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Abortion is also known as “pregnancy termination” is when a pregnancy is ended or forced out to hinder the birth of the child. It is the deliberate act of removing an undeveloped fetus or embryo out of the womb. The termination of an unborn child can be deliberate or accidental. The deliberate removal is termed “induced abortion” while the accidental removal is known as “miscarriage”. Miscarriage or pregnancy loss is the natural loss of an embryo before it becomes independent and mature. It is associated with vaginal bleeding which may be painful or not.
There are two ways by which abortion is being carried out. They are through medical or surgical means. The medical means make use of pills to get rid of the pregnancy and it is used for a pregnancy that is still in its early stage i.e. not more than ten weeks. Some medications are also available to force out six month pregnancies but this is dangerous. These pills are not over-the-counter medications and can cause miscarriages, expansion of the womb which eventually results in severe pain and bleeding.
The surgical method also is known as Dilatation and Curettage ‘D&C’ involves a minor operation done on the patients to bring out the immature fetus with the use of forceps inserted into the neck of the womb. The doctor opens the cervix and cleans up the womb with suction. He then scraps off the fetus, placenta and remaining wastes. This process can be done with or without anesthetics.
Causes Of Miscarriages Spontaneous Abortion
Miscarriage occurs more in young pregnancy (trimester/first three months) and can also surface in the middle (second trimester) and end-stage of pregnancy. Many factors are associated with miscarriages. The first is stress, anxiety, and worry during pregnancy. A pregnant woman is always advised not to engage in stressful activities during pregnancy. Also, from statistics, it was discovered that women who are pregnant in their old age tend to lose their pregnancy more than younger women. The use of hard drugs, unprescribed medications, alcohol damages the embryo, which may later lead to pregnancy loss. Certain sickness and diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, sexually transmitted infections, rhesus incompatibility, hormonal disorders, and malaria may all lead to miscarriages. Miscarriages are also genetic and can be transferred from parents to children. A person who has suffered a miscarriage(s) in the past has a higher chance of losing her pregnancy in the future. Miscarriages in the latter months of pregnancy are due to fibroids, diseases, infections around the fetus, loose cervix, premature opening of the neck of the womb and problems associated with the placenta or umbilical cords. Stillbirths are common in this late-term miscarriages.
Reasons Why Some Single Women Perform Abortion (Induced Miscarriage)
Both teenagers and women engage in induced miscarriage (abortion) but for different reasons. For the teenagers, unwanted pregnancy hinders their education (read an interesting article about female education here). The coming of a child terminates or slows down their educational attainment. They have to quit school to take care of their pregnancies and to attain ante-natal care. Girls also abort due to their unreadiness, emotional and physical immaturity, lack of responsibility and their inability to handle a baby. Rejection of the pregnancy by the partner also pushes teenagers to terminate their pregnancies. Most partners are immature, young and financially incapable to cater for both the baby and the mother. Influence of friends and peer pressure also encourage them into the act. Some are being lured by friends into the sexual acts and they run to those friends when they miss their menstrual periods (read about menstruation and menstrual period here)
The society view and religious beliefs on pre-marital pregnancy also make girls abort. Parent-child relationship and the parenting style (read about parenting styles here) can push girls to do abortion. Girls from authoritative and rigid parents know that they dare not go home with pre-marital pregnancy. The shame, ridicule associated with teenage pregnancy is some part of the reasons why young girls abort. Girls who become pregnant after falling victims of rape (read about common social vices here), incest or terrorism tend towards getting rid of the fetus. Children of such circumstances are seen as ‘bastards’ and banned from coming into the world as people fear they might take after their fathers. In some cases, parents accompany their daughters to the clinics and hospitals. This shows that some parents support abortions because they find it hard to cope with how other people will feel when it is discovered that their children have an unwanted pregnancy. They feel they will be blamed for not raising their children well.
Reasons Why Some Married Women Perform Abortion
Married women seek abortion for various reasons. In some cases, obstetricians’ advice that an abortion is needed when the growing fetus is dangerous to the woman’s health or when the mother is not in good health to sustain the pregnancy. Another reason is when the pregnancy is not planned. Failure in family planning results in unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Women are always scared of being pregnant some months after giving birth. Pregnancies in old age or later in life are often seen as “mistakes”. These pregnancies are mostly terminated. The fears of giving birth to children with ‘down syndrome’ make some women above 45 years end their pregnancies. Giving birth in old age or not giving gaps to childbirth attract talks from the society and such women are seen as being careless. Some women opt for abortion due to financial instability.
Poverty and the inability to cater to self and the baby can also be a factor. Separation, divorce and relationship problems which lead to a woman living alone may lead her to abort her baby because of her unwillingness to be a single parent. Many women believe that they cannot cope emotionally and financially without a man’s figure in their lives especially during the expectant period. Career women with busy schedules and those that feel that the coming of a child will hinder their achievements in life sometimes see abortion as the way out. Women who are pregnant for men that are not their legal husbands terminate such pregnancies. This is common among the prostitutes and unfaithful women. They do that to prevent the future embarrassments associated with such pregnancies.
Risks Associated With Abortion
There are risks also associated with abortion or induced miscarriage. The womb can get damaged, perforated and unable to withstand any other pregnancies. Mistakes and complications may arise during the evacuation process. The womb, instead of the fetus might get punctured. Carelessness and lack of experience by the doctors can get the uterus damaged. Some do incomplete evacuations thereby leaving remains of the fetus unpacked. This will later result in severe pain which might lead to the removal of the womb. Health issues arise when the vital body organs are being tampered with during the abortion process. Many ladies become barren for life due to an abortion.
Fever, headache, vomiting and other forms of reactions to anesthetics come with abortion. Miscarriages may be because of a previous abortion process. When the neck of the womb and the cervix are being widened or damaged by forceps and other abortion instruments, they no longer have the ability to hold the fetus in position and thus tend to come down. Abortion can lead to heavy bleeding and death. The body and the womb are exposed to infections when unsterilized equipment is used. Conscience pricking and internal guilt disturb those that abort sometimes.
To curb the abortion rate, teenagers should abstain from pre-marital sex and bad friends that might influence them negatively. Sex education should be discussed both in schools and homes. Parents should provide room for communication between them and their children. Young ladies and women should follow up their family adhere to their family planning method and make sure they are effective. Protection during sex should be their watchword. Regular visits should be made to the obstetricians so as to check the condition of the fetus during pregnancy. This gives room for medical attention to any abnormalities and correction of any risks associated with the child or the mother. By this, the rate of miscarriages will be reduced. Healthy food, rest, exercise( read about why food, rest and exercise is important to health here) and abstinence from drugs, alcohol and harmful substances keep the pregnancy safe till delivery.
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