What is Surgical Abortion?

A surgical abortion is a medical procedure that ends a pregnancy. A surgical abortion removes the pregnancy (the contents of the fetus in the uterus) through surgery. A surgical abortion is a good option for anyone who wants to terminate the pregnancy is a safe clinical or hospital setting. Surgical abortions remove the fetus and placenta from the mother’s womb.

A surgical abortion, also known as ‘suction aspiration abortion’ is a one day procedure, done at a clinic or hospital, under local anesthesia. Surgical abortion is a viable treatment for women who are long way into their pregnancy or for those whose pregnancy cannot be terminated by abortion pills. The MTP Law in India permits abortion through surgery only till 24th week of pregnancy.

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    Best Clinics For Abortion


      Pristyn Care - The best healthcare centre in India for safe abortion

      Pristyn Care - The best healthcare centre in India for safe abortion

      Pristyn Care is a registered and licensed healthcare centre for safe surgical abortion. Over the years, Pristyn Care has immense faith and trust of thousands of patients for delivering safe, affordable and legal surgical abortion services. The goodwill of the healthcare centre and the reputation of the gynecologists who perform surgical abortions with all ethical measures, make Pristyn Care one of the top-notch healthcare centres in India for abortion.

      All surgical abortions at Pristyn Care are performed adhering to the new amendment in the MTP Act, 1971. Pristyn Care gynecologists not only perform abortion but also counsel every patient, guide them thoroughly through the procedure and follow transparency, empathy, and fairness as the most important principles while performing a surgical abortion.

      Some of the features that make Pristyn Care a highly sought after clinic for surgical abortion are:

      • Safe, legal and painless abortion
      • Highly experienced female gynecologists
      • State-of-the-art clinics for abortion
      • Extreme level of confidentiality guaranteed
      • Professional guidance and counseling during and after the procedure

      What happens in surgical abortion?

      What happens in surgical abortion?

      Surgical abortion is usually a minor operation. Depending upon the duration of the pregnancy, the following types of surgical abortions are performed:

      Vacuum Aspiration

      • Vacuum aspiration is performed till 14 weeks of pregnancy.
      • The procedure is performed under either local or general anesthesia.
      • The procedure involves a vacuum source to detach and remove the embryo or the fetus through the cervix.
      • A thin cannula attached to a pump is passed into the uterus. Once the pump is turned on, the tissues of the fetus gently get removed from the uterine wall.

      Dilation & Curettage

      • Dilation & Curettage is a quick, bladeless, painless, and ensures complete expulsion with the same-day discharge.
      • First, the doctor gives you the medicine for the dilation of the cervix. This is particularly important for the pregnancy tissue to expel out of the birth canal. It may take 30-40 minutes or more. Then, once the cervix is dilated, the surgeon uses a curettage instrument to remove all the pregnancy tissues out of the uterus. Soon after a few hours, the cervix contracts naturally and the pregnancy is ended without any cuts or sutures.

      Induction abortion

      • During the process, the doctor gives you medicine that puts you into labor so that the uterus contracts to release the pregnancy.
      • The doctor may use suction to clear out the uterus. You may have to stay in the hospital for a day as the procedure may take longer.
      • If you experience cramps and severe pain, the doctor may prescribe some sedatives to prevent discomfort.

      How to prepare for surgical abortion?

      How to prepare for surgical abortion?

      Before your surgical abortion, your gynecologist is likely to explain you everything about the procedure during the consultation. After analyzing your health and the status of your pregnancy, the doctor may also give you some instructions on how to prepare for the abortion.

      Few things that you need to take care of while preparing for the day of your surgical abortion may include:

      • Taking your medicines (dilation medicines, pain killer, or any other regular medicines) as prescribed by the doctor
      • Arranging for someone who can drive you home after the surgery as you will not be advised to drive
      • Following
      • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption a day or two before undergoing the procedure
      • Avoiding eating or drinking anything other what is asked by the doctor on the day of your surgery
      • Getting some sanitary pad handy as you are likely to bleed after the surgery
      • Carrying a heating pad or hot water bottle to relieve you of any post-surgery cramps and pain
      • Be at the clinic or hospital at least 2 hours before the surgery

      Lastly, but most importantly, be mentally prepared for the abortion. It is important to take it easy!

      What to expect after surgical abortion?

      What to expect after surgical abortion?

      The post-surgery situation is different for every woman; while someone might return to daily work life within a day or two, others might take a longer time.

      • You may experience sever cramps after the surgical abortion which may last for 2-4 days. Some women experience the cramps for 7-10 days or even longer.
      • Many women experience vaginal bleeding along with abdominal cramps. For some, the bleeding might be minimal, for others, the bleeding might be heavier and include blood clots too. If your bleeding soaks through two or sanitary pads within an hour, consult with your gynecologist without delay.
      • To ease your pain, your gynecologist will prescribe over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers or antibiotics.
      • It may take somewhere around a month or two to come back to normal.
      • There is a slight risk of infection at the surgical site and hence you may be asked to refrain from sex until the doctor says it is okay to resume the same.
      • You may experience bouts of mood swings, depression, nausea, tiredness, vomiting and diarrhea
      • You will be guided how to take a shower (bathing is not advised usually) and the activities you can do and the ones you need to avoid.

