Purpose: An abortion surgery may be recommended in the following cases:
- Genetic disorder in the unborn baby
- Birth defect in the unborn baby
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Pregnancy due to a traumatic incident like rape
- Financial instability to support and raise a child
- Pregnancy detrimental to the mother’s health
- Physical examination: The doctor evaluates the pregnant woman physically and notes down her medical history and family history.
- Pelvic exam: One or two of the doctor's gloved fingers are inserted into the vagina to check the size, shape, and position of the woman’s uterus (womb) and ovaries (from where female eggs are produced). A pelvic exam helps in determining the stage of pregnancy and detecting ectopic pregnancies (when the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus instead of inside the uterus).
- Urine pregnancy test: The detection of the hormone HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) indicates pregnancy.
- Blood test: The blood type of the patient and the presence of any underlying infections are detected using this test.
- Ultrasound: This test involves the use of sound waves to obtain images of the internal organs of the female reproductive system.
Abortion surgery can be performed under local anesthesia (a numbing agent), conscious sedation (a condition in which the patient is awake and relaxed), deep sedation, or general anesthesia (when the patient is made unconscious before the procedure).
Abortion surgery can be performed in the following two ways:
1. Aspiration Abortion:
- The procedure is performed on pregnant women between 14 to 16 weeks of pregnancy.
- A speculum, which is a medical tool shaped like a duck’s bill to view inside a hollow part of the body, is then inserted through the vagina to examine the uterus.
- A tube, known as a cannula, is then attached to the speculum to empty the uterus by suction.
- The tissue is now removed entirely from the uterus and the pregnancy is terminated.
- This procedure takes approximately five to ten minutes to complete.
2. Dilation and Evacuation (D & E) Abortion:
- This procedure is generally performed after the completion of the 16th week of pregnancy.
- A cervical dilator is then inserted through the vagina for opening the cervix.
- A speculum is now used for opening the cervix.
- A curette (metal loop-shaped tool) is now used for the removal of any remaining tissue that lines the uterus.
- Suction is now used for the removal of the embryo.
- This procedure takes approximately ten to twenty minutes for completion.
The following complications are associated with an abortion surgery:
Damage to the uterus (womb)
Damage to the uterine lining
Damage to the cervix
Allergic reaction to the anesthesia used
Blood clot formation in the uterus
Perforation of the uterus
Failure of the uterus to contract after surgery
Incomplete removal of tissue from the uterus
- In most cases, the woman may resume her daily activities the day after the surgery.
- It is normal to have irregular bleeding after the surgery. Sanitary napkins and not tampons should be used to control the same.
- The doctor may prescribe painkillers and antibiotics to get relief from pain and infection.
- The doctor may also prescribe certain medications to help in the contraction of the uterus and its return to its original size.
- Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for a week after the surgery.
- Sexual intercourse should be avoided for a week after surgery.
- After resuming sexual intercourse, the male partner should use a condom to prevent infection.