Not all pregnancies are planned, and deciding what to do can be one of the most difficult decisions a woman will ever make. You will likely feel overwhelmed and stressed, but it is important to take some time to think through your options before making any decision. There are three options:
When trying to decide which is right for you, it might be helpful to list the advantages and disadvantages of each. Educating yourself on the facts, some of which you will find on this page, is very important. Remember that every woman's situation is different, and only you can make the best decision for yourself. Absolutely no one should pressure you into doing something you are not comfortable with, or should make you ashamed of your decision.
Adoption in Kosovo
Giving a child up for adoption is a major decision. If you can, find someone to talk to who you know will be supportive and not judgmental. Unfortunately in Kosovo there are no established support groups to provide adoption counseling or other related assistance. To help determine if adoption is right for you, it might help to ask yourself:
- Do I feel comfortable letting someone else parent my child?
- Do I believe my that child will be treated well by the adoptive parent(s)?
- Do I feel that I can't care for a child now?
- Would I consider abortion or parenting?
- Is someone pressuring me to choose adoption?
- Am I ready to go through pregnancy and childbirth?
- Am I prepared to cope with the feelings of loss I may have?
- Will I feel okay if I visit my child and their family 2 or 3 times a year, or possibly never see them again?
- Do I have people in my life who will support me through my pregnancy, birth, and adoption process?
Questions sourced from Planned Parenthood
Always remember that only you can make the best decision so try not to let anyone force you to do anything you don’t want to, or to make you feel ashamed by your decision. It helps if you know your legal rights. As opposed to the social stigma of single parenting in Kosovo, there is no law that prevents an unmarried adult woman from parenting her own child. You cannot place your baby up for private adoption. All adoptions in Kosovo must involve the relevant Municipal’s Center for Social Work, a panel within the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and a judicial review. For more information about the adoption process please click here. https://www.rks-gov.net/sq-AL/Qytetaret/Familja/Pages/Adoptimi.aspx
Children offered for adoption are cared for by approved foster parents or in small community-based residential care facilities while they await adoption. This typically takes upwards of one year, the delays due to the current administrative procedures. Children can be adopted within Kosovo or by international parent/s. An estimated 30 to 40 children are adopted each year in Kosovo.
It is very normal to have lots of different feelings after offering your baby for adoption; relief, assurance, grief and/or loss are all very common. It’s important to have people that will support you during and after your pregnancy.
Abortion in Kosovo
The decision on whether to have an abortion is a very difficult one. In Kosovo, it is made even harder by the stigma of unmarried mothers that forces many women to choose abortion even if they want to keep the baby. At the same time, stigma against abortion forces many to choose secret, illegal and potentially dangerous termination methods at home or in private clinics. Only the woman can make the best decision for herself, and to make that decision it is important to have the facts.
Legal rights in Kosovo:
- Abortion is legal up to the tenth week of pregnancy in Kosovo. Women under 18 years old require permission from their parents. Those seeking abortion must consult with the relevant medical specialist at least three days before the procedure.
- Abortions after the tenth week are legally permitted only if a committee within the family planning department of QKUK determines the health of the mother or fetus is threatened.
- Only one public clinic, QKUK, is allowed to perform abortions. However, according to the UNFPA “a large number of abortions are performed in private clinics.”
How to decide if abortion is right for you:
- In trying to decide if abortion is the right decision for you, it might help to list its advantages and disadvantages.
- Think about how you feel and what you think about abortion, what you want for your life and for your family or future family.
- Unfortunately, there are no abortion counseling or support services in Kosovo so try and find someone to talk to who will be supportive and not judgmental.
There are two methods of abortion:
- Abortion pill – only an option within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, it consists of two pills taken over a 24-48 hour period. Most women experience abortion within about 4-5 hours of finishing the medication, but it can take a few days. You should not have sex or use tampons for at least a week after the abortion. While the abortion pill is generally safe and it is possible to get over the counter in some pharmacies (by law a prescription is required), it is recommended you first meet with a doctor to make sure it is the right option for you and because it is a medical procedure that therefore carries risks of complications. These include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heavy vaginal bleeding, headache, dizziness and backache.
