"The Valley Care Pregnancy Centre offers caring, respectful, loving and open-minded support." - a recent guest
You may be considering abortion as an option for your unplanned pregnancy. In Nova Scotia, surgical abortion may be done if your pregnancy is 15 weeks and 6 days or less, counting from the first day of your last normal menstrual period. The Valley Care Pregnancy Centre offers information on abortion and decision making tools and support to help you make an informed health decision. An unplanned pregnancy is difficult to experience. We are here for you.
Most women say what they need most when facing an unplanned pregnancy is loving support and a safe place with someone who will listen. We are here for you. We have information that you may find very helpful. However, if you are only looking for abortion and do not want any other information or support or help with decision making, you may not want to visit this centre because providing or assisting with abortion is outside our scope of services, so that's important for you to know. Our first priority is you, and we look forward to seeing you.
"The honesty and caring and integrity is what I liked best about my visit with the Valley Care Pregnancy Centre."
- one of our recent guests
Read about Plan B and other Emergency Contraception (EC) pills' effectiveness for how long you wait after taking it and how your weight may play a role.
Have you seen magazine ads for a medical treatment, followed by one or two pages of warnings in small black print? That's because it's important to explore the risks of of any health care procedure so that you make an informed decision. Here are some things you may want to consider.
Risks of Abortion
"Ambivalence" is when you have mixed feelings about something. Abortion is an irreversible process. That's why ambivalence is an "absolute contraindication" for the abortion pill (see top of page 2). Absolute contraindications are when it is inadvisable without exception or qualification; the procedure is either permanently recommended against, or temporarily until the disqualifying condition is remediated. It means that this medication could cause a life-threatening situation if used. As long as you are experiencing ambivalence (mixed feelings), then this medication is not recommended; a medical abortion must be avoided. We specialize in helping people work through their mixed feelings so they can make an informed health decision.
Abortion and Mental Health
"Having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences." (Mayo Clinic)
While emotional responses to abortion can vary widely among individuals, the emotional risks some studies find that are associated with abortion include:
1. Depression or anxiety.
2. Feelings of guilt, shame, or regret.
3. Relationship issues or conflict with partners or family members.
4. Difficulty coping with the decision to have an abortion.
5. Substance and Alcohol abuse.
We are here to support you and heal from any or all of these symptoms if this is your experience. (1)
The World Health Organization considers abortion to be a "problem." When considering your options, it's important to note that the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education has quoted (on pg. 5) the World Health Organization which labels abortion as a "negative" condition or outcome, and the personal stories from all the women who have shared their abortion experience with us strongly support that statement.
Although the predominant emotional response to induced abortion is said to be relief for most women, negative reactions can include extreme grief, guilt, shame, anger, regret, increased symptoms of emotional disorders the patient has or has had in the past, and an inability to cope. Research has identified several psychosocial predictors for negative emotional complications of abortion. It is wise to use the list of risk factors (below) to assess the level of care you may need before an abortion. If you have risk factors, you may require more time to reconsider options or make a plan for coping strategies.
You may be at risk of negative emotional complications of abortion:
If you feel that abortion is extremely stressful before it occurs.
If you experience social stigma and antiabortion demonstrators on the day of the abortion.
If you have an existing emotional disorder or mental illness prior to the abortion.
If you have significant ambivalence (mixed feelings) about the decision.
If you feel others are coercing (pressuring) you to have the abortion.
If you have intense guilt and shame before the abortion.
If you believe that abortion is the same act as killing a newborn infant.
If you lack emotional support and are receiving criticism from significant people in your life.
If medical professionals indicate that there is a fetal abnormality or other medical indications for the abortion.
If you feel committed and attached to the pregnancy.
If you are in advanced stages of pregnancy.
If you are putting great effort into keeping the abortion a secret for fear of stigma.
If your usual way of coping with stress is denial and repressing thoughts.
If you have unresolved past losses and perception of abortion as a loss.
If you have experienced past or present sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.
If you have pre-existing experience of trauma.
If you are expecting depression, severe grief or guilt and regret after the abortion.
If you disbelieve your ability to do what it takes to produce a positive outcome after the abortion.
Countless women and men have shared with us here at the Valley Care Pregnancy Centre their deep, long-term, unwanted feelings of regret, sorrow, guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, long-term physical health complications and suicidal thoughts and behavior which they say are directly linked to their abortion experience. (This sentiment is also expressed in the YouTube Rap music video by Flipsyde created on the anniversary of the abortion of his child. He called the video "Happy Birthday" as he grieves the regret of the loss of his child through abortion.) A local abortion provider told us that in his experience "there aren't any women who are glad they had an abortion."
We share these things with you because for some reason, these more difficult experiences with abortion are often not discussed. Maybe it's because people think their difficult experience is unique or maybe people don't want to add "bad news" to an already difficult situation. Whatever the reason is, we share this with you to help you make an informed health decision.
