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I'm pregnant and unhappy about it

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
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If you find yourself pregnant and do not wish to keep the baby, you can seek an abortion to bring the pregnancy to an end. Abortion laws vary by state.

It can be difficult, and you may feel confused about the right decision for you. Turning to those that know and love you – friends, family, your partner – can help, but if this is difficult, your doctor can provide a good listening ear, and abortion clinics have counseling services to discuss options with you.

An abortion carries less risk the earlier it is carried out. Earlier discussions also allow for more time to think about the right option for you.

Doctor’s advice

How do I access abortion services?

You can refer yourself to an abortion clinic, speak to your doctor or a sexual health or family planning clinic, and they can refer you. Abortions are carried out in licensed clinics or hospitals by a registered medical practitioner.

Does anyone need to know?

Medical information is always kept confidential, apart from those involved in your care in the clinic, and they may let your doctor know. Confidentiality is only breached on the rare occasion that there may be a serious risk to your health or others.

Parental notification laws also vary by state.

What does an abortion involve?

An abortion is brought about by either medication or a surgical procedure – your practitioner and you will discuss the best option based on the length of pregnancy, other medical conditions, and your preference.

Medication may be given at home or in the clinic, depending on how many weeks pregnant you are. A surgical procedure is performed in a clinic or hospital, which may be under local anesthetic (you are awake) or general anesthetic (you are asleep).

Are there risks involved?

Most women recover quickly after an abortion. You are likely to experience some abdominal pain and bleeding afterward. And you are likely to feel some turbulent emotions, too.

Abortions are considered fairly safe procedures, but any procedure can carry risks. While rare, you may have excessive or prolonged bleeding, a womb (uterus) infection, damage to the womb or entrance to the womb (cervix), some of the tissue of pregnancy left, or – with an abortion by medicine – the pregnancy may persist.

The clinic will talk you through these risks and what to look for and be on hand during and after any procedure to advise you.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
EmailFacebookPinterestTwitter
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