Horrors of popping pills randomly

How to terminate an unwanted pregnancy with pills?,’ ‘Is abortion possible at home?,’ ‘How to abort a pregnancy without going to the doctor?’

Such queries have been searched on Google by youngsters whose partners or themselves are getting pregnant unwillingly. The answers listed to these questions are the ‘pills’ that the friendly neighbourhood pharmacy will provide without any prescription or some foods that can induce an abortion naturally.

Experts say this recent phenomena, termed ‘web abortion’, is gaining popularity amongst young women as one of the easiest ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Needless to say these short-cut methods are not without their detriment.

“As feminism is gaining ground, women have become considerably more open and sexually active, which is rather liberating. But ideological discourses cannot be applied on your body.

These pills, prescribed online, contain high amounts of progesterone. Girls consume it without understanding that the biological clock is set according to their menstrual cycle. If certain hormones are consumed without discretion it can affect one’s cycle,” says Dr Mala Sabharwal, gynaecologist-surgeon at Jeevan Mala Hospital.

Sonia Pradhan (name changed), an 18-year-old who resorted to pills every time after sexual contact with her boyfriend, said, “I took these pills as a precaution against pregnancy as I did not want to get pregnant.

It seemed like a good idea as I was enjoying an affair. Sometimes my test showed I was pregnant and I would log in to see what the options are and to search for a clinic where I could get the pregnancy terminated discreetly.”

Dr Sheetal Agarwal the gynaecologist who treated Pradhan says, “Her periods were unstoppable. Her haemoglobin level fell so low that we had to give her three units of blood. Hence her parents also came to know about the situation.

We also counselled them regarding the matter.” says Dr Sabharwal, “Sometimes when these pills are taken without any monitoring they cause havoc in your body. I get five cases of irregular, chronic bleeding every week and one per cent of the time they are tested to be infertile.”

She adds a word of caution, “These pills have to be consumed at a certain time of gestation.

Sometimes with incomplete abortion, remnants are accumulated in the fallopian tubes. In this case a post consultation is required to make sure the pregnancy is terminated.”

Both the doctors warn against resorting to such short-cut methods which seemingly offer success and also a semblance of secrecy.

“Web abortions seem easy only because it saves money and the pregnancy remains a hidden story. But everyone’s biology is different and taking this kind of step can produce effects even after long periods of time. Doctors must be

consulted in this case and requested to keep the abortion confidential.”Studies suggest that unsafe abortions kill a woman every two hours in India (which is approximately 4,000 deaths a year). A Lancet paper in 2007 said there were 6.4 million abortions worldwide, of which 3.6 million or 56 per cent were unsafe.

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