Medical Termination of Pregnancy
Medical Termination of Pregnancy, MTP refers to termination of pregnancy using medicines. MTP does not involve any surgery or anesthesia. Typically, these medicines are administered at the clinic or at home or in a combination for giving a time gap. In India, it is ‘perfectly legal for an adult woman to decide on abortion by herself without anyone else’s consent’. We will come to this legality part later.
Decision on pregnancy abortion depends on the individual. This being a major decision, this can have impact at psychological and emotional levels. Before getting this done, the gynaecologist must explain what to expect after taking the medicines and when the patient should be consulting the gynaecologist again for check up.
Why do women want to terminate pregnancy?
There can be several reasons from simple ‘unexpected pregnancy’ to ‘pregnancy due to rape’. Some women may decide to terminate pregnancy because the relationship with her partner might have gone sour. Some terminate pregnancy because they are not psychologically ready to become a mother and some due to financial constraints. Reasons may vary depending on the individual but one important thing that every women should know is, termination of pregnancy is possible (safely) until 12 weeks of pregnancy, counting the days from her last period. Exceptions do apply, your gynaecologist will discuss this with you if needed.
Abortion may not be done in cases when:
- You are using an IUD, Intra Uterine Device such as Copper T in India.
- If you have crossed the 12 weeks window
- In cases of ectopic pregnancy – a condition when pregnancy happens ‘outside’ the uterus.
- If you are on medication using blood thinners
- If you are allergic to the medicines that are used to terminate pregnancy
- If you can’t follow up with the doctor after administering medicines. This is a must because there are several risks after the procedure is started.
- If you have any other medical condition such as problem with liver, kidneys or heart etc.
Risks involved with pregnancy termination:
- If the fetus doesn’t completely drop on it’s own, surgery may be needed.
- Pregnancy may have to be continued if abortion doesn’t work. This has even severe consequences with the baby inside.
- Heavy bleeding, fever or a possible infection.
- Digestion problems.
On the brighter side, Medical Termination of Pregnancy doesn’t affect your future prospects of becoming a mother.
Can you try aborting pregnancy at home?
Well, yes but no. Googling will give you lot of medical options that you can use to abort your pregnancy. However, you need to keep in mind that you will first need a gynecologist’s evaluation of the fetus by conducting some tests to make sure that you will be safe after taking those medicines. Depending on the need, doctor may suggest you to get blood test, urine test or even ultra sound test done.
Self medication may work sometimes but if things go wrong, that can take a severe toll on your health and also on your reproductive organs. It is advisable and safe to get in touch with a good gynaecologist near you, explain your situation and get the pregnancy terminated.
Types of medicines prescribed for aborting pregnancy:
- Oral + Oral Combination – In this approach, there are two medicines used. First one blocks the progesterone and causes the layer in the uterus becomes thin so that the embryo is not supported. Effectively, the embryo gets detached from the uterus. This will be given at the clinic. After some time, at home or in the clinic, you will be given a second medicine which will make the uterus contract and push out the embryo through the vagina.
- Oral + Vaginal (or Buccal or Sublingual) Combination – The first medicine is orally given as described above. The second medicine is administered via vagina or the medicine is placed between the teeth and cheek (buccal) or placed under the tongue (sublingual). This slow absorption of this medicine produces less side effects and is more effective. These medicines will be administered if the pregnancy is less than 9 weeks.
- Only vaginal approach – Only one medicine will be used via vaginal route that can induce abortion. This is used in cases where pregnancy is less than 9 weeks.
Side effects / post procedure effects of medicines used to induce abortion:
- Vaginal bleeding (normal to heavy)
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea, Vomiting
- Fever, Chills
- Foul smelling vaginal discharge.
It is advisable to use protection if you are not planning to get pregnant. Male condoms or female condoms are easier to use. For longer term contraception, a woman can use IUDs which a gynaecologist can place/remove as a simple day care procedure. Birth control pills can also be used within 72 hours of unprotected sex, however longer term use of these pills is not advised.