Abortion Surgery in India

Listed below is the step by step procedure of Abortion Surgery:

  1. What is an Abortion?
  2. Why is an Abortion Required?
  3. Preoperative Preparation
  4. What is the procedure for an Abortion?
  5. Post operative care and Recovery
  6. Common side effects after Abortion
  7. Risks and Complications

What is an Abortion?

Abortion is a medical procedure to end a pregnancy before the fetus has reached the stage of viability. While there are multiple methods for an abortion, the one recommended to you often depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Early pregnancies can be ended at a clinic without the need of surgery or anaesthesia with the help of medical abortion or abortion pills. However, if you are further along in your pregnancy, medications may not be enough and surgical termination of pregnancy might be needed.

Why is an Abortion Required?

Abortion is often referred to as being part of healthcare and a basic medical necessity for women. There are numerous medical and non-medical reasons why a woman may decide to undergo an abortion procedure. 

  • Medical reasons: Complications of any kind during a delivery can be life-threatening for a woman. If tests show that your fetus has a serious structural or genetic condition which causes it to grow abnormally, going forward with a delivery can pose a serious threat to the mother’s life and a medical reason for abortion may be necessary to ensure the mother’s safety. Other medical conditions such as ectopic pregnancy, intrauterine infection and severe preeclampsia are also cases where going forward with normal delivery can be dangerous and require abortion. 
  • Non-medical reasons: Financial reasons, issues with your partner, lack of self-sufficiency, unplanned pregnancy or not wanting a child are some of the most common reasons why some women undergo an abortion procedure. 

Preoperative preparations

Prior to the abortion surgery, your doctor will likely ask about your medical history and perform a series of tests and diagnostics to assess your overall health and minimise chances of any unforeseen complications either during or after the abortion surgery. Alongside these tests, your doctor may also recommend some changes in your daily lifestyle a week before the procedure such as:

  • Refraining from smoking or drinking alcohol at least a week before the surgery
  • Do not eat or drink anything, even water, at least 6 hours prior to the surgery
  • Wear loose clothing on the day of the procedure
  • Do not take any blood thinning medications before your abortion procedure. 

What is the procedure for an Abortion?

The method of abortion that is recommended to you often depends on the stage of pregnancy you’re in. Typically, the further along you are in your pregnancy, the more complex the abortion procedure gets. There are primarily 2 methods of abortion. 

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion is an abortion procedure that is generally recommended to women who are in early stages (2 - 11 weeks) of their pregnancy. A medical abortion involves taking 2 different pills, sometimes referred to as abortion pills, to end pregnancy and does not require any surgery or anaesthesia. A medical abortion involves the following steps: 

  • The procedure begins by taking a tablet called Mifepristone which blocks the main pregnancy hormone. This tablet can be taken at your home or at a hospital and you can continue with your daily activities. 
  • After 24 to 48 hours, the second pill called Misoprostol is taken. You can put the tablet under your tongue, between your cheek and gum or inside your vagina.  
  •  Within 4-6 hours of taking misoprostol, the lining in the womb breaks down causing pain, bleeding and loss of pregnancy. 

After the procedure, it is essential that you visit your healthcare provider to make sure the medications were successful. If they were not, you may need to have a surgical abortion. 

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is a procedure that is typically recommended to women who are 12-24 weeks pregnant. Surgical abortions are performed under general anaesthesia meaning, you won't be awake during the procedure and is a good option for women who want to end their pregnancy in a safe clinical environment. There are primarily 2 methods of surgical abortion: 

  • Vacuum and Suction Aspiration: A vacuum and suction aspiration procedure is one of most commonly preferred methods of surgical abortion and takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts a speculum inside your vagina and administers a numbing medication into your cervix. Once the cervix has been fully opened up with the help of dilators, a tube is inserted into the uterus through the cervix to gently pull out pregnancy tissue with the help of suction.

