- by Dr Jameela Khalid
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- Apr 06 2017
Different types of medically prescribed abortion methods
Surgical options like suction curettage, evacuation, dilation and vacuum aspiration are available, beyond ten weeks.
Terminating a pregnancy is one of the toughest decisions any woman might have to face.
There may be some serious growth problems with the fetus that make the chances of survival of the fetus very feeble or a lot of times the life of the expectant mother is at risk due to complications.
What follows is not to judge the morality or evaluate the ethics of terminating a pregnancy. But this is very important information of the alternatives a woman can opt for when she has to decide on an abortion. One needs to keep in mind that these options can be explored only under trained and certified medical practitioners, in the states where such medical procedures are legally permitted.
Different types of abortion methods:
Dilation and evacuation
Vacuum aspiration/suction curettage/dilation and curettage
Abortion options by trimester
Options by trimester
To induce abortion, a woman can take medication or she can undergo a surgical abortion, during her 1st trimester.
The only options during the 2nd trimester are surgical procedures like: Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) or Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
In a lot of countries pregnancy beyond 2nd trimester is illegal and even if permitted it may be due to unavoidable medical conditions and reasons.
The fetus is believed to be able to live out of the womb or “realistic” if the gestation period is more than twenty four weeks. The procedures at this given point of time and after are known as late term abortions. If due to some unavoidable reason if one has to terminate the pregnancy at this stage then usually a DE&E procedure is done or in some cases if required, labor induction abortion is performed.
Only during the early stages of pregnancy this surgery free option can be used.2 medications are prescribed to be taken over a few days. This medications needs to be taken at home. This process works effectively if it is done in a time frame of 9 weeks or 63 days of the last menstrual cycle. Some studies also show that in some cases it works up to 10 weeks or 70 days after the last menstrual cycle.
Dilation and Curettage/ VacuumaAspiration/ Suction curettage
From a woman’s last period, this surgical option is available up to 16 weeks. The actual procedure takes around 5 to 10 minutes and for the rest in the hospital or clinic’s recovery area it takes about 30 to 60 minutes. The cervix is opened using dilators (thin rods) after local or general anesthesia is given. A tube is slipped into the uterus via the cervix. A hand-held suction machine is used by the doctor to evacuate the uterus. Menstrual-like cramps are felt during the procedure.
Dilation and evacuation:
Pregnancies between fifteen and twenty four weeks of gestation are terminated through this procedure. Either a day before or earlier on the day of surgery, the cervical preparation needed is done.
Before the doctor can examine the uterus, general anesthesia is given into the veins. Dilators used to stretch the cervix if needed and a speculum is inserted into the vagina.
The pregnancy is terminated with the help of narrow forceps, after which a tube is put and a suction machine used to eliminate the pregnancy.
You will need to stay under observation and recovery for a few hours before you are allowed to go home, though the actual procedure takes ten to twenty minutes, after undergoing the general anesthesia. Post the procedure, one should avoid driving for at least twenty four hours.
For those who are into the 23rd week of pregnancy or more, an injection is given to stop the heartbeat of the fetus before the surgery starts. Psychologically this further step can be very difficult, so before the procedure begins and even after it is always good to be assisted by someone.
Labor Induction:During this process, uterine contractions are triggered so that the body can remove the fetus along with the placenta. This is done using medication.
PS: Names of medications used during the procedure not mentioned due to precautionary measures.
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