What should we eat for abortion
For many - sometimes very young - women, it is not a pleasant surprise when the pregnancy test turns out positive. Quite a few decide against carrying the child to term. In 2018, more than 100,986 women who were unintentionally pregnant chose the option of abortion. Most of them (around 80 percent) had abortions in gynecological practices and centers. In about 20 percent of the cases, the abortion was performed in hospitals (outpatient or inpatient).
Abortion - difficult decision
The decision to have an abortion is not an easy one. In addition to medical aspects, personal, ethical and legal issues are also important. Abortion is a hotly debated issue, both socially and politically, because here the woman's freedom of choice stands in opposition to the protection of the unborn child.
Depending on which aspect is given more weight, the legal situation with regard to an abortion is very different around the world: The spectrum ranges from very liberal to so-called deadline and remedial notification models to very strict regulations including an absolute ban on abortion. To a certain extent, Germany has opted for a middle ground.
Abortion in Germany: legal situation
According to Section 218 of the German Criminal Code (StGB), an abortion is fundamentally illegal and punishable, but remains unpunished under certain conditions (Section 218 a Paragraph 1 and Section 219 StGB):
- The pregnant woman herself must request the abortion (not the woman's father or the child's father).
- The woman must seek advice from a state-approved counseling center, at least three days before the procedure.
- She must present a written confirmation of the advice of the doctor who will carry out the abortion.
- The consultation must not be carried out by the same doctor who then carries out the termination.
Pregnancy conflict counseling can be carried out anonymously at the woman's request. In any case, the consultant is subject to confidentiality.
In 2018, the vast majority of all abortions (97,151) took place according to the counseling model.
Indications for an abortion
If there are certain medical or criminological reasons (indications), an abortion is not illegal:
Medical indication: An abortion is not illegal if the pregnant woman is at risk of death or serious impairment of physical or mental health and this risk cannot be averted in any other way that is reasonable for the woman.
Criminological indication: An abortion is not illegal even if the pregnancy resulted from a sexual offense (such as rape).
If there is an acute medical or criminological indication, neither the consultation for a written certificate nor compliance with the 3-day period between consultation and intervention is necessary. However, if a woman has a medical indication, a doctor must allow three days to reflect before certifying the medical indication.
Abortion: until when possible?
If a woman is unintentionally pregnant, the following time frames apply for an unpunished abortion in Germany:
- Abortion according to the counseling model: No more than twelve weeks must have passed since conception.
- Medical indication: Abortion is also allowed after the twelfth week after conception - even after the 24th week of pregnancy from which the child is considered viable.
- Criminological indication: No more than twelve weeks must have passed since conception.
Surgical or medical termination of pregnancy
Abortion methods are divided into medicinal and surgical. Which method is best suited in each individual case depends primarily on the age of the pregnant woman, the indication and any previous illnesses.
Drug termination of pregnancy
In Germany, a medical abortion with the active ingredient mifepristone is permitted up to the 63rd day after the first day of the last menstruation. It can happen sooner than an operative termination.
Mifepristone inhibits the action of the hormone progesterone, which, among other things, maintains pregnancy. The active ingredient also makes the cervix softer and opens it.
In addition, 36 to 48 hours after taking mifepristone, the woman receives so-called prostaglandins (as suppositories or tablets) under medical supervision. These hormones promote labor and trigger a miscarriage.
In about 95 percent of the women treated, the medical termination of pregnancy fulfills its purpose. However, if the pregnancy persists after the medication, no miscarriage has occurred or heavy bleeding occurs, a so-called curettage (scraping) is necessary. The lining of the uterus and the amniotic sac together with the embryo are removed with the aid of surgical instruments.
Surgical termination of pregnancy
The surgical abortion is performed under local anesthesia of the cervix or general anesthesia. The most commonly used method is suction curettage: This involves sucking the uterine lining and embryo through a tube. An alternative method is the above-mentioned curettage, i.e. scraping with the help of medical instruments.
Complications and Consequences of Abortion
If surgical instruments are used for abortion, it can injure the uterine wall. Even if the pregnancy tissue was not completely removed during the termination or the uterine wall is completely pierced, complications are possible. This includes:
- Inflammation (e.g. of the fallopian tubes)
- Torn tissue on the cervix
If complications arise during the procedure, the risk of long-term consequences can increase. These include difficulties with a later pregnancy, such as an ectopic pregnancy, or infertility.
Psychological consequences after the termination?
Can a termination have emotional consequences? Termination of pregnancy alone does not increase the risk of developing mental illness. Women who receive good medical and emotional care in this situation do not suffer from psychological problems more often than women who have an unwanted child. The support of the partner or the family can give the person concerned support in this exceptional situation.
After the difficult decision, the relief often prevails
A University of California survey of around 700 women found that the majority of women who choose to drop out rate the decision as positive over the long term. It is true that 53 percent of women stated that the decision to have an abortion was "difficult" to "very difficult" for them. Five years later, however, 95 percent said they did not regret their decision. Most found their decision a relief. Women found the stigmatization associated with abortion more stressful.
Exceptional situation of the soul
An abortion can still be an exceptional situation for the soul. Psychological complaints may arise immediately after the abortion. In many cases, however, this is more due to other stressful living conditions (poverty, experiences of violence, previous mental illnesses) than to the abortion itself.
A lack of social support from the environment, pressure from the partner or keeping the termination a secret can put a strain on mental health in this situation, even if the woman consciously decides to take this step.
The hormonal changes in the body can also have a short-term effect on the soul. Occasionally the so-called “post abortion syndrome” (PAS) is mentioned. The term stands for the psychological consequences of an abortion. So far, however, studies have not been able to provide clear evidence for the PAS.
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