  • Dilation and Evacuation: A dilation and evacuation abortion procedure is typically recommended to women who have been pregnant for more than 14 weeks. In this procedure, the surgeon uses special surgical tools called forceps and insert them into the womb through the cervix. Once the forceps are in place, the surgeon will remove the pregnancy. The entire procedure is carried out under the influence of general anaesthesia and takes about 10-20 minutes to be completed.

Post operative care and recovery

In case of a surgical abortion, it is important to take special care of yourself in the following days after surgery. Most patients are able to return to their daily activities the next day of abortion but the recovery process for you may be different. Your doctor may prescribe some medications for pain relief and faster recovery. To aid you with your recovery, your doctor may even recommend some temporary changes in your daily lifestyle that may help you recover faster and reduce chances of any complications as much as possible. Some of these changes may be: 

  • Taking a shower instead of a bath
  • Avoid sexual intercourse or inserting anything into your vagina until your doctor thinks it's safe to do so. 
  • Avoid public baths or swimming pools.
  • Use sanitary pads instead of tampons
  • Avoid any strenuous activities or activities until your doctor thinks it's safe to perform them.

Common side effects after Abortion:

After a surgical or medical abortion, some side effects are to be expected. Some of the most common side effects are given below: 

  • Vaginal bleeding: Excessive vaginal bleeding is a common side effect of abortion procedure. The amount of bleeding after an abortion differs from person to person and you may notice heavier bleeding than normal during your periods but it is considered to be normal. 
  • Cramps: Cramps are a normal side effect of an abortion procedure. Usually they are bearable but if they become too painful, your doctor may prescribe ibuprofen for some relief. Resting and refraining from any exercise can help as well. 
  • Nausea: Vomiting and nausea is one of the most common side effects to an abortion procedure but they are expected to go away after 2-3 days. For the meantime, your doctor may prescribe some medications for relief. 
  • Breast and chest pain: Your breasts may feel sensitive and tender for a few days after an abortion procedure. There may also be fluid discharge from your breasts but they are expected to return to normal after 3-4 days after surgery. 
  • Chills: Sudden chills are a common side effect to abortion pills. While these are to be expected, if they are accompanied by fever, it is recommended to inform the symptoms to your healthcare professional. 
  • Fatigue: Similar to any other surgical procedure, your body requires time and energy to recover. You may feel sleepy and tired after the procedure. Proper rest and sleep is recommended for a faster recovery. 

Risks and Complications

While abortion is a completely safe procedure, as is the case with any other surgical procedure, there can be complications. Some of the most common complications after an abortion procedure are: 

  • Infection: Chances of an infection after a medical or surgical abortion are very slim but they can still happen. Your doctor may prescribe you some antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. To lessen chances of an infection even further, avoid baths, swimming and sex while you recover. 
  • Injury to organs:  During a surgical abortion procedure, you can get injured in your uterus, bowel or bladder. In some cases, your cervix may be torn although that is more likely to happen in late stages of pregnancy.
  • Incomplete abortion: Incomplete abortions are more likely to happen in case of medical abortions than surgical abortions. In case the abortion is incomplete, surgical intervention is required. 
  • Excessive bleeding: Vaginal bleeding after an abortion procedure is normal and to be expected but excessive bleeding can be a sign of haemorrhage. Contact your healthcare professional in case bleeding does not stop on its own. 

The decision to undergo an abortion is complex and difficult to make for a woman. Whatever the reason for you to undergo an abortion may be, however, it is a completely personal choice and you do not require anyone’s consent to undergo the procedure. 

Modern methods of abortion have made the procedure very accessible and minimally invasive. Abortion procedures are completely safe and while there are risks of complications, they are relatively rare, treatable and easily avoidable with proper care and precautions by the doctor and the patient.

Get in touch with an experienced gynaecologist and have a detailed discussion about Abortion procedures and their costs. Book an appointment for free and learn more about the specifics of abortion surgery.


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