Post-abortion: How to cope up, heal early and live better
Abortion is a unique experience for every woman who undergoes one. It impacts women physically, mentally as well as emotionally. But the most important thing is ‘To Heal, To Recover’.
This post intends to help women who have just had an abortion deal with the changes in their lives. Many changes are natural and many others come with an abortion experience.
Having an abortion is in itself a critical choice and so is the recovery and healing after the abortion. It is important how women are taken care of during the abortion. Abortion procedures play a major role in post-abortion recovery.
Safe abortion procedures are performed minimizing risks and side-effects of abortion. However, women must pay great attention to self-care after abortion. This is essential to help her rapidly heal physically, emotionally as well as psychologically.
Who chooses to have an abortion? Are you also looking forward to having one?
Abortion in India is availed by many women coming from all walks of life. Many are Indian citizens and many others chose to travel to Bangalore, India to avail a safe, legal and confidential abortion.
It’s okay to have an abortion! But you need to have a safe one.
We often hear and read abortion stories of various women: married, unmarried, single mothers, widows, divorced women. There are mothers, unmarried girls, sisters, wives, aunts and even grannies sometimes who come up for abortions. And if you too are one, do not hesitate in availing a safe abortion.
Out of disgrace, stigma, society, culture or anything, please do not opt for unsafe abortion. Unsafe abortions can put your health and life at risk. Hence, it is advised to calm down and look into safe and confidential abortion options.
Abortion and profession are nowhere linked!
If you think that women who seek abortions belong to only some specified professions, you are wrong! There are families, societies and even communities where women are not allowed to opt for their preferred professional choices due to an illogical connection they draw between the profession and the personal lives of women who opt for these professions.
If you are also a victim of such irrational choices, do not worry. Abortion and profession are nowhere linked. They are both independent choices of women and girls.
Whether you are a teenager, a student, a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, cabin crew member, lawyer, police officer, journalist, corporate professional, businesswoman, a housemaker or pursue any other profession, it is okay to have an abortion. However, it is essential to be a safe abortion for your health and life.
Abortion and culture are also nowhere linked!
Again there may be a myth regarding a link between cultures and backgrounds. It is a misconception that women coming from some cultural backgrounds or having religious beliefs are the ones who are most likely to avail of abortions. This is again not true.
An unwanted pregnancy can come to any woman regardless of her culture, status, religion or any other discriminating factor.
Reasons for obtaining an abortion:
A wide range of circumstances may put women in circumstances where they may require abortions. This includes all women, married, unmarried, in a long-term relationship, engaged, single women, victims of sexual assault and others.
The legal status of Abortion in India:
India has women-friendly abortion laws. And due to the liberal abortion rules, many women travel to India for legal abortions. Abortion in India is legal for up to 20 gestation weeks in normal circumstances and up to 24 weeks for special cases.
Legally permissible situations:
Abortion in India can be availed in situations like:
- In events contraceptives used failed and resulted in conception.
- In events where pregnancy is required to be terminated to protect the woman’s physical/mental health and/or life.
- When sexual assault caused the pregnancy.
- Also, when fetal deformities and other serious abnormalities have been detected.
Consent for abortion in India:
Abortion in India can be availed only on the consent of the woman if she has attained an age of 18 years. Consent from parents is required when the abortion to be done is of a minor girl. And it may also be sought from parents/guardians if the woman is incapable of giving her consent.
What goes in a woman’s life is her choice and we strictly refrain from entering into anyone’s privacy. We believe, each woman should have access to safe abortion services regardless of her privacy concerns.
She should come out stronger, healthier and happier after a safe abortion. All these are essential for her to cope up and move on.
Abortion is not a single or a small decision. It may be a small medical procedure, but its impact can either make a woman feel relieved or distressed. Every woman has a diverse abortion experience. Although the reasons for which abortion is availed and that what has been done cannot be changed; yet a woman struggling with post-abortion complications and other issues can be helped.
Women need assistance after an abortion and it is normal. They need a proper diet for physical recovery and emotional support for psychological well-being.
But before we begin the journey of your post-abortion recovery, we would like to assure you. You know the best for yourself. And abortion is one such decision that you made as to the best choice at that time. We always recommend making well-informed choices.
Abortion choice is personal or may be prescribed in some cases. And if you have had an abortion, the choice you made was the best you could think of. That point of your life is now past and you have to move on towards a healthy and happy tomorrow.
Let’s begin with your post-abortion journey.
Physical support post-abortion:
Methods of abortion and post-abortion care:
The medical method of abortion: How to deal post-abortion:
The medical method of abortion in India may be availed only for terminating very early pregnancies, i.e., less than 6-8 weeks. It is done with safe abortion pills.
Here is what you expect, what is normal and what is not and how to cope post medical abortion.
Abdominal cramps and pain:
The medical method of abortion involves abdominal cramps to bring about the expulsion of products of conception. It is normal to experience the associated pain. If you are at your home during the abortion, have someone by your side.
