Planned Pregnancy, COVID-19, and Considering Abortion

Planned Pregnancy, COVID-19, and Considering Abortion

You were looking forward to growing your family. You planned, and your positive pregnancy test brought a rush of excitement and anticipation for your new future. Then COVID-19 happened.

Suddenly, the future you envisioned has been replaced with uncertainty. The world that once felt safe to bring a child into now holds all that accompanies COVID-19; fear, job loss, and insurance loss. Reminders that much has changed are everywhere, from the constant news updates to seeing masks and barriers at the grocery store. For the first time, you’re navigating shelter-in-place orders, quarantines, social distancing, and shut-downs.

Perhaps your pregnancy excitement has turned to fear and trepidation, you’re wondering if this is the right time to be pregnant after all, and you’re considering abortion for your planned pregnancy.

Your Feelings Are Valid

We often think that parenting begins once our child is born, but your feelings reveal that it more likely starts once you know you’re pregnant. It’s natural to want to protect this planned pregnancy, which is why you’re asking yourself important questions. What if I (or my partner) get COVID-19? Will COVID-19 cause birth defects or other problems with pregnancy? How can I financially care for a child amidst a pandemic?

You never imagined you would be in the position of considering abortion for your planned pregnancy, but know that the questions and uncertainty you’re feeling are valid. This is a scary time to be pregnant, and many couples are experiencing the same doubts and fears about bringing a baby into this changing world.

There is good news. COVID-19 is temporary, and support is available to guide you through your questions and provide you tangible help to get through this time.

COVID-19 and Pregnancy

All couples who are expecting ask how COVID-19 will affect the pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that COVID-19 does not appear to cause harm to the unborn or nursing babies. The virus hasn’t been detected in amniotic fluid or breastmilk, even if the mother has become ill.

The CDC also reports, “pregnant people appear to have the same risk of COVID-19 as adults who are not pregnant.” Research indicates that if a pregnant woman does contract the virus while she’s pregnant, she isn’t at greater risk than any other adult who gets it. There doesn’t appear to be a higher risk of miscarriage or birth defects, either.

Despite the positives, the CDC recommends that pregnant women take precautions to protect themselves from illnesses since they may be at increased risk for some infections.

Financial Strain and Pregnancy

Do you feel like you suddenly lack resources to build your family? Has your financial situation considerably changed since you planned your pregnancy, causing you to consider abortion? You’re not alone. There is a tremendous amount of relief and financial resources available to you, ranging from food to rent relief and everything in-between.

Help Is Available

Our compassionate client advocates at Avail are here for you to listen to your concerns and fears without judgment. We understand the questions that come along with pregnancy, COVID-19, and considering abortion for a planned pregnancy.

We can meet with you (and your partner, if desired) remotely from the safety of your home to discuss your options so that you can move forward with confidence. Our advocates will listen to your needs and point you to the resources that are best for your situation. Contact us today for an appointment.

How Can I Support My Girlfriend After Her Abortion?

How Can I Support My Girlfriend After Her Abortion?

Making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy isn’t easy. We understand that it took a great deal of soul-searching and fact gathering for your girlfriend and you to choose abortion from a list of options that may have seemed overwhelming.

We realize that the abortion process affects both of you individually, and applaud you for wanting to know what you can do to support your girlfriend or partner in this season. You have a remarkable opportunity to practice empathy as she goes through the post-abortion process, and it’s the perfect time to show how much you care for her by providing practical and emotional support.

In this article, we’ll discuss what your girlfriend might experience after having an abortion, and what you can do to support her.

Provide Practical Support

Whether your girlfriend had a medical abortion or a surgical abortion, it was and will continue to be a shock to her system as her body heals. Cramping, bleeding, and fatigue might cause her not to feel well physically. You can provide practical support in the following ways:

  • Check in with her often by asking how she’s feeling and if she needs anything.
    • Water
    • Food
    • Extra pillows
    • Heating pad
    • Pain medication
    • Offer to run errands
    • Stay with her if she wants the company
    • Offer to take her to follow-up appointments
  • Show her you care by doing something special for her.
    • Buy her favorite flowers
    • Cook her favorite dinner (or take her out if she’s feeling up to it)
    • Bring her favorite books or magazines
    • Watch her favorite movie with her
    • Give her a unique gift
    • Write her an encouraging letter
  • Consider these examples of supportive communication:
    • “Do you want some alone time, or would you like me to stay with you?”
    • “I’m here for you whenever you feel like talking.”
    • “I’m sorry you’re the one physically going through this. What can I do to help?”
    • “What are you feeling? You’ve been through a lot.”
    • “Do you want to talk?”

