Contraception is important if a couple does not intend to have a baby in the process of sexual intercourse, this is especially the case after a pregnancy abortion. Statistically, out of the 6.6 million pregnancies occurring annually in the US, 51% are unplanned. That’s an unnecessarily huge figure when one has the option of good contraceptive methods. Hence, experts recommend the use of contraceptives immediately after a pregnancy abortion, whatever may be the method of abortion. Although, the actual menstrual cycle may take some time to restart, fertility usually returns within 8-10 days after a pregnancy abortion. Besides, as abortion involves little or no complications so sexual activity can be resumed immediately. As a result, a woman has a higher chance of getting pregnant again. Hence, the need for contraception.
Importance of Education Before and After an Abortion
Every woman should be educated about the different methods of contraception, so she can take an informed decision about the most suitable contraceptive for her. To avoid uncalled for stress to both your body and mind from an unplanned pregnancy or even a planned pregnancy that comes too soon after a pregnancy abortion, understanding of the varied methods of contraception is necessary.
Contraception Options After a Pregnancy Abortion
Usually, you can use any type of contraception after an abortion, unless your doctor for some specific reason has advised you otherwise. Here’s a list of the options available to you.
- Oral Contraceptive Pills: These pills are either a combination of estrogen and progesterone or plain progesterone. For most women it’s safe to begin with the OCPs immediately after a medicine induced abortion or within five days of an abortion by any other method.
- IUD -Intrauterine devices are advised only 3 weeks after an abortion, especially is it has been done surgically. In case of medicine induced abortion, an IUD may be inserted earlier, but not before confirmation of the passage of the complete contents of pregnancy with an ultrasound.
- Barrier methods – These include condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, spermicidal jellies. They can be used as soon as sexual activity is resumed after a pregnancy abortion. However, in case of second trimester pregnancy abortions, diaphragms should be used only after 4 weeks.
- Tubal ligation/Tubectomy– This procedure can be done at any point of time once a confirmed decision has been made by the woman and her partner. This is a permanent choice, which is usually irreversible.
- Natural family planning methods– These are extremely unreliable and should not be practiced after a pregnancy abortion, especially since the menstrual cycle takes some time to establish a fixed pattern again. So, it’s best to avoid them at least till your menstrual cycle regularizes itself. Usually an established pattern is reached after 3-4 monthlies.
- Other hormonal methods: Injectable contraceptives, hormonal patches, implants, or vaginal rings can be used immediately after a medicine-induced abortion or within five days of a surgical pregnancy abortion. Although, it’s advised to delay the use of vaginal rings until the bleeding stops, mainly to avoid infections.
- Emergency contraception or the morning after pill: This method is indicated in instances of failed contraception or if it hasn’t been used at all during sexual intercourse. However, it should be used only after consulting your doctor. It should also in no way be confused with medical abortion.
Family Planning Methods as a Part of Post Abortion Care
Thus, family planning and birth control methods form a very important aspect of post abortion care and should always be discussed between patient and doctor. With the right precautions, most types of contraception can be used as soon as possible after the termination of pregnancy or usually after the first regular menstrual cycle. Hence, discuss the various techniques of contraception and the most suitable method for you with your healthcare provider.