At home, you may try using heating pads to ease the cramps and help with the pain.
In case the pain becomes unbearable, you may need some nursing care. The abortion hospital may prescribe some pain management medicines to be taken. You may take them. However, if the pain worsens, you should always be ready to be able to rush to the hospital as a part of emergency care. Always stay in touch with the hospital until abortion is done.
With the medical method of abortion, bleeding will happen since the uterine contents will evacuate through vaginal bleeding. It is normal to bleed heavily for 3-4 days.
But in case you bleed for more than a week, you need to schedule an appointment with the doctor. Even if the pain does not start to decline, it’s time to see the doctor.
It may be a case of incomplete abortion or some other post-abortion complication. With the medical method of abortion, incomplete abortions are common. They are then completed through surgical means.
Tender or swollen breasts and sore nipples:
This is the early symptom of any pregnancy which is experienced due to hormonal changes. They wean away with time as the body starts eliminating the excess hormones. Until then, it is normal to be feeling like-pregnant for quite some time.
However, if you do not feel better by 10-12 days, you may get your hormonal profile tested. It may be performed at any diagnostic lab with a small blood sample. Reports can be expected the same day. And you may feel free to consult the doctor with the reports.
In case the doctor sees hormonal levels higher than expected, you may be having an incomplete abortion. And the doctor shall ascertain the same through a transvaginal scan. And if true, you may need corrective surgery to complete the abortion.
Feeling tired is both psychological and real. You may feel exhausted and it is very normal to be feeling so. After all, you have had blood loss also. Weakness is common.
And to cope up with the same, you need to have a healthy diet. You may also need some multivitamins, multimineral, antioxidant and nutraceutical supplements for early healing.
Have plenty of iron-rich vegetables and fruits. If you are a non-vegetarian, you may have lean meat.
Vegetarians and vegans may add beans, legumes, lentils, peas as a rich source of iron.
Some vegetables that are rich sources of iron and you may include them in your diet after an abortion include:
- String beans
- Dark leafy greens – Dandelion, collard, kale, spinach.
- Brussels sprouts
- Tomatoes and more.
As far as fruits are concerned, you may have figs, dates, raisins, prunes, mulberries, etc.
You may have some dried fruits like Pistachios, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Flax seeds, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, hemp seeds and Macadamia nuts.
Fever with or without chills:
Fever after an abortion is an indicator of infection. A slight fever that is manageable may be normal. And you may be prescribed a medicine to be taken in case of fever. Still, in a case fever is high and improvement is not seen, it is time to see the doctor. You can expect to be checked for the infection and medicines prescribed for the same.
Some symptoms are normal and some may need management. However, it is recommended that you do not perform self-diagnosis and self-abortion. The complications and risks with abortion pills increase with the increase in gestation length.
At certified abortion hospitals, you can expect to have safe abortion procedures. The premises are hygienic and even medical equipment are sterilized before and after each procedure. This minimizes the risks of abortions. Also, medicines are administered during the procedure and prescribed to be taken post-abortion.
Although the hospital may take care to prevent infections during the procedure, you will have to take self-care at home post-abortion.
If you visit a good abortion clinic, the chances of allergic reaction complications are minimized. This is because the doctor ensures it beforehand whether you are allergic to some prescribed medicines.
However, in case you experience rashes with or without itching, swelling anywhere in the body, you should consult the doctor. It may have resulted from an allergic reaction to any medicine.
It is advisable to inform the doctor if you know what substances and medicines you are allergic to.
This may happen out of weakness for which we mentioned, healthy diet and supplements may be needed.
But there is another instance where it may happen in case an unsafe abortion was performed with abortion pills. At the best abortion clinic, the length and location of pregnancy are checked before prescribing the method of abortion.
But if you have had self-abortion or unsafe abortion without checking for the pregnancy location, this risk may be there. It might be due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.
This risk is preventable if you get your pregnancy location checked before an abortion. However, the post-abortion complication may need surgery to remove the ruptured pregnancy. Internal bleeding or hemorrhage has to be stopped to save the life of the woman.
This may affect future pregnancies also. For details on ectopic pregnancy complications, prevention and treatment, you may click on the below link.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disturbances:
These are quite common for up to a couple of days. But the effects of medicines and hormones may wean with time. However, if the condition is worse, you should seek an appointment with the doctor.
For home remedies, you may try to have a bland diet for a couple of days. Avoid acidic foods. Add fibrous items to your meal. And also try to have some hot beverages rather than cold ones.
You may also try some fruits like Oranges that are rich in Vitamin C.
The surgical method of abortion: How to deal post-abortion:
The surgical method of abortion in India is recommended for pregnancies beyond 8 weeks of length. Up to 12 weeks, it may be performed through the Vacuum Aspiration method. And beyond that up to 20 weeks by the Dilatation & Evacuation (D&E) method of abortion.
Some of the complications of Surgical abortion are similar to that of medical abortion. And some others need different management.
Here is what you expect, what is normal and what is not and how to cope with post-surgical abortion.
