Hidden Pockets On Unwanted Pregnancies And Abortion

CW: The contents of the article may be distressing.

Hidden Pockets is a collective that aims to provide services encompassing reproductive and sexual health, focusing on young people. They have also been conducting research in cities of the Global South. Along with that, they have been actively involved with LGBTIQ groups, Positive People’s networks, Young Feminist Networks, Child Rights Groups, Data Groups and Internet Groups in the last 3 years. The following is only a conversation starter and not an exhaustive guide. It is an insight into some fundamental knowledge, giving the readers a sense of the available options. Before we get into it, we acknowledge that there are legalities around the topic that we will not navigate in this article but here is more on that.

1. What are the options and support mechanisms available to women experiencing unwanted pregnancies?

To start with, usually, consulting a doctor to understand which method would be suitable depending on the week of pregnancy. Medical abortion is a non-invasive procedure that is recommended if you are under 7 weeks, according to India’s guidelines. The pills fall under the Schedule H category, which means that you need a prescription. The risks of incomplete abortion are higher with this method, which is why it’s important to seek medical advice before going through with the procedure, a pharmacist cannot effectively guide you.

The surgical procedure on the other hand is invasive. In some cases, it is performed before 12 weeks.

Unfortunately, though support and care are often neglected, at present Hidden Pockets has an unwanted pregnancies specific care-chat WhatsApp service (+8861713567). Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP), Love Matters India, TARSHI are also doing some amazing work on this front!

2. What does an abortion procedure consist of and what should women expect?

The first step would be, an ultrasound which is not only the best diagnostic procedure but also a determinant of the duration of pregnancy. The medical procedure mentioned above would consist of either of the three:

  1. Combination of Mifepristone & Misoprostol (comes in low & lower doses). Available in form of oral medication & vaginal medication too.
  2. Combination of Methotrexate & Misoprostol
  3. Misoprostol Only

Post this, within 2–4 days, one will experience bleeding and might experience vomiting, nausea, pain, and cramps.

Surgical methods on the other hand work differently. For pregnancies under 12 weeks — a method called suction curettage is used. In this a small tube is inserted in the vagina which is connected to a suction machine — it is used to remove the pregnancy within 10–15 minutes. Weeks 12–20, dilation and evacuation (D&E) or Dilatation & Curettage (D&C) are used — a cervix dilator is used to remove the pregnancy, using other surgical instruments. A hysterotomy is performed, rarely, between 16–24 weeks of pregnancy when other invasive procedures fail. The pregnancy is removed with a small incision in the abdomen.

3. Are there any mental well-being resources specifically aimed at dealing with women experiencing unwanted pregnancies?

While practitioners will offer support, our care chat is aimed at that. Young people — or anyone else — who wants support in dealing with unwanted pregnancies, can reach out to us and we provide mental support, medical advice, and referral service.

Hidden Pockets also provides post-abortion counseling services. And if there is anyone who would like to talk about their abortion experience, even if they just need a vent to share their stories, our Instagram page is always there to share their stories. (@hidden_pockets) Oh and, women and their partners should definitely remember that it is legal so they don’t have to be worried about reaching out to us.

The organization provides a platform to engage with important concerns and information amplifying hushed voices. From menstruation to mental health to abortion, their work has helped a large number of people. To uncover more, please check out their website https://www.hidden-pockets.com/what-is-hidden-pockets-collective/!