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How Soon Can You Get An Abortion

by Lyndon Langley
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How Soon Can You Get An Abortion

How Soon Can You Get An Abortion

Finding out you’re pregnant is often one of the most shocking moments of your life. Your world changes immediately as questions flood your mind. What am I going to do? Who will take care of my children if something happens to me? How will I pay bills? Am I ready for this responsibility? How soon can I start trying? And on and on…
If you are not already at least 10 weeks along in your pregnancy, you may be thinking “I don’t want to know until after my due date.” But why wait? The truth is there are several medical conditions which could occur during pregnancy that would endanger both mother and child. For example, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, heart problems, placental abruption, placenta previa, preterm labor and delivery, and even death all happen more frequently when the fetus is less than 12 weeks old. In fact, research shows that women who abort earlier than 12 weeks have higher rates of these complications associated with pregnancy. So, if you find yourself suddenly faced with a situation where you need to decide whether or not to continue with the pregnancy, you should act sooner rather than later.
There are many reasons why you might feel pressured to keep the baby. Maybe you are still hoping that things work out with your partner and you don’t want to break his/her heart by having an abortion. Or maybe you just want to finish school before becoming a parent. Whatever your reason, you should always consider what is best for you as well as your health and the health of your unborn child. Here’s how you can determine exactly how long you can delay making an abortion decision:
Early Pregnancy Test Results – Within 3 Weeks
You can find out pretty quickly if you are pregnant because a urine test can detect pregnancy hormones as early as 6 – 7 days following intercourse. Some home pregnancy testing kits give results as soon as 2 – 3 days after unprotected sex. Early pregnancy tests also provide information on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Depending upon where you live, you may be able to go directly from the clinic or pharmacy to your doctor’s office for a pregnancy checkup. This is especially true if you are in your second trimester. However, some states and local municipalities restrict the number of visits you can receive per month so contact your healthcare provider to learn about their policies.
Pregnancy Symptoms – Between 4 & 8 Weeks
During this period of your pregnancy, symptoms such as breast tenderness, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue and weight gain or loss vary based on your particular pregnancy. These symptoms typically begin around 4 weeks but they can start as early as 1 week or as late as 9 weeks. It is common for women to experience two periods of morning sickness; one between 5 – 11 weeks and another between 13 – 24 weeks. Women should call their doctor if they notice any unusual bleeding, vaginal discharge or spotting, severe stomach cramps or backache.
Your Doctor’s Appointment – At Your First Visit
At your initial visit, your doctor will perform a physical exam, review your family history and discuss your current lifestyle. He or she will also order basic labwork including a complete blood count (CBC) and urinalysis. A pelvic examination will help your doctor assess the size of your uterus and fetal development. Ultrasound exams can also be performed to evaluate your cervix and heartbeat at this point.
Tests to Determine Placental Location – After 6 Weeks
In addition to performing a physical exam, your doctor will probably order certain specialized tests to determine the location of your pregnancy. If the pregnancy has been confirmed, he or she will arrange for a transvaginal ultrasound to measure the position of the fetus and placenta and to rule out multiple pregnancies. Other tests include a fundal height measurement which helps calculate the length of the uterus, and an x-ray called a biophysical profile which measures uterine activity.
Determining Gestational Age – From Week 13 Onward
Once you’ve made sure that your pregnancy is viable, your doctor will likely adjust your appointment schedule to accommodate other appointments. Your physician may ask that you come in every two weeks instead of weekly. During each visit he will confirm your pregnancy and estimate its approximate age. Based on your last menstrual period, your doctor can usually tell you approximately how far along you are.
With early pregnancy tests, it is possible to find out that you are pregnant within a few days of conception giving you time to think about your options, have conversations with the people who are important to you, and then make the decision that you believe is best for you.
While waiting until you reach the fourth week of your pregnancy to make an abortion decision may seem like a good idea in theory, real life situations sometimes present different challenges. For instance, if you are unmarried and living away from home, you may feel uncomfortable discussing your pregnancy with your parents. Or you might be concerned about being able to afford raising a child while continuing to pursue your education. Another consideration might be that you are involved in a domestic violence situation and don’t want to bring up the issue of terminating the pregnancy with your abuser. Perhaps you have decided to become involved in foster parenting or adoption services and you fear that telling your prospective adoptive parents about your pregnancy will affect your chances of getting placed with them. No matter what your personal circumstances, you should never let anyone influence your decisions regarding your pregnancy.

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