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Navigating the Decision to Terminate a Pregnancy

The decision to terminate a pregnancy can be one of the most difficult and emotional choices a woman may face. Women and families must have access to accurate information and support to help them navigate this complex decision. In this blog post, we will discuss the different methods of termination, legal and ethical considerations, counseling and support resources, coping strategies for managing the emotional impact, and ways that partners and families can provide support. 

Understanding the Termination of Pregnancy

Termination of pregnancy (also known as abortion) is the medical procedure to end a pregnancy. In Hong Kong, doctors can evaluate whether you are eligible for an abortion or not. It is best to consult your doctor for appropriate care and support if you are considering terminating your pregnancy, as it is a complex and sensitive issue. 

When the assessment is completed, you can choose the termination method according to your situation. There are two main types of termination:   

Medical termination 

  • Involves taking two medications to induce a spontaneous passage of the fetus and placenta 
  • Does not require anaesthesia 
  • A pregnant woman may expect bleeding and cramps during the procedure 

Surgical termination 

  • Can only be performed before 13 weeks (about 3 months) age of gestation 
  •  Done under general anaesthesia and involves putting an instrument inside the uterus to remove the fetus and the products of conception
  •  Pregnant woman would not feel any pain during the procedure but could have mild cramps and bleeding afterward 

Hong Kong Treatment Options 

The treatment options for a termination of pregnancy depend on the type and stage of pregnancy. Pregnancy termination in Hong Kong must be performed in approved hospitals or properly designated clinics. It cannot be carried out in any ordinary clinic. Please refer to the government website for the full list of approved medical institutions (1). 

Reasons for Considering Termination

Women and families may consider termination of pregnancy for a variety of reasons, including personal, medical, and financial. Some common causes include: 

Women's health concerns

  • Such as high-risk pregnancies or medical conditions that could be aggravated by pregnancy 

Fetal health concerns

  • Such as genetic abnormalities or severe birth defects 

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Abortion is a controversial issue with legal and ethical considerations. The legality and restrictions of termination vary by region and country. In some places, it is legal and accessible, while in others, it is heavily restricted or illegal. Ethical considerations include the impact on women's reproductive rights and autonomy and individuals' and societies' moral and religious beliefs.  

In Hong Kong, the legal limit for termination of pregnancy is before 24 weeks.

Preparing for the decision

Women and families considering termination of pregnancy should be aware of the counseling and support resources available to them. Many clinics and doctors offer counseling services to help women and families make informed decisions and prepare for the procedure. Preparation may include physical examination, blood tests, ultrasound, emotional counseling, and support groups.

Making the decision

The decision to terminate a pregnancy is personal and complex and should be made after careful consideration. Women should consider their values, beliefs, and circumstances when deciding. It's important to seek accurate information and support from doctors, counselors, and support groups.

After the decision

After the procedure, women do undergo physical and emotional recovery. However, physical recovery may include cramping, bleeding, and fatigue while emotional healing may involve feelings of sadness, guilt, and grief. It's important to seek follow-up care and support resources to help manage the physical and emotional impact.

Coping strategies

Coping strategies can help women and families manage the emotional impact of the termination of pregnancy. These may include self-care practices, like exercise, healthy eating, relaxation techniques, counseling, and support groups. Finding coping strategies that work for everyone's unique needs is important.

Partner and Family Support

Partners and family members can support women during the decision-making process and after the procedure. It may include emotional support, such as active listening and validating feelings, and practical support, such as transportation and childcare. Partners and family must communicate openly and honestly and respect each other's feelings and decisions. 

Conclusion

We understand that the decision to terminate pregnancy can be a challenging process. If you need more clarification on your options or more information about the termination procedure, you should speak to your doctor for guidance and support. 

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References

  1. ORPHF Government. Approved Hospital / Clinic under Section 47A (3) of the Offences Against the Person Ordinance (Cap. 212). Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://www.orphf.gov.hk/en/useful_information/approved_hospital_clinic_under_cap_212  
  2. The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong. Termination of pregnancy. Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://www.famplan.org.hk/en/our-services/clinic-services/termination-of-pregnancy/content  
  3. Planned Parenthood. Considering Abortion. Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/considering-abortion  
  4. National Abortion Federation. Abortion: What to Expect. Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://prochoice.org/patients/abortion-what-to-expect/  
  5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Talking About Abortion: Core Messages. Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://www.acog.org/advocacy/abortion-is-essential/come-prepared/core-messages  
  6. World Health Organization. Abortion. Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://www.who.int/health-topics/abortion#tab=tab_1  

Topics: Pregnancy, Women's Health

OT&P Healthcare

OT&P Healthcare

OT&P Healthcare is a Premium Private Healthcare Practice in Hong Kong. Our priority is to help individuals to enhance and optimise their health by providing easy access to a wide range of excellent practitioners and information, supported by management systems and technology that ensure quality of service and value. Our Mission is to provide pre-eminent private healthcare in Hong Kong. We aim to be the best in class fully integrated healthcare service, providing a circle of care for all our patients' needs.

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