Post abortion abstinence – is there any benefit?
Kristina Hänel, MD, Giessen, Germany
“The evidence of recommendations regarding sexual intercourse, tampons, bath and swim
after abortion has not been proven. We have to discuss this topic and to develop new
standards.” Since 2002, when I ended my lecture in Amsterdam with these words, we
never discussed this topic again.
Usually abortion providers - even me four years after Amsterdam - give recommendations
as follows: not to put anything into the vagina, especially not to have vaginal intercourse,
use tampons, take a bath or swim for 2 –3 weeks after the abortion. These
recommendations are given for hygiene reasons and are based on the fear of an
increased risk of infection. This fear is explained by the following arguments:
The cervix is opened
The uterus is a wound
The penis is responsible for infection-rate
Furthermore there are some known factors for an increased risk of postabortional
Manipulation in the uterus (surgical abortion),
Pre-existing subclinical genital tract infections
Rretained products of conception
However the evidence is lacking whether abstaining from intercourse, bath, tampons etc
actually reduces the risk of postabortion. On the other hand, there are potential benefits of
sexual intercourse after abortion which should not be neglected like: emotional and
psychological aspects, cognitive aspects e.g. the feeling to be „normal“, assisting uterus
contraction, pain reduction through relaxation of the genital organs after orgasm.
Waiting period: Do women need it?
Kristina Hänel-Groh, MD, has 10 years of experience as a sex therapist and abortion doctor in a Family Planning Centre. Is the owner of an abortion clinic and is the author of the book: “Die Hölle der Löwin. Geschichten einer Abtreibungsärztin”.
In several countries exists a prescription by law which demands from women a waiting time between the counselling and the abortion itself. This time is in Germany 4 days up to seven days in other countries.
This lecture is based of interviews from women which at one hand had an abortion and on the other hand from persons which are working as counsellors.
The following questions had been given to the women:
- At what time the pregnancy was noticed
- When did they do the decision for an abortion
- Is the prescribed waiting time helpful for the decision
The following questions had been given to the counsellors:
- How many women had already done their decision, when the came to the counselling
- Is counselling in general helful for the women
- Is the demanded waiting time itself helpful
Purpose of this lecture is to ask, if the prescribed waiting time is useful or if it’s more a medical risk because the abortion could be done later then.