Bleeding after a surgical abortion is normal for up to 3-4 days. Many women do not bleed at all. This usually depends on how the procedure was performed.
If you have had a surgical abortion at AHB, you may experience zero to minimum bleeding. This is because the abortion team there is highly qualified and extensively trained. They endeavor to remove all the products of gestation in one go. And even make use of post-abortion uterine packaging for rapid recovery.
With unprofessional abortion, the risk of incomplete abortion is there even with the V&A method of abortion. The doctor needs to be highly experienced to perform suction abortions efficiently. Hence, if you experience bleeding for longer than a week, it may be because of incomplete abortion. You may need the D&E method to remove all gestation products entirely from your uterine cavity.
Abdominal cramps and pain:
Again, this depends on how the procedure was performed and its efficiency. Gentle care abortions are painless abortion procedures. Pain is not experienced during the abortion due to anesthesia.
And even after the procedure, only a few women experience abdominal cramps and pain. This may be due to the body getting normal after the abortion. The pain is usually mild and is expected to improve in a day or two. The doctor may prescribe you some analgesics to help you find relief in case you experience pain.
However, in case the pain persists, please speak to your doctor.
Tender or swollen breasts and sore nipples, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, gastrointestinal disturbances and allergies:
Same management as with the medical method of abortion.
You can expect the post-abortion complications to be lesser with the suction method of abortion. This is because it is a single appointment procedure. Moreover, it is more efficient. And you don’t even have to wait for up to a week to know whether the abortion was complete.
Although you can resume your daily activities the next day or after a couple of days after the abortion. However, there are some precautions you should take to help you heal early and completely. Some of these are:
Take enough rest and sleep. Our body heals both physically and mentally when we sleep better. It even puts anxiety off the bed.
Avoid strenuous exercises altogether at least for a week. Give your body time to heal internally. You should do Yoga and breathing exercises. They may help you stay calm and relax. Breathing exercises are particularly recommended as they help in healing at the cellular level.
Eat a healthy diet. Do not eat stale food or leftovers or junk food. Eat freshly and properly cooked food. Avoid acidic foods. Include fibrous items on your platter. Some vegetables and fruits have been mentioned above in the post that you may include in your diet. Do not eat frozen food. And yes, avoid too fatty and high-starch food items. Drink enough water, fresh juices and healthy beverages.
Do not douche. Don’t even immerse yourself in water like in a bathtub or a pool. Avoid it for a few days.
It is better to use high-quality sanitary napkins or maternity pads after abortion. Change the sanitary pads regularly.
Do not use tampons. Bigger clots may not be absorbed by them. They are also not 100% leak-proof. They are likely to cause infections. Toxic shock syndrome is one complication that may happen while using a tampon.
Although you may use a menstrual cup, it may be better to use a sanitary pad post-abortion. You may use it in your next menstrual period.
Although you may feel better after 3-4 days and may have intercourse. But, try to avoid it for up to a week to prevent any kind of infection. Even beyond that, prevent unprotected intimacy in case you want birth control.
The tip: You are at a higher probability of getting pregnant after an abortion.
Try to be with your partner or a friend or some loved one to help you with emotional support. Staying alone may plunge you into negative feelings.
If you are a non-vegetarian, you may get sufficient Vitamin B12 from the diet. However, if you are vegetarian or vegan, try including supplements for Vitamin B12. It is best to have your deficiencies accomplished through natural sources. Yet, sometimes you may need supplements. Talk to your doctor regarding the supplements you may need. Do not self-administer any nutraceuticals also. The doctor may prescribe you the needed supplements like iron, calcium, Vitamins B, C, D3, antioxidants and others.
Emotional support post-abortion:
Abortion is a big decision in itself. And women may experience diverse feelings after they have had an abortion. Some may even experience mixed feelings.
Abortion experience plays a major role in how a woman feels after having one. Since abortions may be emotionally traumatizing, women should be taken good care of not only physically but also mentally.
Physical wounds heal earlier than emotional ones. They may be more traumatizing and hence it is advised that you better stay with a loved one after abortion.
Some of the feelings are relief, empowerment, loss, regret, anger and self-blame. It is important to realize that you did what was best for you during that time.
Most women are likely to feel relieved when they seek abortions for unwanted pregnancies in Bangalore. Self-decision and consent also make them feel empowered for being able to decide on their reproductive choices.
However, abortion when sought for wanted pregnancies like the ones when prescribed may have a more emotional impact. The sense of loss, anger and regret are common. However, it is important to come out of it stronger.
You may try to speak to your friends, be a little social, listen to light music. Avoid sad songs. It may be better to hear some soft music. Try going out to a relaxing place like an evening walk in a park. Get yourself massaged.
You may always feel free to speak to your therapist in case dealing with emotions that are becoming troublesome for you. Stay tuned to know more. We may come up with a special post dedicated to emotional care post-abortion.
If you have any unaddressed queries, feel free to schedule an appointment at American Hospital Bangalore. You will find the help you need at the best abortion hospital in India.