“I don’t know what I should do,” said Puneet (name changed).
And this is the statement that hundreds of Puneets make after having unprotected sex on a wild night. Even the change of name seems irrelevant to me.
He told this to me over a panicky phone call, four days after the intercourse, only after he was worried that his girlfriend had vomited twice. It was later found to be due to the previous night’s stale chaat she had consumed.
Such is the state of knowledge on contraception of many fully functioning working adults in our nation. Their beliefs of a positive pregnancy are shaped by scenes in melodramatic Bollywood movies rather than a sex education class. Because like ‘ache din’, there exists no such class in our country.
The aftermath of such situations is even worse when I learnt from multiple sources that they had ‘managed’ an unwanted pregnancy via a little chat with the pharmacist at the local medical store. Within seven minutes or less, one can easily buy an abortion drug kit, without a prescription.
These are drugs that should only be bought with a prescription as per the guidelines. And it’s certainly impossible that a pharmacist is not aware of it. It only adds to my horror that there are reports of Indian women using abortion kits to space out their pregnancies.
Then there are those cocky cases where the man refuses to wear a glove because of a supposed ‘decrease’ in pleasure.
The real problem arises when he reassures his partner not to take the OCP as he is stubborn and also the king of pulling out at the right time. I have many impossible friends who somehow believe that unprotected sex without ejaculation cannot lead to a pregnancy.
Do they actually know that one; yes, a single sperm out of the average 50 lakh sperms in a 0.05 mL single drop of their semen can cause conception? Do they know that there is something called as precum lingering at the tip of a penis? I can’t even begin counting every person whom I have explained these mechanics to.
The problem is not the drugs meant for abortion which are found to be safe enough to be taken at home. The problem is the blatant negligence in caution, in awareness about these drugs. The problem is the stigma that adults have in visiting a gynaecologist.
Let me break it down for you: the issue which has lopsided your world is another monotonous narrative at the worst for your doctor. The medical abortion can be done till 12 weeks of the pregnancy counting from the first day of a woman’s last period. It is safer if done earlier.
Though the medical abortion is safe, there is the possibility of life threating complications like excessive bleeding, septic shock, incomplete abortion etc. That brings us to the next question: Will adults, caught up with stigma, who couldn’t face going to a gynaecologist in the first case, reach the emergency medical services ‘in time’ if a complication happens?
Being a former medical student and now a doctor, I have received many calls in hushed tones over the years, and I have a single piece of advice for all of them: Visit a doctor, not Google.