Provide Emotional Support

Even if your girlfriend or partner felt certain abortion was the right choice, having an abortion can cause a wide range of emotions from relief to regret or sadness. The degree of emotion can vary from day to day and can rise up immediately following an abortion or years later. Recovery will require your emotional support so she’s not left alone to cope.

A major cause for the varied emotional responses after an abortion is the sudden drop in hormones. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) pregnancy hormone levels are at their highest before 17 weeks of pregnancy. When your girlfriend had her abortion, those hCG levels dropped suddenly, which can also cause emotional responses.

Post-Abortion Syndrome

While there is much discussion around Post-Abortion Syndrome Symptoms (PASS), it is understood that abortion is typically associated with stressful circumstances and therefore can potentially have psychological repercussions, according to Psychology Today. In addition, any event that causes trauma can indeed result in PTSD, and abortion is no exception, the article goes on to say. 

Some women report experiencing negative memories (sometimes called “trauma triggers”) of their abortion experience. Trauma triggers can be any sights, sounds, smells, or thoughts that remind your girlfriend of her abortion. If triggers begin to interfere with her quality of life, you may want to suggest professional counseling or attend a support group together. Learn more about the free services Avail NYC offers for those who are healing from a past abortion experience.

Your girlfriend may feel confused about what is happening to her body if she begins to have an array of positive or negative feelings, particularly if she identifies herself as an emotionally strong person. Learn to validate her feelings. Validating them doesn’t mean you agree with them; it means that you are hearing her and acknowledging her experience. Let her know that it’s normal if she feels relieved and sad all at the same time. And if a part of you has any negative feelings, share that with her, too. Assure her that you’re in this together.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, common negative feelings following an abortion experience include:

Anger

Anger is a normal emotion your girlfriend might feel during recovery from her abortion. She can be angry at herself for having to make an abortion decision, the medical community, her religious community, and even you. Take responsibility for your part in the pregnancy. Express that you’re sorry she is the one who has had to physically experience the abortion.

Guilt

Experiencing guilt doesn’t mean you regret your decision, rather it’s a natural response one can feel after making a very difficult decision. Guilt can stem from your girlfriend feeling she bears the entire weight of the decision and its consequences or how she views others in her life might perceive her for making this decision. Regardless of why she is experiencing guilt, acknowledge how she feels and provide encouragement.

Anxiety

An abortion is a significant event, and sometimes women experience anxiety afterward. Your girlfriend may express fear about her future or getting pregnant again. She may encounter difficulty sleeping and concentrating. She may also experience “panic attacks” that include shortness of breath and heart racing. If your girlfriend is suffering from these symptoms, encourage her to contact a mental health care professional.

Regret

It might surprise you if your girlfriend expresses regret after her abortion because you thought you both agreed you were making the best decision for your situation, but regret is also a common emotion for your girlfriend to experience. Your compassion won’t make her regret go away, but it can ease the pain.

Suicidal Thoughts

If your girlfriend makes any comments suggesting she is contemplating suicide, contact a physician or mental health professional immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.

It’s also important to understand that you and your girlfriend might not feel any negative emotions at all. You don’t have to regret your decision in order to desire professional support or a place to talk with others who have been in a similar situation. Support is still available to you.

If your girlfriend or you want to talk through any unresolved thoughts or emotions related to a past abortion experience, Avail NYC is here for you. We provide no-cost, one-on-one advocacy and post-abortion support groups led by compassionate and skilled advocates. Make a free, confidential appointment today.

Avail exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

Can I Get a Safe Abortion?

Can I Get a Safe Abortion?

Can I get a safe abortion? It’s one of the first questions that comes to mind when facing an unexpected pregnancy and considering all your options. In a situation that lends itself easily to scary scenarios, it’s important to make a decision you feel confident about.

At Avail NYC, we believe in empowering you with fact-based, accurate information, allowing you to make the best possible choice based on your needs and values.

Safety Has Improved

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved protocol for medication abortion was updated in 2016, based on extensive research showing improved outcomes with a revised regimen,” says the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in their 2018 study on “The Safety and Quality of Abortion Care in the U.S.”

“Techniques used in aspiration procedures are also safer and more effective than in the past. Sharp metal curettes, once commonly used, are considered obsolete by many professional groups, and their use is no longer recommended for abortion because of the increased (albeit rare) risk of injury. New approaches to cervical preparation and the use of ultrasound guidance have also improved abortion safety.”

NPR.org talked about the same study, adding, “I would say the main takeaway is that abortions that are provided in the United States are safe and effective,” says Ned Calonge, the co-chair of the committee that wrote the study. He is an associate professor of family medicine and epidemiology at the University of Colorado and CEO of The Colorado Trust.

Calonge added, “The researchers found that about 90 percent of all abortions happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. And complications for all abortions are rare.”

The study also noted that while there are fewer clinics now than there were in 2011, “The vast majority of abortions can be provided safely in office-based settings. For an outpatient procedure, including abortion, the important safeguards are whether the facility has the appropriate equipment, personnel, and an emergency transfer plan to address complications that might occur.”

Discuss Your Options

Before making an appointment for an abortion, come to Avail NYC. We will provide you with a free, self-administered pregnancy test so you can confirm your pregnancy.

If it comes back positive, we can refer for a free ultrasound through a third-party women’s medical facility to determine that the pregnancy is viable (not ectopic) and tell you how far along your pregnancy is.

Our client advocates are here to support you and walk you through your decision-making process, all in a caring, non-judgmental environment. Contact us today and we will help you look at all your options so you know you are making the best decision for you.

Make an Appointment

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

Abortion Recovery

Abortion Recovery

Abortion recovery isn’t something that is always openly talked about. Still, the need for information is real. How long does it take to recover physically? What about the emotional recovery? What is that like?

Sorting through all the available information can be a challenge, especially if you have recently found out you are pregnant and are trying to decide which path is best for you. If you are considering abortion as an option, it’s best to be prepared for what you will go through from beginning to end, and afterward.

Physical Recovery

While recovering in the first few days, experts advise drinking a lot of fluids, resting, taking vitamins and prescribed antibiotics, eating healthily, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding aerobic exercise for two weeks. Also, don’t lift anything over 15 pounds, and don’t have sex or use tampons or anything else vaginally for two to four weeks.

One of the most obvious effects following an abortion is bleeding, which lasts for one to two weeks, often includes blood clots, and can include cramping or bloating. If bleeding soaks two or more sanitary pads per hour, contact your doctor immediately.

After an abortion, your body will be working to get back to normal, and that happens faster than you might expect. Ovulation is likely to happen within two to three weeks following the abortion procedure. This means you may want to revisit your contraceptive options.

You should expect your first menstrual cycle to take place in four to eight weeks after an abortion procedure and it’s possible for it to be somewhat abnormal initially.

Emotional Recovery

Emotional recovery from an abortion looks different for everyone. Some women will feel relief, while others report feeling regret or experiencing depression.

These mixed emotions are common, and you are not alone. The medical professionals at Mt. Sinai in New York say, “It is normal to feel sad or depressed after this procedure. Seek help from your health care provider or a counselor if these feelings do not go away. A family member or friend can also provide comfort.”

It’s not uncommon for women to say that the procedure affected them more than they expected. Those who have been coerced, forced, or persuaded to get an abortion may struggle more than those who freely make their decision. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Ask For Help Before Deciding on Abortion

When faced with an unexpected pregnancy, it’s important to find a trusted person to walk alongside you, answer your questions, and listen as you evaluate your options based on your individual circumstances.

At Avail NYC, our client advocates will help you whether you are still deciding your path, or need emotional support after having an abortion. We are here to provide the services, space, and support you need. Contact Avail NYC or make an appointment.

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

Abortion Information

Abortion Information

When you’re faced with an unexpected pregnancy, it can be overwhelming. Even scary. What should you do? How can you face this? There are some decisions ahead of you, and it can be hard to know which one is right for you.

One of your choices is an abortion. Abortion information can be found all over the web, but there is a lot of misinformation out there, so how do you know what is true and what isn’t? Here at Avail NYC, we strive to provide honest and accurate information so you can make the best decision for you.

There are a few types of abortion, and the right one for you depends solely on how far along you are in your pregnancy. The timeframe allowing for abortion can change from state to state. For instance, Wisconsin allows them to take place up until 20 weeks, while other states such as New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and Nevada allow abortions up to 24 weeks.

The Abortion Pill

The abortion pill, used until a pregnancy is 10 weeks along, is actually a combination of two pills, taken separately. The first pill, mifepristone, blocks progesterone in your body. Two days later you will take the second pill, prostaglandin. You will make a final visit to the clinic to make sure the abortion was completed.

Surgical Abortion Procedures

Aside from the abortion pill, there are different surgical abortion procedures, which also depend on how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Aspiration can be done within seven weeks. Suction curettage is most commonly done between six and 14 weeks. A variation of this procedure, dilation and curettage, is also done between six and 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Dilation and evacuation can be done from 13 to 24 weeks and late-term abortion, from 20 weeks up to 24 weeks, takes three to four days to complete, using a few different drugs for different stages of the process, and ends in a surgical procedure.

Before You Decide

Before you make any decisions, call or make an appointment at Avail NYC. Our client services team offers unbiased information in a caring, non-judgmental environment.

Come in for a free, self-administered pregnancy test. If it comes back positive, Avail offers referrals to a women’s medical facility for free ultrasound exams to qualifying clients. This will confirm the pregnancy is viable, not dangerously ectopic, and tell you how far along you are in your pregnancy.

At Avail NYC, our caring advocates work hard to make sure you have all the information you need, the space to ask questions, and provide an environment where you are empowered. We want you to be confident in the decisions you make.

Make an Appointment

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

Confidential Abortion Information

Confidential Abortion Information

Although many pregnancies in the U.S. are unexpected, each unplanned pregnancy can still carry a social stigma for the women going through it—especially those who are still in school, who are no longer in a relationship with the father of the child, or who are dealing with an unstable employment or housing situation. In these cases, it’s more important than ever to think through your options in a space that’s free from pressure and judgment.

Read on to learn more about the decisions that await every woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and how you can receive support for these decisions in a caring, confidential, and compassionate environment.

Your Pregnancy Options and Decision-Making Process

In some cases, pregnancies end in miscarriage, which means that making plans before you even know whether your pregnancy is viable could be putting the cart before the horse.

If you take a pregnancy test, followed by an ultrasound to determine that your pregnancy is viable and everything seems to be in order, it becomes time to consider some of your other options. These may include parenting, adoption, or abortion. There are many aspects to each of these decisions, and it can be helpful to talk them out with someone you trust, who won’t judge you for your thoughts, feelings, or opinions.

Because abortion is strictly regulated in all 50 states and is generally unavailable after a certain gestation period (usually 12-24 weeks), it may not always be an option. It’s important for you to know what resources could be available before making any decision. Whatever you decide will be a lifetime commitment, so you should put everything on the table in order to make the most confident decision.

How to Find Support When Making Your Decision

Family members and friends can often be a good source of emotional support. But in some cases, this “support” may feel more like pressure to make a certain decision—and fear of the social consequences if you make a different choice. By talking through your options with a neutral third party, like the compassionate client advocates available at Avail NYC, you’ll be able to have all your questions answered before you make a decision.

Avail provides completely confidential abortion information along with more information and support for all the available options. If you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy and aren’t sure about your next steps, schedule a decision-making or pregnancy test appointment today.

Make an Appointment

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.

Is Abortion an Option? What You Need to Know

Is Abortion an Option? What You Need to Know

Many birth control methods bill themselves as “99.9 percent effective,” which can sound like foolproof protection against pregnancy. What these statistics don’t reveal is that their success rate is calculated under ideal circumstances—and that 0.01 percent failure rate means that even with perfect use, one in 100 women using that method will become pregnant every year. If you’re that one woman in 100 (or even 1 in 1,000), these failure and success statistics will quickly grow meaningless upon the reality you’re facing.

Dealing with an unexpected pregnancy can be a scary prospect, especially if you don’t have a strong family network and aren’t sure you can count on your friends for support. Read on for some guidance on what you’ll need to do when facing an unexpected pregnancy in New York City.

Have You Confirmed Your Pregnancy?

Before you begin to panic at the sight of a faint line on a home pregnancy test, you’ll want to confirm your pregnancy with a medical-grade test to ensure you’re not just worrying yourself over nothing. Home pregnancy tests may claim a certain accuracy threshold, but factors like how much water you’ve had to drink, what time you’re taking the test, what stage you are in your menstrual cycle, and what other medications (like antibiotics or supplements) you’re taking can all impact the accuracy of a home pregnancy test.

A medical-grade pregnancy test can confirm the presence of the hormone hCG, giving you the information you need to proceed in the decision-making process.

Is Your Pregnancy Viable?

While confirming your pregnancy is an important first step to take before making any decisions, you’ll next want to confirm viability before going forward. Between 15 and 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, which is defined as the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks (or about the five-month mark).

Having a prenatal ultrasound can ensure your pregnancy is viable and “date” the fetus so that you know exactly how far along you are. Having a firm due date can give you more information to make the rest of the decisions you’re facing.

Are You Confident in Your Decision-Making Process?

Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are magnified when the pregnancy is unplanned and you’re unsure of the options you have. If you don’t have a strong network of friends or non-judgmental family members to talk you through your options, it can be tough to make a decision you feel confident about.

If you just need someone to talk to, Avail NYC is here to provide unbiased information so you can make the best decision for YOU. We offer free self-administered pregnancy tests, referral ultrasounds, and many other resources. Ask us about our decision-making process and talk to a client advocate today.

Make an Appointment

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.