One crisis textbook states, "Faith plays a huge role in the outcome of a crisis ... To deny or act as if religion, faith, or spirituality are not part of any crisis is to neglect a large part of a crisis response for most people. For most people trauma is the ultimate challenge to meaning-making, and for most people, that meaning-making is attached to some kind of faith."
If you would like to know our heart's conviction here at the Valley Care Pregnancy Centre which we have for those facing an unplanned pregnancy (which includes a faith perspective), please read the following sentences. It is our conviction that God is the author of all life and that He has a plan for every life and that every human life is wanted and designed by Him, for He created us in His image. He can and will give you what it takes and the support you need to handle this situation if you will turn to and trust in Him. He entered into our struggles and our deepest pain in the person of His Son, Jesus. He took on Himself all the blame for all the wrong we have done and displayed His love for us by dying for our sins, in our place. He was buried and then rose again bodily from the dead three days later. If we trust in Him and His love for us, He will give us His life and love that empowers us to face any challenge. For those of us here at the Valley Care Pregnancy Centre, He has given us His love and has sent us to do whatever we can to help and support those facing an unplanned or difficult pregnancy so that they might know His love through us.
Some studies have been interpreted to say that there is no link between abortion and later mental health problems. However, Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences evaluated 30 studies and found that, "abortion is a risk factor for subsequent mental illness when compared with childbirth." Then again, the American Psychological Association put together a task force on mental health and abortion. Their conclusion was that there is "unlikely to be a single definitive research study that will determine the mental health implications of abortion once and for all given the diversity and complexity of women and their circumstances." After reviewing the evidence, you will have to decide for yourself as you make an informed health decision. We are here to be with you through this decision making process. Please let us know how we can help you.
Some say they do not regret their abortion. Others say it was the worst thing they've ever done. We have the time and resources to help you sort out your thoughts and feelings in making an informed health decision.
Other Notes of Interest
The cost of abortion in Nova Scotia is free to those who have a Nova Scotia Health Card. A medical (procedural) abortion may be done if your pregnancy is 15 weeks and 6 days or less, counting from the first day of your last normal menstrual period.
If you have medical concerns, like, "How long should I bleed after an abortion," please call 811 in Nova Scotia to speak to a registered nurse free of charge.
Some people have voiced concern over the debate as to whether or not contraception can end the development of a growing human life. Karen Swallow Prior has written an article about this concern for The Atlantic magazine.
or Set Up an Appointment HERE
Many inform us that fetal development is an important consideration for them as they consider making an informed health decision. There are myths that abortion is only about clumps of cells. You may find it important to know how well developed a little one is at even 5-6 weeks.
If you are interested, scroll down to see live video of human development during the early weeks of pregnancy.
Most abortions in our province are performed when the baby is between 7-10 weeks gestation (after fertilization).
The images below are of a fetal sac (inside and out) at 45 days gestation (about six weeks gestation).
Below, click the "play" button to view this video (below) of what is inside that 6 week fetal sac.
Click the play button to see 7 and a half weeks gestation (below)
Click the play button to see 9 weeks gestation (below)
Pregnancy and Breast Cancer
Having a first full-term pregnancy before the age of 20 is a factor that has been associated with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later in life. Not giving birth at all increases the risk for breast cancer.
According to The Canadian Cancer Society's website, reproductive history is a "risk factor" for breast cancer. A risk factor is something that increases the risk of developing cancer. The website states, "Estrogen is the main hormone associated with breast cancer. Estrogen affects the growth of breast cells. Experts believe that it plays an important role in the growth of breast cancer cells as well. The type of exposure and how long cells are exposed to estrogen affects the chances that breast cancer will develop." Therefore, waiting until you are older to become pregnant (called "late pregnancy" resulting in birth) or having no pregnancies resulting in birth are risk factors for developing breast cancer.
As long as a woman is pregnant, exposure of breast cells to circulating estrogen is interrupted. The Canadian Cancer Society's website goes on to say that pregnancy "also lowers the total number of menstrual cycles a woman has in her lifetime. ... Women who have their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 30 have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than women who have at least one full-term pregnancy at an earlier age. Giving birth at an early age (such as before age 20) reduces breast cancer risk."
The National Institutes of Health website seems to indicate the risk of breast cancer is actually more than "slight" stating that "women who have a first full-term pregnancy before age 20, the risk of developing breast cancer is about half that of women whose first full-term pregnancy occurs after the age of 30 ... Early age at first full-term pregnancy" is a factor that has "been associated with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later in life."
The Canadian Cancer Society's website goes on to state, "The more children a woman has, the greater the protection against breast cancer." Not giving birth at all (called nulliparity) "increases the risk for breast cancer."
Other Cancers and Pregnancy
As in the development of breast cancer, exposures to hormones are thought to explain the role of pregnancy in the development of ovarian, endometrial, and other cancers. Changes in the levels of hormones during pregnancy may contribute to the variation in risk of these tumors after pregnancy.