What is a Pregnancy Loss?
Pregnancy loss is the death of a foetus at any time during a pregnancy. It can occur at any time until 20 weeks of gestation. Another word for this is miscarriage.
Most miscarriages occur because the foetus isn’t developing as expected. About half of miscarriages are associated with extra or missing chromosomes. Chromosome problems often result from errors that occur by chance as the embryo divides and grows. They are not hereditary problems.
There are different types of lost pregnancies:
- Chemical pregnancy:
A chemical pregnancy occurs when a pregnancy is proven by a urine pregnancy test but does not get confirmed clinically. This is also called an early miscarriage because it occurs within the first 5 weeks of the pregnancy.
- Ectopic pregnancy:
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus (sometimes in the fallopian tubes). These pregnancies are not only unviable but can also cause complications for the woman.
- Blighted ovum:
A blighted ovum is a miscarriage in which the embryo does not develop, but a gestational sac does grow. It occurs within the first 8 weeks of pregnancy.
These are just a few of the many types of lost pregnancies.
Comparison of Abortions and Lost Pregnancies:
Pregnancy loss is different from abortion.
An abortion is a voluntary termination of a pregnancy. A miscarriage is an involuntary and spontaneous death of an embryo or foetus. The major difference between them is that abortion is voluntary and a lost pregnancy is involuntary.
The other differences are the following:
An abortion happens within 24 weeks of a pregnancy. A pregnancy loss occurs within 20 weeks of a pregnancy.
An abortion is induced medically or surgically. A miscarriage happens naturally without any inducement.
An abortion can be prevented but a miscarriage cannot be prevented.
An abortion does not cause mental trauma. A miscarriage does cause mental and emotional trauma.
Abortion is often opposed by some people who view it as the taking of a life and therefore immoral. They want to criminalise it. Unfortunately, they often confuse miscarriages with abortions and accuse the women who’ve suffered one of murder. This can cause further anguish to the already traumatised woman. This is why the differences between abortions and lost pregnancies needs to be more widely known by the general public.
Treatments for Abortions and Lost Pregnancies:
An abortion is a medical or surgical procedure. The medical procedure uses two medicines: mifepristone and misoprostol which are given to terminate the pregnancy. The surgical procedure is dilation and curettage and it removes the foetal tissue.
Miscarriages are also done through dilation and curettage or the woman can take a misoprostol which causes the uterus to open and allows the pregnancy to pass.
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