The Supreme Court of India’s latest landmark ruling — which said that all women are entitled to safe and legal abortion — has once again put medical termination of pregnancy in the spotlight. But, it is also crucial to understand that abortion can be a physically and emotionally exhausting procedure. Thus, it becomes significant to pay special attention to women’s health after the process to make sure she recovers well.
“Although the actual process of abortion might not take long, it takes a huge toll on one’s body and emotions. One needs to take a few precautions after the procedure. It is important to go to follow-up appointments,” Dr Swati Chitnis, Gynecologist and Obstetrician, Shalby Multispecialty Hospitals Ahmedabad, said.
Agreeing, Dr Gunjan Gupta Govil, Gynaecological and IVF expert, founder and chairman, Gunjan IVF World Group, added that after an abortion, proper self-care is crucial for both physical and mental wellbeing. “Abortion is a low-risk technique that is safe. People should be aware of what to expect both physically and mentally afterwards, though.”
“Recovery times following abortions differ from person to person. For late-term abortions, recovery could take longer. In the event of difficulties, recovery may take several weeks. This is extremely unlikely, though,” she explained.
The post-abortion precautions that a woman must follow can be classified into three sections – immediate, intermediate, and long-term precautions.
“The immediate precautions are – watch out for bleeding and infection which can be followed by fever, chills, and tummy ache (cramps). Additionally, make sure that the medications prescribed by your doctor are taken on time and for the right number of days in order to prevent future complications,” said Dr Prathima Reddy, Director, Sparsh Hospital for Women and Children and Lead Consultant – Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
She added that ‘intermediate precautions’ include watching out for excessive bleeding and seeking immediate help if that happens. “Additionally, contraception would be another intermediate and long-term precaution to be taken.”
Post-abortion recovery tips
Here are some precautions you must follow after an abortion, according to Dr Govil.
*Drink water and healthy fluids, and eat a healthy well-balanced diet
*Get good sleep and rest.
*Avoid any kind of vaginal insertions for at least two weeks.
*Avoid heavy exercises and lifting weights.
*Do not skip your medical follow-ups post-abortion.
*Use hot water bags to reduce pain and cramps
*Follow your doctor’s prescribed medications
“Abortion can also psychologically affect the woman. It can have an impact on the mental health of the woman. Sometimes, they may need counselling so that they don’t get into post-termination depression. Physical and mental health should be looked into. Though it’s a voluntary decision, sometimes the woman might feel guilty. These could cause mental health issues. If this continues, it’s best to seek help from a counsellor,” Dr Reddy highlighted.