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Dealing with Unwanted Pregnancy

Dealing with Unwanted Pregnancy

Introduction

A lady is the procreator of the world and pregnancy gives her a beautiful feeling. The feeling of carrying a life inside the body is something that words cannot describe. However, there is another side of this too. If unplanned, pregnancy can be a reason to worry about.

Unwanted pregnancy is a big social issue. Insome countries like India it is a taboo for an unmarried to be pregnant.Though abortion for unwanted pregnancy is legal in India till 20 weeks of pregnancy it is not available in several countries.

Reasons of unwanted pregnancy:

  • Unprotected sexual activity is the commonest reason of unwanted pregnancy.
  • Avoiding family planning measures causes unwanted pregnancy.
  • Inappropriate way or inconsistent use of contraceptives can lead to unwanted pregnancy.
  • Failure of contraceptives can be a cause of unwanted pregnancy.
  • Lack of awareness and lack of sexual education can lead tounwanted pregnancies.
  • Non-availability of emergency contraceptive pills can lead to unwanted pregnancies.

How to prevent unwanted pregnancy?

The only way to prevent unwanted pregnancy is to adopt adequate and proper contraceptive measures. There are several methods that can be used and are detailed below. Some contraceptives do not offer 100% protection, they are still the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Here are some of the commonly used contraceptive measures to prevent unwanted pregnancy:

For women:

  • Oral contraceptives are very effective in keeping unwanted pregnancy at bay. Oral contraceptives are a combination of oestrogen and progestin hormones. The hormones work together to prevent the process of ovulation and thereby preventing pregnancy. The pill must be taken regularly as prescribed. There are certain mild side-effects of using oral contraceptives like nausea, irregular bleeding, weight gain, breast tenderness, depression, etc.
  • Diaphragm is a commonly used contraceptive method. It is a rubber disk that covers the cervix. It is used in conjunction with spermicide.It protects for about six hours.
  • Depo-Provera is an injectable contraceptive that needs to be taken every three months to prevent pregnancy.
  • IUD or intrauterine device is another commonly used contraceptive measure to avoid unwanted pregnancy. A T-shaped device is placed in the uterus. It has the lowest failure rate.
  • Hormonal contraceptive implants are placed beneath the skin. They release contraceptive steroid, levonorgestrel, and are effective for three to five years.
  • Permanent method of contraception is surgical ligation of the fallopian tubes.
  • Emergency contraceptive pill is also a way of preventing unwanted pregnancy. The pill must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse.
  • Morning after IUD is also an effective contraceptive measure. The IUD must be inserted within five days of unprotected sexual intercourse. It stays effective for five to ten years.

For men:

  • Condom is a barrier contraceptive and quite effective to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
  • Male sterilization is a permanent method of contraceptive in which the vas deferens are ligated. However one has to be cautious and use barrier contraceptive in the initial two to three months following the procedure.

Importance of early visit to the doctor

In case you have become pregnant and do not wish to keep the pregnancy, you must visit your doctor at the earliest. The doctor shall:

  • Take a detailed history
  • Will do a physical examination
  • Get ultrasound and some investigations done

Abortion is a way to terminate the unwanted pregnancy. But, it must be performed within 12 weeks of unwanted pregnancy and in rare case upto 20 weeks. There are various abortion methods. The doctor determines which method to use in consultation with you:

  • Medical termination (abortion) in early unwanted pregnancy is a good choice
    • Always take medical abortion pills under strict medical supervision
    • Follow doctors’ advice
  • Surgical termination (abortion)
    • This is a safe surgical procedure and should be done under strict medical supervision

Always discuss the procedure with your doctorin detail and discuss all the pros and cons of the procedure.

The final words

As they say, prevention is better than cure. Though unwanted pregnancy can be easily dealt with, it is still better to adopt proper precautions to spare yourself all the stress and worries associated with an unwanted pregnancy and prevent unnecessary abortions or termination of pregnancy.

Dr. Rekha Khandelwal
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

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