Many women seem to get pregnant at the drop of a hat, while others must try for years to conceive. Occasionally, pregnancy occurs at an inopportune time, making an expectant mother wonder if an abortion might be her best choice. While an abortion may help you choose the best time to become a mother, there is a rare chance it could affect your ability to conceive in the future.
Surgical and or medical abortions are procedures that intentionally end pregnancies, while “spontaneous abortion” refers to a miscarriage. Medical abortions involve medicine, while surgical abortions require surgery. Doctors usually perform medical and surgical abortions during the first three months of pregnancy, also referred to as the first trimester.
During a medical abortion, a pregnant woman normally ingests a pill that blocks the production of progesterone, a hormone necessary for pregnancy. A few days later, she takes another medication that causes uterine contractions, emptying her uterus. While there are different types of surgical abortions, standard procedures involve emptying the uterus by scraping or suctioning. During a surgical abortion, your doctor stretches your cervix to dilate the opening of your uterus and then inserts a suction tube, syringe or sharp-edged instrument to remove the fetus, ending your pregnancy.
While abortions are generally safe procedures, certain complications may occur. Although rare, you may experience an infection, hemorrhage, damage to your cervix or uterus, as well as the possibility of an incomplete abortion, an abortion that leaves behind some products of pregnancy. Warning signs of abortion complications include severe abdominal pain, foul-smelling discharge, bleeding heavier than a normal period and a fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Some women may experience emotional difficulties after an abortion.
Physical recovery can vary, depending on the stage of your pregnancy and the method of abortion. Your doctor may advise you to avoid sexual intercourse for a few weeks. Menstruation normally begins within four to six weeks after an abortion. Menstruation indicates your body and hormones are returning to their prepregnancy state. Because pregnancy can occur soon after an abortion, it is important to discuss birth control with your doctor before resuming sex.
According to MayoClinic.com, abortions rarely cause problems in subsequent pregnancies. Most women who obtain medical or surgical abortions from health care professionals don’t experience problems conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term. While surgical abortions may weaken your cervix or damage your uterus, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises that damage to the cervix occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 abortions, making this a rare circumstance.