Perhaps you’re considering having an abortion or maybe someone you care about is contemplating it. Either way, this procedure – the deliberate termination of a pregnancy – comes with a lot of questions.
Here, we’re answering some of the most common questions we receive to help clear up any confusion.
1.What’s the difference between a surgical and a medical termination of pregnancy?
With a medical abortion, you take a pill to terminate the pregnancy. This option is available to anyone who is between four and nine weeks pregnant. After nine weeks, a surgical abortion is needed, and this can take place up until 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
Both of these procedures must be performed under the care of qualified doctors and nurses so that the correct steps are followed, and you are certain that the pregnancy has been terminated. An incomplete termination (often the result of illegal abortions) can lead to serious illness, infertility or even death.
Learn more about Marie Stopes’ safe medical abortion procedure.
2.Will I have to stay in hospital overnight?
No. For an abortion (whether it’s a surgical or medical termination of pregnancy), you come in in the morning and leave later on in the day. It’s advised that you rest properly for one week after the procedure.
3.Will an abortion affect my fertility?
Having a legal abortion that is carried out by qualified medical professionals is unlikely to affect your fertility. However, an illegal abortion, or multiple abortions, can damage your uterus or cervix, and that could make it more difficult to fall pregnant. In most cases however, a proper abortion procedure combined with the right post-procedure care should not affect your fertility.
4.What complications can occur?
If your procedure is carried out in a good hospital or clinic by qualified people, you’re unlikely to experience complications. However, infections and internal injuries can arise when a termination is carried out in unsafe, unsterile environments and/or by unqualified people.
5. Will an abortion affect my period?
Maybe, but again, it’s not likely. That said, if you do notice any strange symptoms after your abortion, you should visit your gynae or clinic right away. Things like a persistent change in your menstrual cycle, fever, pain or burning sensation in the vagina, or a heaviness in your abdomen are all signs you should get checked out ASAP.
6.What is the proper post-abortion care procedure?
Rest up for at least a week, and be sure not to lift or carry any heavy objects. Try to include some light daily exercise, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthily.
7.When should someone not get an abortion?
In South Africa, where abortion is legal, it’s completely up to the individual whether or not to undergo the procedure. No one else needs to be involved in your decision, and you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. If you do not want to have a baby, abortion may be the option for you – it’s 100% your decision.
Medical termination of pregnancy in SA
If you’re nine weeks pregnant or less, you can have a medical termination at a Marie Stopes centre in SA. Up until 20 weeks, you’re entitled to a surgical abortion.
Read more about our abortion services or make an appointment online to come in and see us. You’re assured of being treated in a completely confidential, safe and non-judgemental environment by qualified individuals.