      Recovery after surgical abortion

      Recovery after surgical abortion

      In the days following an abortion, a woman may feel drained and tired, physically and mentally. Hence, both physical and mental care is necessary post-abortion.

      Physical Care

      • Get someone (a friend or a family person) to take care of you after the procedure. Do not indulge yourself in any strenuous work.
      • Try these to reduce the abdominal cramps:
      • Use a heating pad
      • Gently massage the stomach and the lower back.
      • Over-the-counter pills to relieve pain (seek doctor consultation before)
      • Attend the follow-up consultations to make sure you are doing fine

      Emotional Care

      After having an abortion, a person’s progesterone and estrogen levels gradually drop down, which causes low moods. Anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are common mental issues during the post-abortion phase.

      To settle down with the emotional changes, take adequate time off work. Speak to family members and friends who you trust. Don’t carry the feeling only within yourself.

      Recovery after a surgical abortion is not tough but might not be easy too. But, it is different from person to person. Recovery may take longer for late-term abortions. If complications develop, recovery can take several weeks.

      Who can undergo surgical abortion in India?

      Who can undergo surgical abortion in India?

      As per the Indian Abortion Act, abortion is determined as permissible until the woman is in 20 weeks of pregnancy under the following situations:

      • Continuing the pregnancy may be a health concern for the woman or may cause physical or mental health complications to her or the baby.
      • Abnormal growth of the fetus where a child born could be severely handicapped.
      • Pregnancy due to rape or sexual abuse.
      • Pregnancy due to failure of contraceptive methods

      Surgical abortion or in-clinic abortion is permitted at a licensed clinic under the following conditions:

      • Unplanned pregnancy
      • Already have a complete family
      • The parent(s) cannot afford to raise a child
      • There are health problems in the mother which can make pregnancy complicated
      • The fetus has a problem (abnormal growth)
      • Pregnancy is a result of sexual assault
      • Mentally not prepared to raise a child
      • Failure of contraceptive methods

      What are the advantages and disadvantages of surgical abortion?

      What are the advantages and disadvantages of surgical abortion?

      According to medical reports, surgical abortion is successful in more than 98 percent of cases, while only in 2 percent of the cases, women may need another intervention or a repeated surgical procedure. Advantages of surgical abortion may include:

      • Surgical abortion is considered much more effective than medical abortion.
        The procedure has a lower failure rate than terminating a pregnancy with medicines.
      • Surgical abortion can be performed later in pregnancy compared to medical abortion.
      • The procedure is performed in one day and the woman can return home the same day.
      • The intensity of bleeding and cramping is much lesser compared to medical abortion.
      • Surgical abortion involves less bleeding and hence is considered a much safer and feasible treatment procedure for females with anemia (iron deficiency).
      • Recovery after a surgical abortion is quite fast, and in most cases, the woman can resume her normal activities within a day or two.

      The disadvantages of surgical abortion weigh much lesser than medical abortion, some of which are:

      • Surgical abortion is more expensive than medical abortion.
      • If not performed by experienced and expert doctors, the procedure may lead to infection at the surgery site.

      FAQs around Abortion

      Is surgical abortion painful?

      The answer to this shall be different for all. Usually, surgical abortion does not cause any pain since the whole procedure is conducted under the influence of anesthesia. But after the effects of anesthesia wear off, women may feel abdominal cramping and pain, the intensity of which may differ from one to another. No one can definitely tell how intense the pain would be.

      Will the fetus feel pain during the abortion?

      The fetus does not feel any pain during an abortion because neither the nervous system nor the external wall of the brain of the fetus is completely grown until the stage where abortion is legally permitted.

      When can I resume normal activities after undergoing surgical abortion?

      Surgical abortion is a one-day procedure which means you can head home after taking a few hours of rest after the surgery. You should aim to take 1-2 days of rest and allow the body to heal from the surgery and the bodily changes that take place. You can resume light work by the second day and gradually move on to doing regular work.

      How long do bleeding and cramping occur in surgical abortion?

      After a surgical abortion, you may have cramps and light bleeding for up to 2 weeks. Most women can return to normal activities 1 to 2 days after the procedure. But mild spotting can occur anytime within this duration.

      What if I am still pregnant after the surgery?

      Surgical abortion is an effective procedure that completely removes the fetus from the uterine lining. Once any of the surgical abortion methods is performed, you shall no longer remain pregnant as the fetus gets completely detached and destroyed. But in rare cases, if any remnants of the fetus still remain within the uterus, the gynecologist shall repeat the D&E procedure to evacuate all the remaining tissues.

      What is incomplete abortion?

      An incomplete abortion is the partial expulsion of the components of pregnancy within the first 20 weeks. An incomplete abortion may be identified by vaginal bleeding accompanied by abdominal or pelvic pain.

