Complications of Pregnancy - Abortions

Different than a spontaneous abortion, an induced abortion is when the doctor ends the pregnancy medically. This can occur for several reasons. The woman may elect to have the pregnancy terminated. This is legal through the first trimester in all states, and through the second trimester in some states. If the fetus threatens the life of the mother or has died in utero , the pregnancy can be terminated at any point.

There are several methods of inducing an abortion. All involve opening the cervical muscle to remove the fetus. This requires local anesthesia in a first trimester abortion, and can require general anesthesia after the first trimester. Performed in a doctor's office or in the hospital, the medical procedure is considered less risky than birthing. If performed by unqualified personnel or in unsanitary conditions, the risks increase greatly. When the tissue from the pregnancy remains after an abortion, infection can set in. It is therefore extremely important that competent medical personnel be sought to perform abortions.

During the first trimester a D & C can be used to remove the embryo. The uterus can also be aspirated by vacuum. This is a method that removes all the embryonic tissue at once. Second trimester abortions usually involve a chemical injected into the uterus that triggers the body to expel the fetus and induce labor. A pill, RU 486, has been introduced in Europe that triggers spontaneous abortion. It is still being tested for use in the United States.

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