What is meant by the word abortion?

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What is meant by the word abortion?

        The dictionary’s definition of abortion is “ Loss or removal of a foetus from the womb before it has developed enough to survive.” There are two types of abortion spontaneous and Induced abortion.

        Spontaneous abortion is where a woman expels the contents of her uterus because her body recognises that there is something wrong with her pregnancy.

        There are many reasons for spontaneous abortion or miscarriages and some of the reasons are abnormal development of the embryo or placental tissue or both or even hormone deficiencies. Spontaneous abortion may also happen because of abnormalities with the mother such as infectious diseases or systemic diseases like diabetes.

        Spontaneous abortion may result in the expulsion of only part of the contents of the uterus not all, or the embryo may die and remain in the uterus for several weeks or sometimes months. When spontaneous abortion does occur the uterus has to be checked after so that no embryonic or placental tissue still remain and if there is it has to be removed in order to avoid irritation or infection of the uterus lining.

        However induced abortion is the deliberate termination and removal of the foetus from the uterus. There are several types of induced abortion:-

Early medical abortion ~ This method is only available in the first nine weeks of pregnancy. During an early abortion drugs are used to cause an early miscarriage. The first drug given (RU486 or Mifepristone) blocks the hormone that makes the lining of the uterus hold onto the fertilised egg. A second drug (Prostaglandin) then causes the uterus to cramp, the lining of the uterus breaks down and the embryo is lost during the bleeding which follows.

Vacuum aspiration abortion ~ This is where a thin, round ended plastic tube is eased into the uterus through the cervix and then the contents of the uterus pass into the tube using a gentle pump.

Surgical dilation and evacuation (D & E)~ This method is available between the fifteenth and nineteenth week of pregnancy. The abortion is performed by stretching the cervical passage so that it is wide enough for narrow forceps to be used to remove the pregnancy from the uterus in fragments, then any remaining tissue in the uterus is removed using a thin, round-ended plastic tube attached to a vacuum pump.

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Surgical two stage abortion ~ This method is used between twenty and twenty-four weeks of pregnancy. This method involves two procedures, the procedure during the first anaesthetic stops the heart of the foetus and softens both the cervix and the tissue of the pregnancy. The second procedure involves a second anaesthetic and then the abortion is carried out by using the surgical dilation and evacuation method.

Medical induction ~ This method is used from the seventeenth to the twenty-fourth week. For this procedure prostaglandin is injected into the uterus and it causes the cervix to soften and the uterus to ...

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