 50 abortions done in later terms. The risks include:
- Organ damage
- Persistent heavy bleeding
- Infections or sepsis
- Cervical damage
- Uterine perforation
- Scarring of the uterine lining
So, contact your doctor or health care specialist if you experience any of the following symptoms after an abortion:
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Persisting pregnancy symptoms
- Severe back and abdominal pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Fever higher than 38℃ or 100.4℉
Alternatives to Abortions
Given the many risks and side effects of abortion, women often seek other solutions for an unwanted pregnancy. The obvious alternative choice for a woman is to continue with the pregnancy and put up the baby for adoption. Co-parenting, single parenting, and temporary guardianship are also other options.
Understanding the dangers, risks, and side effects of abortion can help women or couples facing a dilemma to make an informed decision. It is also wise to explore other options aside from abortion. This way, a better future is ensured for both the mother and the baby.