THE SECRET DANGERS OF ABORTION

“I was petrified. I was only 17. My family was going to skin me alive if they found out. I had no other choice. Mind you, I’m Nigerian and Abortions are illegal in my country.

I really wasn’t ready to be a teen mom. On that day I was given some pills to take. At about midnight I woke up with horrendous cramps and I passed clots. The next day my breasts started to leak some liquid. I ended up with severe pains in my breast which required immediate management. To sum it all, I ended up becoming emotionally scarred. I haven’t been able to get into a relationship with any other man since then. In short, it broke me’’

OVERVIEW

According to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease control, an abortion is a pregnancy termination prior to 20weeks’ gestation or a fetus born weighing less than 500g. Many people all over the world have different views about abortion. There is a strong debate surrounding the moral, legal and religious status of abortion. For some people, a woman has every right over her body and thus, can do whatever she pleases with it. For others, abortion is consciously taking the risk of killing another and the fetus has the right to life. Some people think in some cases, abortions can relieve the mother of the emotional trauma of having to carry to term knowing very well the baby won’t survive.

TYPES OF ABORTIONS

Depending on how far pregnancy is, there are many types of abortions. However, there are two main types of abortion namely SPONTANEOUS ABORTION and INDUCED ABORTION. A spontaneous abortion happens naturally or by accident whereas an induced abortion occurs when deliberate steps are taken to end a pregnancy. There are two types of Induced Abortion namely MEDICAL ABORTION and SURGICAL ABORTION.

  • Medical Abortion

Medical abortion procedures use medication to terminate a pregnancy. This can be done up until 9 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion involves the removal of a pregnancy by gentle suction. There are different types of surgical Abortion namely Vacuum Aspiration (performed between weeks 2 and 12 of pregnancy), Dilation and Curettage (performed within the 1st 13 weeks of pregnancy), Labor Induction (performed between weeks 13 and 21/22 of pregnancy), Dilation and Evacuation (performed within the 2nd 12 weeks of pregnancy) and Hysterectomy (Performed between weeks 22 and 38 of pregnancy).

DANGERS OF ABORTION

Abortions can have long term ramifications on a woman. Some dangers of abortions include:

  • Excessive bleeding

May occur as a result of a puncture in the womb. Blood transfusion may be required in severe cases

  • Damage to the cervix

This may occur as a result of the stretching of the cervix for surgical instruments to pass through during surgical abortion.

Surgical instruments may puncture the walls of the uterus during the abortion procedure. A hysterectomy may be required in severe cases.

  • Infection of the womb

Bacteria from the cervix or vagina may enter the womb and cause infection. If not treated properly, it can spread to the ovaries and fallopian tubes causing a PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).

  • Ahserman’s syndrome

This can occur when there’s scar tissue formation on the walls of the uterus. This can cause future miscarriages, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility.

  • Depression

Some women may be stricken with guilt and emptiness wondering whether they made the right decision. Abortions can adversely affect the mental health of a woman. Some women also experience ‘Anniversary Syndrome’ which is a set of unsettling feelings which occur on the anniversary of a significant experience.

  • Incomplete abortion

There may be a chance where remnants of the fetus or placenta may not be fully removed from the uterus. This may lead to bleeding and infection.

  • Inability to get pregnant in the future

Multiple abortions can put a woman’s future pregnancies in jeopardy. It may place some women at an elevated risk for preterm birth, placenta previa, ectopic pregnancy etc.

  • Death

Although rare, death can occur as a result of severe infection from an incomplete abortion. A study in Finland shows 60 percent of women who experience post abortion sequela report suicidal ideation and 28 percent attempt suicide.

CONCLUSION

Contact your health personnel and be aware of the risks associated with having an abortion. Make sure you’re mentally prepared for the emotional aspect and if you’re not ready to have children, use protection. You don’t have to risk it. The aftermath of an abortion comprises of a myriad of unsettling emotions. Make the right decision for yourself and your baby.