Abortion

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Overview

A pregnancy that ends before a baby is born is known as an abortion. Abortions that occur spontaneously or naturally are termed miscarriage. Abortion can also be voluntarily induced in a variety of scenarios, and have the minimum amount of risk to the patient if carried out as early in the pregnancy duration as possible.

Causes

Spontaneous Abortions can be due to a large number of reasons. In the first trimester, the most common cause of a miscarriage is an abnormality within the baby’s chromosomes. Other causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Trauma to the mother or the fetus
  • Maternal hormonal imbalances
  • Obesity
  • Advanced maternal age
  • Various pre-existent diseases
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Drug abuse

A number of these risks can be managed or avoided by compliance with the doctor’s instructions at regular pre-natal checkups.

Symptoms

A typical presentation of a spontaneous abortion includes:

  • History of vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Discharge of fetal tissue from the vagina

The patient can also experience other symptoms such as:  fever and chills in case of an infectious or septic abortion, weight loss, back pain, and sudden disappearance of signs of pregnancies , such as fetal movements.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis is usually made on the basis of patient history and physical examination. Tests that can be carried out to confirm loss of pregnancy include an ultrasound and /or a blood test like beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (B-HCG) hormone levels.

Treatment

Abortions can be carried out or assisted in case of incomplete spontaneous cases either medically or surgically. Following are some drugs that can be used:

  • Prostaglandins (misoprostol),
  • Antimetabolite agents (methotrexate)

Surgical options include dilation and curettage (D&C) and vacuum assisted aspiration.

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