The possibility of stopping pregnancy after one month of conception or anytime in the first trimester depends on your health and how far along the pregnancy has progressed. After a checkup, your doctor may consider the medical or surgical option to terminate the pregnancy at this time. In this MomJunction post, we tell you about these methods in detail.
How To Stop Pregnancy Without Surgical Abortion?
Some options that the health practitioner might suggest before considering surgical interventions include:
1. Medical abortion
This method uses pills and is usually recommended within nine weeks of pregnancy. In some cases, it may also be considered beyond nine weeks. You do not have to get admitted to a hospital as pills can be safely used in the privacy of your home (1). But you may have to visit the doctor through the course of the treatment.
The doctor is likely to put you on a course of two tablets, mifepristone and misoprostol:
- First, mifepristone is given to block the progesterone hormone and for thinning the uterine wall lining.
- Misoprostol is given 48 hours after that to induce uterine muscle contractions. This leads to bleeding and cramping. The embryo and uterine remains may leave the uterus in the next few days. And the bleeding might continue for seven to ten days.
- An ultrasound is done after two weeks to ensure that everything is cleared, and there are no tissue remains. If there are any retained tissues, they may be removed surgically.
2. Saline water method
In this method, a small quantity of amniotic fluid is taken out, and the saline solution is administered into the amniotic sac directly using a needle. The salt solution burns the fetus, and the body undergoes labor around this time to expel the fetus (2). In some cases, labor does not occur, and prostaglandins are injected to induce uterine contractions.
If these methods do not work, you may have to choose the surgical options.
How To Stop Pregnancy With Surgical Abortion?
The surgical abortion that the doctor recommends will depend on the pregnancy stage. The two common methods include manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and dilation and evacuation (D&E), which are performed in the hospital and require local anesthesia.
This is performed during the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy. Local anesthesia is used to numb the cervical region. Then the cervix is opened using a tenaculum and is held in a dilated position. A thin cannula, attached to suction, is passed into your uterus through the cervical canal to remove the fetus and uterine tissues. The procedure takes 10 to 15 minutes, and you may have to stay in the hospital for a few hours for optimum recovery. It is a relatively safe and gentle procedure with fewer complications (3).
This is performed in or after the 13th week of pregnancy and is usually the last option when the other methods to terminate the pregnancy after one month fail or are not viable.
A few hours before the actual procedure, a dilator is inserted into the cervix to help dilate it. The practitioner gives spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia to numb the cervical area. A tenaculum is then passed to open the cervix and uterus.
The cervical canal is dilated with probes of increasing size. Then a cannula, which is attached to a pump, is passed into the uterus. The pump provides a gentle vacuum to remove fetal and uterine tissues. Later, a curette is used to scrape the uterine lining and tissue residue. The procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes, and you may have to stay in the hospital for a few hours for optimum recovery.
The surgical option is an invasive method, and you may experience dizziness, cramps, nausea, and sweating during the procedure. Some may also have heavy bleeding, cervical damage, blood clots, and perforation in the uterus. Also, there is a chance of infection, and you may develop a fever and abdominal tenderness, for which you should see a doctor (4).
Natural Remedies That Could Stop Pregnancy
Natural ways, including herbs and natural ingredients, are believed to have the efficacy to stop pregnancy, but they might come with a high risk. Use of these herbs could lead to heavy bleeding (due to missed or incomplete abortion), toxicity, and infections. Healthcare practitioners may not recommend them, and their use is mostly based on anecdotal evidence.
- Papaya: Papaya has phytochemicals that are abortifacient and inhibit the progesterone hormone activity. It also contains prostaglandins and oxytocin that can stimulate contractions (5).
- Pineapple: Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme known as bromelain that can soften the cervix. It is believed that the ingestion of the flesh of young fruit might lead to natural abortion (6).
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon, when brewed with water to make tea, may induce early labor, and usually falls in the list of herbs to avoid during pregnancy (7).
- Sesame seeds: They are either blended with palm jaggery or taken with honey. It was believed that a particular dose might increase body heat and therefore stimulate contractions.
- Chamomile/green tea: Another age-old belief is that high consumption of green tea or chamomile tea may induce uterine contractions (7).
- Heavy exercises: Some also believe that exercises such as crunches and sit-ups could cause abortion. But there are no scientific studies to substantiate this widespread belief.
- Frequent intercourse: This can harm the fetus if done in the early weeks. The orgasms will lead to uterine contractions, causing an abortion. Also, the prostaglandins present in the semen are known to stop fetal growth. However, just like the other natural methods, this is not a recommended method to stop pregnancy.
Although these have been tried, it is recommended not to try them for your safety.
Possible Complications Of Abortion
Abortions are safe only when the health care provider performs/ advises the necessary steps to complete the entire process. Otherwise, there could be complications such as (8):
- Infection of the womb
- Remains of fetal tissues in the womb
- Failure of termination
- Excessive bleeding that may require a blood transfusion
- Cervical damage
- Damage to the womb
- Mental health risks in some cases
It is essential to take rest, include enough nutrition, and get the right treatment to return to normalcy in life. Your doctor is likely to offer you the required treatment and advice for your recovery.
How To Speed Up Recovery After The Abortion?
- Do not lift heavy objects that weigh over 50 pounds. They may aggravate bleeding and lead to complications.
- Do not indulge in exercise, including biking, running, and aerobics, to avoid risks.
- Monitor your body temperature every day at least for a week as high temperatures might indicate an infection.
- Avoid intercourse as the cervix is still tender and will not close quickly. Avoiding sex also decreases the risk of infections. Talk to your doctor to know what the best time to return to sexual activity is.
- Use hot compress, such as a hot water bottle or a heating pad on your belly to get relief from cramping and pain.
- Avoid swimming and tub bathing for at least two weeks. Otherwise, it may cause irritation and infection in the vaginal area.
- Do not use anything, such as tampons or contraceptive implants, inside the vagina for at least two weeks.
- Include a rich diet of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, protein, whole grains, and drink a lot of water.
It is advisable to see a doctor within a month after abortion to check if the healing is complete.
Terminating the pregnancy is not an easy option for many. The process can take a toll on you physically as well as emotionally. You should, therefore, take enough time and seek the support of your partner and family to make the right decision. Consult your doctor for medical advice. Your doctor is only the best guide to take you through it.
If you have any experiences or advice to share, do write them down in the comment section below.
2. Christina Raup; Abortion; The Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2010)
3. Manual Vacuum Aspiration; University of Miami Health System
4. Dilation and Evacuation (D&E); Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
5. Gopalakrishnan M and Rajasekharasetty MR; Effect of papaya (Carica papaya linn) on pregnancy and estrous cycle in albino rats of Wistar strain; Indian J Physiol Pharmacol (1978)
6. Pineapple; Purdue University (2019)
7. Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy; The University of Texas at El Paso
8.Risks – Abortion; National Health Service (NHS) (2016)
9. FAQ: Post-Abortion Care and Recovery; UCLA Health
10. Recovering from your Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) or Dilation and Evacuation (D&E); Michigan Medicine; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2019)
- Home Remedies For Abortion
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