Abortion

Abortion is the term used when there is the loss of a foetus (unborn baby). This loss may be Therapeutic, in other words a planned termination which is carried out in a clinic, or Spontaneous, which is more commonly called a Miscarriage.

An abortion or termination is normally sought when there is a risk to the mothers' physical or mental health, or when there is a risk or evidence that the baby is abnormal. The abortion procedure depends on the number of weeks of pregnancy. In early pregnancy i.e. less than 12 weeks, a suction technique to remove the contents of the Uterus can be performed, quite often as a day patient.

Beyond 12 weeks and up to 20 weeks approximately, the procedure requires the pregnancy to be induced and labour continues as it would do should the pregnancy have gone to full term. This is a more painful and distressing procedure and requires special skills by the medical staff.

Miscarriages are common, and unfortunately they occur in approximately 10% of pregnancies, most in the first 3 months or 1st Trimester. The reason for this is often due to an abnormality or malformation in the babies' development, which would have been incompatible with life. Therefore this may be interpreted as a natural rejection of the foetus by the mothers' body. A Miscarriage after 13 weeks pregnancy is more usually as a result of complications with the mothers' body, her health and lifestyle.

Threatened Abortion is when bleeding occurs and signifies something could be wrong. With bed rest and medical attention, the bleeding may stop and the pregnancy may continue to full term.

Whatever the reason for the Abortion, it can be very distressing for the mother and her partner. Depression or guilt is not unusual. The event itself should be seen as a type of bereavement, and emotional and physical support is essential from friends and family.

There are self help groups which can offer support and your G.P is able to advise you of these. If pregnancy is desired, then in order to minimize the risk of a miscarriage, plan a healthy diet and exercise regime, at least 6 months before conception.

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