Caricature of young woman holding a pregnancy test

The risks of a home abortion

Eat this, drink that, insert that…the risks of unsafe home abortion range from incomplete abortion to death.

Unwanted pregnancies due to failed contraceptives, rape, medical conditions, career goals, financial status, etc. may force women to consider having an abortion.

But its not always that easy:

Restrictive laws and stigma force many women to consider having an unsafe abortion at home. Often, these women get advice on what to use from other women or unqualified online sources.

Some suggested home remedies are drinking tea with an excessive amount of tea leaves or taking excessive amounts of various herbs, fruits, and supplements. 

Others suggest the use of sharp objects, including sticks, through the cervix to the uterus to induce an abortion.

Let’s stop this.

None of these options are recommended. Some are clearly not effective while others are very dangerous.

  1. An incomplete abortion

    An incomplete abortion occurs when a pregnancy is terminated, but some of the fetal tissue remains in the womb. If left untreated, it can lead to significant blood loss, serious infections, or death.

    The scary thing about an incomplete abortion is that a woman may not realize it until she develops serious symptoms such as heavy bleeding.

    It is recommended that you seek medical treatment in case you have had an abortion at home to ensure that the abortion was successful or get post-abortion care.

  2. Heavy bleeding

    This is also known as hemorrhaging.

    At home abortion may lead to heavy internal bleeding. This is quite dangerous and it is possible not to notice it until it is too late.

    Heavy bleeding can eventually lead to death.

  3. Infection

    This is especially possible in cases where people insert dangerous things such as sticks through the cervix. This damages the cervix and internal organs, including the uterus. This can cause infection and ultimately cause infertility.

    In some case, some women get severe infection which is life threatening.

  4. Toxicity

    When you consume anything in excessive amounts, it can be toxic. This includes natural remedies.

    Since abortion is illegal in Kenya, women may be forced to buy harmful and toxic remedies from unqualified sellers. These can lead to toxicity meaning that the liver may not be able to remove the toxins from the body.

    In serious cases, toxicity can lead to liver damage and liver failure.

Get help

In case you have attempted a home abortion, you are advised to visit a doctor immediately. You can visit your nearest Marie Stopes Clinic for post abortion care. Be honest with your doctor about what you’ve done as they will need to have this important information so as to suggest the best treatment option(s). You can also visit them for pregnancy crisis counselling.

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