Therapeutic abortion: everything you need to know

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Therapeutic abortion

In the towntherapeutic abortion it is allowed only in severe cases and before the fetus can live independently outside the uterus. How does it work? Under what circumstances can a woman ask for it? Until when is it possible to intervene? Here's everything you need to know.

Therapeutic abortion: how it is defined

THEtherapeutic abortion is l 'termination of a pregnancy, carried out through medical procedures and interventions in order to preserve the health of the mother or to avoid the birth of a child suffering from serious diseases (eg. Down syndrome) or malformations

We are talking specifically about IVG that is voluntary termination of pregnancy which in the country is regulated by the Law n. 194 of May 22, 1978.

In fact, this law establishes that all voluntary terminations of pregnancy are "therapeutic"Since abortion is allowed only in cases where pregnancy or childbirth or even maternity can represent a serious danger to your physical or mental health, as well as that of the newborn.

Read also: Letter from the midwife to a woman who has had an abortion

When can therapeutic abortion be requested?

In the former 90 days of pregnancy (i.e. by the end of the first trimester) you can apply for an abortion, even for reasons other than the protection of your health (e.g. for economic reasons - when you are unable to provide for the support of the unborn child - for social reasons, for family reasons, etc.).

After the first quarter, therefore we are over 90 days from conception, you can apply for an abortion but always and only if they have been ascertained serious medical conditions that justify its execution.

These conditions are set out in Article 6 of Law 194:

  • the continuation of pregnancy and / or childbirth constitute a serious and effective danger for the woman's life;
  • the presence of pathological processes has been ascertained, including those relating to significant malformations or anomalies of the unborn child, which can be a cause of danger not only for him but also for yourself.

Practical examples of cases in which it is possible to resort to therapeutic abortion

In the event that you, a woman, expressly request therapeutic abortion, before proceeding it is necessary that all possible serious conditions for which abortion is the only solution, are ascertained by the competent doctor.

Conditions may only affect you mother, such as:

  • severe cardiovascular diseases,
  • kidney disease,
  • some tumors (k mammary, k cervix, leukemia, melanoma, ok stomach or lungs, especially if metastasized which can reach the placenta and therefore the fetus).

The serious medical conditions that may affect your future child and that may make you opt for a therapeutic abortion are for example:

  • malformations,
  • neurological defects,
  • chromosomal disorders and abnormalities,
  • metabolic disorders.                                         

How do you proceed in the event of a therapeutic abortion?

If you've decided to terminate pregnancy you can contact a public consultancy or a socio-health structure authorized by the region or simply your family doctor who will be able to direct you in the right direction.

In all cases, it will always and in any case reviewed your abortion request.

We will try to understand what the reasons who prompted you to request an abortion (whether personal problems of the economic or social or even family type) and if possible the doctor will try to help you remove the causes that prompted you to make such a request. He will try to enable you to assert your rights both as a worker and as a mother and will try to offer you all the help you need for pregnancy or after.

After evaluating your personal condition, if theimmediate urgency to intervene, you will be released on certified that you certify that you are pregnant and that you have requested the interruption with which you can go to the facilities where the abortion will then be performed.

If, on the other hand, the doctor does not ascertain a case of urgency, he will still issue you the certificate also signed by you, and invites you to postpone it for at least 7 days, during which you can decide to abort or even continue the pregnancy.

The methods of therapeutic abortion

Therapeutic abortion is basically a surgical abortion which can be performed in various ways depending on the gestational age and in any case the doctor's evaluation.

Usually by 15 / 16 weeks you can resort to emptying the uterus or by means of curettage or with hysterosuction (metodo Karman).

Both surgical treatments involve a recovery in the hospital, you will be anesthetized (or simple sedation in narcosis or general anesthesia, depending on the case), dilate the uterine neck with metal dilators or even suitable drugs (prostaglandin analogues).

  • If you practice hysterosuction, use one cannula which goes to aspirate all placental and fetal material.
  • If a curettage, a specific instrument called a spoon-shaped “curette” is used, with which the entire lining of the uterus is gently scraped and the product of conception is thus removed.             

After 16 weeks instead, in the event of an abortion request, you will have to give birth, after having triggered a real labor.

There is also the possibility ofdrug abortion that is, by means of the "abortion pill" or RU 486 but it is to be preferred only if the interruption occurs quite early (within the 7th week of pregnancy, calculated from the first day of the last menstruation).

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Possible complications related to therapeutic abortion

If you decide to proceed with a therapeutic abortion, it is important that you do not underestimate them side effects that could occur later.

Complications could occur following a pharmacological abortion and these are mostly attributable to the drugs administered (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, vaginal bleeding, headache, gastric cramps, etc. ..).

Side effects related totherapeutic but surgical abortion: pain first of all, the intensity of which can vary from woman to woman, and blood loss even for several days, possible onset of infections, especially when the uterus is not completely emptied but residues remain inside, and in the case of scraping , if this is not done correctly, it can cause an excessive removal of the endometrium and therefore damage or injury, including perforation of the uterus.

Do not underestimate the possible at all psychological complication that an abortion, even if therapeutic and necessary, could cause you.

In fact, this experience could have important and serious devastating repercussions on yours psyche. In fact, you may manifest negative feelings such as guilt, frustration, inadequacy, anger, sadness. And in the long run you could face real psychological disorders like depression, suicidal tendencies, psychosis and anxiety.

So, when you decide to opt for a therapeutic abortion, always take into consideration all this and if possible do not do everything alone, but ask for help and support from your partner or family. If this is not possible or sufficient, contact specialist doctors or competent health personnel, who will be able to give you the support and care you need.


  • Ministry of Health
  • Luca Coscioni Association
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