Should You Terminate the Pregnancy if the Screening Shows a Serious Abnormality?

Deciding to have an abortion can be difficult in any circumstances, but it can be even harder if you have just been told that your baby has an abnormality. You will have lots of different screening tests during pregnancy to check for different kinds of abnormalities. If one of these tests reveals that there is a serious abnormality, you will be faced with a difficult decision. Should you continue with the pregnancy or have an abortion for medical reasons?

Making Your Decision

No one can tell you whether you should terminate the pregnancy if screening reveals a serious abnormality. It is a very personal decision that will depend on lots of different factors. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to make the decision on your own.

You should discuss the situation with the doctor or sonographer who diagnosed the abnormality. It can also be helpful to visit an abortion clinic to learn more about your options. You will get unbiased advice on all of your choices. Talking to our partner, a friend or family member can also be important. Even if they can’t offer medical advice, they can provide emotional support.

Questions to Consider

Whether you are talking to different people about your options or taking some time to think by yourself, there are some important points that you should consider. Having the answers to the following questions should help you to decide whether an abortion is right for you.

  • What will happen to me if I continue with the pregnancy? For example, is there is a risk of complications that could damage your health or put your life at risk.
  • What will happen to the baby if I continue with the pregnancy? Some abnormalities will be fatal before or soon after birth. Others may cause lifelong mental or physical problems. It is important to have a realistic view of what these would be like and how much care your child would need.
  • What treatments and help are available for children with this abnormality? Some abnormalities, such as heart defects may be treatable with medication or surgery. Support will also be available through social services and charitable organisations if your child has a mental or physical disability.
  • How would I cope if I had the baby? Caring for a child with a serious abnormality is difficult. Some people manage it well, but if you would be a single parent, lack family support, or don’t have stable finances, it can be harder.
  • How would I feel if I had an abortion, now and in the future?
  • How would I feel if I continued with the pregnancy, now and in the future?

None of these questions have simple answers but learning as much as you can about the abnormality and what it would mean for your child can help you to make a better decision. Whether you have an abortion will probably depend on how severe the abnormality is and if you feel able to provide the care that your child would need.

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