- In-clinic abortion – the procedure usually performed within the first 16 weeks of pregnancy is an “aspiration”, while a D&E (dilation and evacuation, also known as instrumental method) is usually for pregnancies over 16 weeks. It will likely take 1-3 weeks to recover and you should not have vaginal sex during this time. While generally safe, it does carry some risks that include an allergic reaction, infection, injury to organs, incomplete abortion, or very heavy bleeding. These complications however can often be easily treated.
“Traditional” methods of abortion are not safe or effective, and should never be used. This includes jumping from stairways, running, carry heavy weights, kicking or squeezing the abdomen, drinking beer with bread yeast and sitting in a hot bath, drinking a special tea, or swallowing pills such as painkillers or an overdose of contraceptive pills. All of these could kill or seriously harm the woman.
The “morning after” pill is not an abortion procedure but rather protects you from becoming pregnant; if you are already pregnant, it will not affect your pregnancy. You can take the “morning after” pill anywhere up to 3 to 5 days after unprotected sex (depending on the brand) to protect against pregnancy, but the sooner you take it the more effective it will be. It is available over the counter in pharmacies through Kosovo, although officially a prescription is required. It should not be used regularly to prevent pregnancy as it is not as effective as non-emergency birth control methods, like the regular pill, injections, IUD or condoms.
There are a lot of myths about abortion, but the facts are:
- Abortion is generally safe, but the risks do increase the longer a pregnancy continues i.e. the older the fetus.
- Abortion does not make you sterile. Having a previous abortion, if performed correctly, will generally not affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant again. In some cases, multiple abortions can cause internal scarring, but this can be repaired with a simple procedure. If you develop a womb infection after having an abortion, be sure to treat it properly as otherwise this could lead to problems with future pregnancies.
- Abortion does not cause breast cancer or any other type of cancer, and this has been proven by extensive scientific studies covering millions of women.
- Women who get abortions don’t have more long-term emotional problems. These are more likely to happen for certain reasons e.g. is pressured into abortion, has a history of emotional problems, it is a wanted pregnancy but is aborted due to health reasons. Studies indicate that most women who have voluntary abortions feel they have made the right decision.
What to expect after an abortion:
- You will probably have period-type pains and vaginal bleeding for a few days, or up to 1-2 weeks. This is normal and normally nothing to worry about.
- You should use pads (not tampons) and not have sex for at least a week.
- You will have a regular menstrual cycle within 4-8 weeks.
- You could fall pregnant in the weeks right after an abortion so use a birth control method if having sex.
- You can expect to feel a range of emotions. There is no wrong or right way to feel. Many women feel a strong sense of relief. Some women feel angry, sad, guilty or regretful and these feelings might be overwhelming at times. This is partly due to the dramatic change in your body’s hormones. This should pass in a few days-to-weeks. If it doesn’t, try any of the following:
- Give yourself permission to be sad and express that sadness; you won’t always feel this way.
- Remind yourself why you had the abortion; it was the best decision under the circumstance.
- Talk to someone you trust about how you feel; you can also read about other women’s experiences.
- Look to the future; make a list of things you are looking forward to doing.
- Take care of yourself; eat well, exercise and do things that make you feel good.
- While abortions are generally safe, there is a risk of complications so you should be aware of these danger signs. Seek immediate medical attention if after having an abortion you have:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding that soaks through more than two maxi pads an hour, for two hours or more in a row.
- Vaginal blood clots for two hours or more that are larger than a lemon.
- Severe abdominal pain or discomfort that is not helped by medication or at-home remedies (like rest, a bath, or a heating pad).
- Chills and a fever of 38C or higher after the day of the abortion.
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours.
- An unpleasant smelling discharge from your vagina.
- Evidence that you are still pregnant.
Category: Unplanned pregnancy