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Abortion Methods & Medical Risks
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of dying as a direct result of a legally induced abortion is less than one per 100,000. This risk increases with the length of pregnancy. For example:
Complications associated with an abortion may make it difficult to become pregnant in the future or carry a pregnancy to term.
The risk of complications for the woman increases with advancing gestational age.
Pelvic Infections (Sepsis):
Bacteria (germs) from the vagina may enter the cervix and uterus and cause
an infection. Antibiotics are used to treat an infection. In rare cases, a
repeat suction, hospitalization or surgery may be needed. Infection rates
are less than 1% for dilation and suction curettage/vacuum aspiration
abortion, 1.5% for dilation and evacuation (D & E), and 5% for labor
Incomplete Abortion: Fetal
parts or other products of pregnancy may not be completely emptied from the
uterus, requiring further medical procedures. Incomplete abortion may result
in infection and bleeding. The reported rate of such complications is less
than 1% after a dilation and evacuation (D & E).
A drug is given that stops the hormones needed for the fetus to grow. In addition, it causes the placenta to separate from the uterus, ending the pregnancy.
A second drug is given by mouth or placed in the vagina causing the uterus to contract and expel the fetus and placenta. A return visit to the doctor is required for follow-up to make sure the abortion is completed.
A local anesthetic is applied or injected into or near the cervix to prevent discomfort or pain. The opening of the cervix is gradually stretched with a series of dilators. The thickest dilator used is about the width of a fountain pen. A tube is inserted into the uterus and is attached to a suction system that will remove the fetus, placenta and membranes from the woman's uterus. A follow up appointment should be made with the doctor.
A local anesthetic is applied or injected into or near the cervix to prevent discomfort or pain. The opening of the cervix is gradually stretched with a series of dilators. The thickest dilator used is about the width of a fountain pen. A spoon-like instrument (curette) is used to scrape the walls of the uterus to remove the fetus, placenta, and membranes. A follow up appointment should be made with the doctor.
Sponge-like tapered pieces of absorbent material are placed into the cervix. This material becomes moist and slowly opens the cervix. It will remain in place for several hours or overnight. A second or third application of the material may be necessary. Following dilation of the cervix, intravenous medications may be given to ease discomfort or pain and prevent infection. After a local or general anesthesia has been administered, the fetus and placenta are removed from the uterus with medical instruments such as forceps and suction curettage. Occasionally for removal, it may be necessary to dismember the fetus.
Labor induction may require a hospital stay. Medicine is placed in the cervix to soften and dilate it. There are three ways to start labor early: (1) medication is given directly into the bloodstream of the pregnant woman starting uterine contractions; (2) medication inserted into the vagina to start uterine contractions, and (3) medication injected directly into the amniotic sac by inserting a needle through the mother's abdomen and into the amniotic sac. This stops the pregnancy and starts uterine contractions. Labor and delivery of the fetus during this period are similar to the experiences of childbirth. The duration of labor depends on the size of the baby and the contractibility of the uterus. There is a small chance that a baby could live for a short period of time depending on the baby's gestational age and health at the time of delivery.
If the placenta is not completely removed during labor induction, the doctor must open the cervix and use suction curettage (removal of uterine contents by low-pressure suction).
Labor induction abortion carries the highest risk for problems, such as infection and heavy bleeding. When medicines are used to start labor, there is a risk of rupture of the uterus. Possible complications of labor induction include infection, heavy bleeding, stroke and high blood pressure. Other medical risks may include blood clots in the uterus, heavy bleeding, cut or torn cervix, perforation of the wall of the uterus, pelvic infection, incomplete abortion, anesthesia-related complications.
This method requires that the woman be
admitted into a hospital. A hysterotomy may be performed if labor cannot be
started by induction, or if the woman or her fetus is too sick to undergo
labor. A hysterotomy is the removal of the fetus by surgically cutting open
the abdomen and uterus. Anesthetic medication, given into the woman’s vein
or back, or inhaled into the lungs, is administered so the woman will not
feel the surgery.
This method may be performed between 20
and 32 weeks gestation. Sponge-like tapered pieces of absorbent material are
placed into the cervix. This material becomes moist and slowly opens in the
cervix. It will remain in place for one to two days. A second or third
application of the material may be necessary. After a local or general
anesthesia has been administered, the fetus and placenta are removed from
the uterus with medical instruments such as forceps, suction and curette (a
spoon-like instrument). It may be necessary to dismember the fetus.
Many women suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following abortion. PTSD is a psychological dysfunction resulting from a traumatic experience. Symptoms of PTSD include: