In this Article
- Unintended Pregnancies In India
- Causes Of Unwanted Pregnancy
- What About Physical And Emotional Effects Of Unplanned Pregnancy
- Termination Of Unintended Pregnancy
- Induced Abortions And Its Side-Effects
- Induced Abortion Risks
- How To Abort Unwanted Pregnancy?
- Carrying With an Unintentional Pregnancy
- Antenatal Check-ups
- How to Avoid Unwanted Pregnancy?
- Coping With Unplanned Pregnancy
For someone who has been desperately trying to conceive and become a proud mother, it will be a huge moment when she finds out that she is pregnant. However, if this pregnancy is an unplanned one, the emotions associated with it will be quite different. Dealing with unplanned pregnancy needs a lot of emotional strength and support from the partner and the immediate family.
Unintended Pregnancies In India
As per a study published in The Lancet Global Health, about 48.1 million pregnancies happened in India during 2015. Half of these pregnancies were unintended. The study considered women in the 15-49 year age group. Considering these figures, 47 women per 1000 pregnant went on to get an abortion since the pregnancy was unwanted.
Causes Of Unwanted Pregnancy
In an unplanned pregnancy, the couple is not prepared for such a development, and such news can come as a shock to most. An unwanted pregnancy can be the result of a “spur-of-the-moment” act, wrong use of a contraceptive or a traumatic event like rape. Let us explore a few of these causes in brief:
One of the primary causes of an unwanted pregnancy is contraceptive failure. Statistics have shown that around 53% of unwanted pregnancies happen with women who use contraceptives. This is a common cause across all ages, be it a teenage girl or an older woman.
- Wrong Use Of Contraceptives: If you do not follow the instructions mentioned for a particular contraceptive, it can prove to be a costly mistake. If you are using birth control pills as your preferred choice, it is important to take the pill every day at the same time. This reduces the chances of pregnancy to the minimum. Similarly, using a cervical cap or a diaphragm should ensure that the cervix is completely covered before intercourse happens. Condoms are though quite reliable as a contraceptive method. However, your partner should make sure it is used properly.
- Wrong Calculation Of Safe Days: An unplanned pregnancy can happen if your calculation of the fertile period is wrong. You will have to be doubly sure about the safe period of the month to rely completely on this method.
- Irregular Use Of Contraceptives: Contraceptive methods like diaphragms, condoms and cervical caps should be used every time you have sex. If you forget to take the birth control pill or the morning-after pill once, you could become pregnant against your wishes.
- Non-Availability Of Emergency Contraceptive Pills: Emergency contraceptive pills are a popular method of contraception for women. However, it often happens that the pills may not be available off-the-counter or at times a prescription may be necessary. This could lead to delay in consuming it and this could result in pregnancy.
- Lack Of Knowledge: Women are often unaware of their own bodies and do not know which sexual act will lead to pregnancy. If there is inadequate knowledge of sex and its consequences, this could be a major cause of pregnancies, especially in teens.
What About Physical And Emotional Effects Of Unplanned Pregnancy
There are a number of physical and emotional effects one has to deal with when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. There can be long term effects which act adversely on a woman’s maternal health. Most couples are unprepared for such an emergency and they can face major upheavals in their settled lives. Since most women are not mentally ready for such a surprise, it could lead to sleepless nights, arguments and emotional upsets. There are feelings of regret and there are chances of serious complications like depression too. In case of negative feelings about the pregnancy, it can lead to a feeling of detachment with the baby and bonding can suffer in a major way.
Termination Of Unintended Pregnancy
If you and your partner decide not to go ahead with the pregnancy, ensure this decision is a mutual one and not forced on either of you. Any form of doubt or indecision can blow this delicate subject out of proportion and have an impact on your relationship. If you decide to terminate it, you will want to know how to get rid of unwanted pregnancy. However, before that you will have to be prepared for the physical and emotional changes you could undergo. Apart from the physical uneasiness and anxiety, feelings of guilt and sadness are common and many women are unable to cope with it. Share your deepest fears with the partner or a friend and if required take the help of a counsellor.
Induced Abortions And Its Side-Effects
Abortions that are caused through medical or external interventions are known as induced abortions. You will have to go through it if you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The foetus is expelled from the uterine cavity through a saline or digoxin or potassium chloride injection. The injection is inserted into the amniotic sac that covers the foetus. Prostaglandins like misoprostol are used to soften the cervix and induce uterine contractions. The medicine is inserted vaginally. In order to induce contractions, Pitocin or oxytocin is injected intravenously.
Induced Abortion Risks
You should be aware of the potential risks associated with induced abortion, when various medicines are injected in the amniotic sac:
- Excessive bleeding
- Uterus could be damaged due to the injection method
- Infection to your internal organs
- Extreme pain and subsequent soreness
- Excessive uterine contractions
- Saline can enter the mother’s blood stream which can be dangerous
How To Abort Unwanted Pregnancy?
The type of procedure used for aborting a child from an unwanted pregnancy depends on how far a woman is into her pregnancy. There are two methods of abortion, Medical abortion and surgical abortion. Early Medical abortion is carried out if the pregnancy is of nine weeks or less while there is a separate procedure for medical abortion after nine weeks.
Surgical abortion includes vacuum aspiration (for 7-15 weeks of pregnancy) and surgical dilation and evacuation (15 weeks and above pregnancy). Abortion after 21 weeks is not common. It includes medical abortion of surgical D & E. In either case, the heart of the foetus is stopped and the baby is still-born.
Carrying With an Unintentional Pregnancy
If you have decided to go ahead with an unintentional pregnancy, there are many things to think about carefully. Giving birth to baby and bringing in a new life in the world can be a daunting feeling for most women. You will be nervous about the huge responsibility that will come upon you. Getting overly stressed and reacting to the situation in a negative manner will not help. It could also have an adverse effect on you and the baby. You will have a lot of time to think about the future and plan parenthood as the pregnancy progresses. Meet a doctor and understand all that there is to your pregnancy. Discuss your fears and anxiety with your partner who will play a critical role during this period. Plan your finances and check the impact this pregnancy will have on your immediate and future financial goals.
A primary drawback of an unintentional pregnancy is that you will miss out on preconception health. During this period, the health of the mom-to-be prior to conception is checked and monitored. Therefore, you will have to take additional care of your health along with your baby’s, since this can have a direct impact on the pregnancy. Antenatal check-ups include monitoring of areas like receiving balanced nutrition, avoiding the intake of tobacco and alcohol, staying of drugs, taking multi-vitamins and maintaining a regular exercise schedule. One should also be careful of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases and should keep health conditions like diabetes, hypertension and obesity at bay.
How to Avoid Unwanted Pregnancy?
We all hate unpleasant surprises, especially those that have the potential of disrupting our lives. Unwanted pregnancies find a mention pretty high on this list of nasty surprises. If you want to avoid unwanted pregnancies, take the following precautions:
- Avoid penetrative sex if you are still in your teens. Wait till the time you are capable of handing the responsibility with maturity.
- If you have plans to get sexually active, be prepared with all available options of contraception. Ask your partner to use a condom every time you have sex or use birth control pills.
- Use an emergency contraceptive if you are unsure of the birth-control methods used.
- The morning-after pills are to be used in case of emergencies only, so do not make a habit or your health may be affected.
Coping With Unplanned Pregnancy
An unplanned pregnancy can throw your life in complete disarray. But this doesn’t mean that it is the end of the road for you. You can cope with the situation if you give yourself time to recover from the initial shock. Here are a few pointers if you find yourself in a similar situation:
- Don’t Panic: Remember this is not a life-threatening moment. Of course, it is an emergency situation but it can be worsened if you panic at the first instance.
- Think Rationally: The first emotion to hit a couple when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy is of guilt and shame. You may feel cheated by your partner if he does not take responsibility. The key is to think rationally and let go of the guilt.
- Learn from it: Once you have experienced this situation, you will have to ensure you do not have to undergo a similar time again. Use proper contraception every time you have sex and be prepared for emergencies.
- Take responsibility: Do not play the victim card while dealing with this surprise. Take responsibility of your actions and you will feel in better control of the situation.
An unwanted pregnancy can be a trying time for both individuals involved. Though it is an emotionally draining experience for most, it can help you to build a stronger relationship with your partner if it is handled in a mature and sensible manner.