      What are the possible risks and complications of surgical abortion?

      The risks and complications in surgical abortion are very low with not more than 3 percent, which depends on how far the woman has been through in her pregnancy. However, reported complications of surgical abortion may include:

      • Infection – Some women experience infection at the surgical site, which generally is caused due to an incomplete abortion.
      • Hemorrhage – Sometimes, bleeding after surgical abortion might be very heavy in case of which suction curettage of the uterus may be required.
      • Injury to the uterus – The uterine walls are quite soft, and sometimes, using surgical instruments may perforate the uterus.
      • Injury to the cervix – Stretching the cervix too much during the procedure may injure the cervix.
      Which is better - medical or surgical abortion?

      The effectiveness of surgical abortion is much higher when compared to medical abortion. Surgical abortion is performed under the complete supervision of a trained gynecologist and medical staff. However, if cost is to be considered, medical termination of pregnancy is much less expensive than surgical abortion.

      What is the age of consent for surgical abortion in India?

      In India, as per the Abortion Act, the pregnancy of a woman who is above 18 years of age can be terminated with only her consent. If she is below 18 years of age or mentally ill, written consent of the guardian is required.

      How early in pregnancy can I abort with surgery?

      You can abort a pregnancy with surgery once you are at least 7 weeks through.

      What psychological effects can abortion have?

      Abortion may have distinctive social, psychological and mental side effects on a woman. Guilt and regret of killing a life, depression, worrying about not being able to conceive again, eating disorders, and self-destructive behaviors are some of the commonly reported psychological side effects of abortion.

      How soon after an abortion can I get pregnant?

      You can conceive again really quickly after an abortion. An egg can be released from the ovary as soon as 8 days after the surgical abortion which means you could become pregnant again before your next period.

      Is surgical abortion covered under insurance?

      No, most general health insurance plans in India do not cover the expenses of an abortion. However, several maternity health insurance plans cover the cost of abortion in India.

      Will the abortion affect my fertility?

      Having a surgical abortion does not usually affect or lower the chances of getting pregnant in the future. But if the uterus is injured or if the surgical abortion causes any kind of infection in the womb is not treated properly, it may cause some risk to future pregnancies.

      How to choose a clinic for safe surgical abortion in India?

      How to choose a clinic for safe surgical abortion in India?

      For a safe surgical abortion, the first and the most important thing is to choose a safe and licensed clinic for abortion. A clinic is considered safe for abortion if it complies on the following medical, ethical and social grounds:

      Medical grounds:

      On medical grounds, abortion is considered safe, if:

      • The abortion is performed by trained and qualified healthcare providers.
      • The clinic where the abortion is done, follows standard operating procedures.
      • The clinic is licensed for abortion under the MTP Act of India, and the gynceologists are certified to perform abortions.
      • The doctors and the staff are well trained and have performed multiple safe abortions.

      Ethical grounds

      On ethical grounds, abortion is considered safe, if:

      • The clinic as well as the doctors, are committed to protecting the confidentiality of the patients.
      • No discrimination of any kind is made by the doctor of the clinic.
      • The right to the reproductive health of every woman is considered by the medical practitioners of the clinic.
      • The doctors at the clinic do not conduct sex-selective abortions.
      • The team considers the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the woman.

      A certified healthcare centre that meets the above-mentioned criteria can be deemed fit for having a safe abortion. Though a short-termed procedure, if not conducted safely, it can adversely affect the reproductive health of the female and impact her future pregnancies. Hence, choosing a safe clinic for abortion is crucial not just for the procedure but also for a healthy future.

      Abortion for Unmarried Women in India - What the MTP Act says?

      Abortion for Unmarried Women in India - What the MTP Act says?

      The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP), 1971, allowed medical abortion up to 9 weeks of pregnancy and surgical abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. But, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, increased the time within which a woman can undergo an abortion and also regulated the conditions under which the surgical procedure could be carried out. While the MTP Act, 1971 required the opinion of one doctor if the abortion was done within 12 weeks of pregnancy and two doctors for abortion within 12-20 weeks, the amended bill allows advice of one doctor if abortion is done within 20 weeks of pregnancy and advice of two doctors in certain cases between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy.

      The amendment in the bill also recognizes that unmarried women are entitled to seek a legal abortion.

      Unmarried Indian women are legally entitled to receive a medical abortion. However, those below the age group of 18 years require consent from their guardians. Unmarried women can seek legal termination of pregnancy under the following circumstances.

      • If the pregnancy is a result of sexual assault such as rape.
      • If the pregnancy is harmful for the physical and mental health of the mother or the baby.
      • If there is a possibility that the baby may develop physical abnormalities after birth.
      • If the pregnancy is a result of contraceptive failure.

      If the woman is unmarried and 18 years or older, the doctor needs only her consent in writing. If the unmarried woman is below 18, the doctor needs written consent from a guardian before proceeding with the abortion.

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