What Does It Mean To Have An Abortion?
An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. There are usually many reasons for an abortion, and most times women will elect to terminate their pregnancies because:
- The unborn baby’s health is at risk
- Pregnancy is risky for the mother’s health
- The mother isn’t ready to have a baby
- Other family planning methods failed
- The mother simply does not want the baby
- The parents cannot provide for the child
- Tumors like fibroid are causing complications
- The baby has genetic diseases
- The baby is not growing as it should
What Is Abortion in Nigeria: Is it legal?
If you're wondering how long it takes to recover from a pregnancy termination, you should, first of all, know that in Nigeria it is a crime. Anyone who commits, aids to commit, or supplies anything used in terminating a pregnancy, is guilty of a felony. And you can serve prison time for up to three, seven, or fourteen, years respectively. This is according to the criminal code for states in the southern parts of Nigeria.
In the penal code for the northern States, whether the abortion was successful or not, the suspect can be imprisoned, fined or both. The only exception to this law is if the termination is the only way to save the mother’s life. As a result, many people commit abortions in hiding. This leads to the rise of unsafe abortions in the country.
Hospitals will not abort pregnancies except the life of the mother is threatened. So, people sometimes go to unlicensed medical personnel to get this procedure done. If you choose to do this, we cannot say how long it takes to recover from pregnancy termination with a quack.
Types of abortions
You have 3 options for an abortion: surgical, medical, and induction abortion. You'll need 48 hours as the average recovery time from an abortion. This is regardless of the method you choose.
Usually, the stage of the pregnancy will inform what method you choose. Your doctor should order an ultrasound. This will determine the age of the pregnancy accurately. Abortions are safer in the early stages of pregnancy.
Abortion pills or medical abortion
According to Consumer Health Digest, these pills will terminate your pregnancy if it's less than nine weeks. It works best for early pregnancies. The pills stop your body's production of progesterone, a hormone vital for the formation of the womb. When this hormone depletes, your uterine lining sheds, resulting in bleeding and termination of the pregnancy.
Possible effects of abortion pills
After taking the pills, you should expect some bleeding, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and sometimes fever. But if the bleeding is excessive, like two fully soaked pads within an hour, you should go back to your doctor.
So, how long does it take to recover from pregnancy termination by pills? The pills will terminate the pregnancy in a matter of hours. But you might keep bleeding up to four weeks after taking the pill. You must go for a second ultrasound when the bleeding stops to confirm that the procedure is complete.
A surgical procedure is your best bet for pregnancies in the first 21 weeks. The most popular surgical abortion is dilation and curettage, also known in Nigeria as D&C. It is performed in ten minutes under general anesthesia. Your doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina and open it so that your cervix is visible.
Next, he inserts a suction machine that has pressure about thirty times that of a vacuum cleaner, to suck the fetus out. What the suction machine does is to disintegrate the fetus and collect the remains. It does the same to the placenta, too.
Finally, to avoid an incomplete abortion, he uses a curette to scrape the walls of the uterus to take out bits of body parts and flesh left behind. How long does it take to recover from abortion by surgery? The procedure can be done under an hour but bleeding can last up to four weeks.
Surgical abortion has the same after effect as the medical abortion, but the bleeding, in this case, is always less.
This is the best method for pregnancies from sixteen weeks and up to twenty-four weeks. The only difference between this and the surgical abortion is that doctors give you a pill to induce labour. In late-term abortion, you might get an injection in the stomach to terminate the pregnancy.
This method takes longer to heal. Sometimes you may need to stay in the hospital for 2 days. Its side effect is the same as the others. How long does it take to recover from an abortion method like induction abortion? You'll need forty-eight hours to recover but your bleeding might go on for weeks.
What are the risks of pregnancy termination?
These risks are very rare but they are a possibility:
An incomplete termination: when the doctor forgets some tissue in your uterus
Excessive bleeding: you may need a blood transfusion.
Infections: if the instruments aren’t sterile. Sometimes infections have no known cause
The impairment of your uterus
From the above, whatever your reason for the abortion, make sure you get a professional to handle it. It is important to discuss your medical history with your doctor so that they can decide the safest method of abortion for you.
Note: We are not promoting abortion in Nigeria and just want to educate people in a non-judgmental community.