Abortion - Types of Abortion

Bleeding is abnormal at any stage of pregnancy and may be due to many causes. Some are of little or no significance while others are potentially more dangerous. There is no way a pregnant woman can know if any bleeding from which she is suffering during pregnancy is significant or not, and she must, therefore, report it immediately to her doctor. Similarly she must report an excessive discharge or any acute abdominal pain.

An abortion by definition is the discarding by the uterus of the products of conception before the 24th week of pregnancy. There is no difference between an abortion and a miscarriage despite the frequently held view that an abortion is something that is induced and a miscarriage is something which occurs spontaneously. The two terms are synonymous' and are so used here.

A threatened abortion is bleeding from the during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy and is not usually accompanied by any pain.

Inevitable abortion is a threatened abortion becomes an inevitable abortion when the woman experiences pain due to uterine contractions or when, on examination, the cervix, or neck of the uterus, is found to be opening so that abortion must inevitably occur sooner or later.

A complete abortion has occurred when all the products of conception have been passed from the uterus.

An incomplete abortion is a condition in which part of the products of conception have been passed but some remain within the uterus. A missed abortion is said to occur when the pregnancy has died with-in the uterus but the uterus has failed to expel it. The dead pregnancy will be aborted sooner or later. This diagnosis is often made with ultrasound scanning.

Recurrent abortion is miscarriage on three or more occasions. The cause may vary on each occasion so the abortion may occur at different stages during different pregnancies.

Habitual abortion is the term usually reserved for miscarriage on three or more occasions at approximately the same stage of pregnancy and there-fore assumed to be for the same reason each time.