JUL 06, 2016 6:21 AM PDT

How an Abortion Affects the Woman

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In June of 2016, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a surge in abortion rates amid the Zika scare. As more women are exercising their rights to reproductive options, it seems appropriate to open the conversation on the health risks of abortions on the women undergoing these procedures.

An abortion is defined as the ending of a pregnancy early. Some pregnancies spontaneously abort on its own, while at times, a woman may choose to end the pregnancy either through medication (mifepristone and Misoprostol) or surgery. For both types of abortions, the intervention is usually done in the first trimester of the pregnancy.

Medical abortions are considered 97% effective while surgical abortion is nearly 100% effective. Common side effects of both types of procedures include abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, and bleeding. In rare cases, surgical abortions can scar or perforate the lining of the uterus, causing heavy bleeding, infection, or sepsis. Most of the time, undergoing an abortion does not impact a woman's ability to conceive in the future. Of course, psychological and emotional impacts of abortions also vary significantly for every woman, thus appropriate medical guidance is critical for women at every step.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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