Women procure abortions for a number of reasons which may be personal or medical. The procedure involves stopping a pregnancy from going on to full term. However, a woman who chooses an abortion may still want to have children later in life, when she is ready for it. If you have had an abortion and are considering getting pregnant, you could be having one question in your mind: Can an abortion affect future pregnancies? Let us find out the answer.
Can an Abortion Prevent Future Pregnancies?
Normally, abortion does not cause infertility, nor can it cause complications in subsequent pregnancies. However, there is research that links abortion to possible risks of:
- Preterm birth
- Vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy
- Retained placenta
- Low birth weight
A medical abortion involves ingestion of medicine that will remove the fetus and is supposed to have no effects on the woman. A surgical procedure to remove the fetus engages the use of a vacuum device, a spoon-shaped instrument or a syringe, depending on the stage of pregnancy. This procedure is safe and involves minimal risks of damaging the cervix or uterus. In case of damage to the cervix or uterus, corrective surgery is performed to remedy the situation before the woman conceives again.
It is important to note that women who have had multiple surgical abortions have an increased risk of having a weak cervix which can lead to a miscarriage or a preterm birth.
Infection After Abortion
There is a little risk of contracting an infection after having an abortion. A womb infection, if not properly treated, can spread to your fallopian tubes and ovaries. This kind of infection is known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
PID increases the risk of infertility and ectopic pregnancies (when the fertilized egg is implanted in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus). However, most infections are managed before they advance to this stage. Before an abortion, the patient is normally put on antibiotics to reduce the risk of contracting an infection.
If you experience any of the following symptoms after an abortion, seek medical attention immediately:
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Severe pain in your belly region
Tips for Successful Pregnancy After Abortion
1. Consult Your Physician
If you are still worried and wondering in your mind, "Can an abortion prevent future pregnancies?" your healthcare provider can help you understand the risks associated with having an abortion and give you tips that will help you to conceive in the future.
Your doctor can conduct physical examinations to make sure that your uterus and cervix have not suffered any damage, and evaluate what impact any previous infection may have on your ability to conceive.
2. Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy diet is critical to the proper functioning of your reproductive organs. Eating a well-balanced diet with regular servings of green leafy vegetables and fruits will boost the efficient functioning of your body. Keep off unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking and excessive intake of caffeine.
3. Give Yourself Time to Recover
Allowing your body to recover after an abortion or a trauma increases your chances of conceiving again. The recommended waiting period is usually six to eight weeks within which you should take prescribed vitamins and mineral supplements.
4. Have Sex Frequently
Engaging in regular sexual intercourse is a good way to increase your chances of conception. However, you and your partner should take a three to six day rest period to allow your partner’s sperm count to increase after a period of rigorous sexual activity.
Some people also suggest that you lay down with your hips elevated for 20-25 minutes after sex to assist the sperm to reach the egg faster, bringing to an end the question "Can an abortion prevent future pregnancies?"
5. Take Advantage of Your Ovulation Time
Perfectly timing your ovulation helps to achieve conception more easily. This period usually comes two weeks after the last menses. You can easily purchase an ovulation kit online or buy one from a store nearby.
6. Load Up on Folic Acid
Start taking folic acid as soon as you start planning to conceive again after an abortion. Folic acid will help your body to support a healthy pregnancy and prevent congenital disabilities in the baby. It is especially important if you have had multiple abortions or are having a late pregnancy.
7. See a Specialist
In case you have tried to get pregnant for more than 12 months without success, or six months if you are aged 40 or above, consult a fertility specialist for assistance. Your specialist may prescribe fertility medications, or introduce you to assisted reproductive techniques such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine fertilization (IUF).
While the question "Can an abortion prevent future pregnancies" may be causing you some anxiety, following these tips, relaxation and patience will in most cases lead to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.