Health Risks of Abortion Vs. Childbirth
by, 04-27-2012 at 05:41 PM (5658 Views)
If you have an unplanned pregnancy and are considering whether to abort or give your baby up for adoption, it is important to know the health risks of each. Being aware of the physical and emotional consequences abortion and childbirth can be helpful in making your decision.
Health Risks of Chemical or Medical Abortion
Abortions initiated through a pill or medicine are only an option for women less than 9 weeks into their pregnancy. The risks of a medical abortion include heavy bleeding, infection, damage to the uterus, and incomplete abortion that may need to be completed with surgery. Furthermore, if you decide you want to keep the baby after having taken the medication, your baby may already be dead or may suffer significant birth defects if the pregnancy can be saved.
Furthermore, women with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, as well as women who smoke heavily or have only limited access to emergency health services, should not consider medical abortions.
Health Risks of Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
Many surgical abortion procedures involve dilation and curettage (D&C). This involves the dilation of the cervix and the physical extraction of the developing fetus with a sharp or suction-based tool. Because it involves anesthesia and surgical intervention, there are certain risks of D&C.
Due to the anesthesia, you may experience nausea, vomiting, or an allergic reaction. Other common side effects of a D&C include mild cramping and a few days of spotting or light bleeding. Rarely, other physical risks of D&C include perforation or puncture of the uterus, heavy bleeding and infection, damage to the cervix, or scar tissue on the uterine wall. In some cases, these may make future pregnancies difficult.
You may be able to identify some of these complications by heavy bleeding, fever, foul-smelling discharge, or excessive pain after the procedure, although perforations and cervix damage are often identified and addressed through additional surgery during the procedure.
Health Risks of Induction Abortion
Induction abortion is not commonly performed anymore, but is an abortion option that can be performed in the second and third trimesters. The procedure involves having labor induced and a solution injected into the amniotic sac (such as salt water, digoxin, or potassium chloride). It is more risky than dilation and evacuation (D&E); induction abortionís risks include excessive bleeding, accidental injection of the abortive solution into your bloodstream, uterine scarring or excessive contractions and pain, infection, uterine rupture, and incomplete abortion. Many of these side effects are rare.
Health Risks of Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
The standard method of abortion performed during the second trimester, dilation and evacuation (D&E) is usually a safe procedure. Risks of D&E are rare but include uterine perforation or rupture, cervix or uterine scarring and damage, infection, heavy bleeding or hemorrhaging, severe cramping, blood clots and leftover tissue not removed during the abortion. In this last case, a repeat suction or vacuum abortion may be necessary.
Emotional and Psychological Risks of Abortion
In addition to the physical risks accompanying medical and surgical abortions, emotional complications of abortion are common. Some are caused by changes in levels of pregnancy-related hormones while others develop from personal circumstances and the stage of pregnancy at the time of the abortion. Emotional side effects are most common in abortions performed at the second trimester and later as well as in cases where the abortion was coerced, performed for reasons of the babyís anticipated birth defects, done without support from the motherís loved ones, or when abortion conflicts with the individualís religious or ethical beliefs.
Common emotional side effects include regret, guilt or shame, sadness, anger, feelings of loneliness or isolation, problems with personal relationships, loss of self-confidence, and general anxiety. In some cases, abortion can lead to more serious or lasting emotional issues, such as depression, nightmares and trouble sleeping, eating disorders, and even suicidal thoughts.
Health Risks of Pregnancy
Just as with abortion, pregnancy is not without its risks. Complications of pregnancy can include morning sickness, stretch marks, and aches and pains. In addition, some women develop complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, placental abruption, miscarriage, and premature labor. In very rare cases, childbirth can result in hemorrhaging or uterine damage, and some pregnancies require surgical delivery by means of a Cesarean section. Physical complications with pregnancy are more common among women over the age of 35 or with other health concerns, such as diabetes, alcohol or drug addiction, or other comorbidities.
Emotional complications of carrying a pregnancy to term can include anxiety about the future or your changing physical appearance, postpartum depression, and mood swings.
Making a Decision: Abortion Versus Childbirth
Neither abortion nor childbirth are without substantial physical and emotional risks. Although physical complications are rare for both processes, it is crucial that you make a decision you can live with and be happy about emotionally and personally for the rest of your life; after you abort or carry to term there is no changing your mind. For this reason it is essential that you do not rush your decision and that you do not allow others to coerce you into something you are not comfortable doing.
Written by: KatieB