Rise in abortion rates among youngsters a serious concern

Rise in abortion rates among youngsters a serious concern

By DR. SEEMA SHARMA | | 1 October, 2016
Abortion, youngster, pregnancy, sexual promiscuity
With a spike in unwanted pregnancies in India, especially among the young, abortion rates have also seen a significant increase. This development comes with great risks and calls for greater awareness.

Shining India is seen to be synonymous with its new generation of brazen young go-getters, who want everything instantaneously. This is reflected in the no-strings attached attitude when it comes to sex and the rise in abortion rates among the young.  

Q. Are abortion rates in youngsters actually increasing?

A. Yes, with increasing liberalisation in every aspect of our life, sexual promiscuity in our society has gone up.  Physical proximity to the opposite sex is more widely accepted than ever before.  Sadly, however, contraceptive use and safe-sex practices have not kept up. As a result, we see more and more young and unmarried girls getting unwanted pregnancy and wishing abortion services.

As a society we are quite oblivious to the sexual needs of the younger generation. Since sex education is not a priority for our education system or parents, a lot of women learn about the facts the hard way — after they have become pregnant. 

Q. What goes on in a young girl’s mind when she gets pregnant?

A. The social stigma of premarital sex or an unwed motherhood scares them. As a result, young women are hesitant to confide to their parents and try to end pregnancy using whatever half-baked information is available online or through friends.

 

“Another potentially lethal but common practice is to buy the MTP kit from the chemist and just have it. These kits should never be sold or taken without medical supervision. But due to lax laws, these kits are sold and purchased at will.”

Q. What mistakes do youngsters usually make when they try to end an unwanted pregnancy?

A. Common practices that have been adopted to end an unwanted pregnancy are excessive use of papaya, melon seeds, dry fruits, black cumin seeds etc. These are orally ingested in the hope that these will induce bleeding and cause abortion. There is no robust medical research which says that these foods will cause abortion. On the other hand, these produce unpleasant side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and gastritis. Not to mention that the pregnancy may continue unhindered and the couple would soon surpass the legal limit for an MTP  [Medical Termination of Pregnancy] after which the doctors will also not be able to help them.

Women also try to put corrosive acids in vagina in the hope of burning the growing pregnancy but eventually getting burns in the vaginal area which may take years of pain and effort to heal. 

Another potentially lethal but common practice is to buy the MTP kit from the chemist and just have it. These kits should never be sold or taken without medical supervision. But due to lax laws, these kits are sold and purchased at will. 3-4% women have an ectopic pregnancy and without an ultrasound no one can be sure of this diagnosis. Women try to avoid visiting gynaecologists and may be playing with their lives as these kits are not effective to abort an ectopic pregnancy. These kits may even cause little amount of spotting and the woman may falsely believe that she has aborted. Because a confirmatory scan has not been done, this ectopic pregnancy may continue to grow and eventually rupture her fallopian tubes causing life-threatening bleeding inside her abdomen. In these situations only an emergency surgery can save her life.

Q. What is the way out?

A. Youngsters are strongly advised to confide about their situation to their parents or elder sibling and visit a qualified gynecologist. Let her examine and advise you about the best way to end an unwanted pregnancy and be under supervision till it is over. Also learn the proper use of contraceptive devises like condoms or pills for future safety. 

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