Spontaneous abortion - miscarriage
Within the time span of 26 weeks (28 weeks after the LPM) a termination of a pregnancy is called an abortion.
One distinguishes between. :
- Early abortion up to the 14th week (16th week after the LPM)
- Late abortion: 15th to 26th week (17th - 28th week after LPM)
Data concerning the frequency of miscarriages can only be made with some certainty for spontaneous abortions that are perceived and reported. Such abortions cause the woman, as long as she knew she was pregnant, to visit the doctor. The available statistics agree that abortions amount to roughly 10% of the birth rate. However, the real number of such abortions will never be precisely known for two reasons: Firstly, when the woman was not aware she was pregnant, very early miscarriages proceed as if they were delayed menstrual bleeding. The second reason is that artificially induced abortions are often not recognized as such.
One distinguishes various causes for spontaneous abortions:
- Maternal causes (e.g., a uterine tumor)
- Fetoplacental causes (e.g., nidation anomalies such as placenta previa)
- Spermatogenic causes (e.g., Sperm cell anomalies)
- Iatrogenic causes (e.g., medications)
An early abortion makes itself known through uterine contractions, bleeding, and/or loss of tissue. Late abortions are preceded by a rupture of the fetal membranes and its contents are expulsed with bleeding.
An induced abortion is one in which the pregnancy is interrupted artificially. In various European countries as well as in the rest of the world, the regulations surrounding such abortions vary. T
oday, approximately 41% of the world's population lives in countries where the law permits a pregnancy interruption, with or without a temporal limitation, if the woman requests it.
20% of the world's population lives in countries which also allow abortions for social reasons and 39% of the world's population, mostly in the third world, lives in countries where abortions are only permitted when the life or the health of the woman is endangered by the pregnancy or birth (medical indication).
Worldwide, a trend towards liberalization of the abortion laws can still be discerned, whereby the tendency almost everywhere is in the direction of a time limitation. The provision of the time limitation is that, up to the 12th week of pregnancy (after the LMP), the woman can freely choose whether she wishes to keep the baby or not. An abortion within this time period is then no longer a legal matter.
In Switzerland the time limitation for the abortion decision is in force that thus respects the woman's own responsibility and freedom to decide in a question that is so important for the rest of her life.