February/March 2008

Dallas’ Affluent Lifestyle Magazine


Technically, several different kinds of abortions are recognized by the doctor. But from a practical point of view, it doesn't matter too much about the technical features. What matters most is that a sudden halt occurs in the normal progression of the pregnancy. Often this requires prompt medical attention to avert serious consequences.
The first indication that all is not well is that vaginal bleeding commences. This may be any time during the first twenty-eight weeks of pregnancy, but more commonly in the six- to ten-week period.
The bleeding might commence as brown spotting which may gradually or rapidly increase in volume and nature. It may become red, and be associated with cramp-like pains in the lower abdominal regions. The amount may be small or it may be profuse.
If it starts off red then gradually reduces and becomes brown, the chances are fairly high that it will settle down. If the brown discharge continues, the risk of abortion increases. If brownish discharge increases and becomes bright red, then there is a far greater risk of the embryo aborting.
Many cases settle down, and proceed thereafter to term. But many gradually continue, and finally abort completely. The patient may suddenly feel as though she "is passing something" (a common expression). This may be accompanied by several severe cramp-like pains, more bright-red bleeding, then a reduction in both. Sometimes the products of conception are self-delivered at the lower end of the vagina. At other times, they become stuck part way, and the bleeding and discomfort continue.
Whatever happens, bleeding with or without pain is certainly an urgent recommendation for prompt medical assistance. A proper examina­tion will enable the doctor to advise whether simple measures are likely to allow the impending abortion to settle down, or whether surgical intervention is necessary to avoid further risk and blood loss to the patient.
In the latter instance, of course, prompt hospital admission is arranged, and the correct procedures undertaken forthwith, before further haemorrhaging takes place. Many women are upset when an abortion prematurely ends a pregnancy they had wanted. However, most doctors take the sensible view and endeavor to explain the position to their patients. This is usually nature's way out of a situation that could produce later problems to the parents.
When this is pointed out, a different complexion is usually given to the whole picture, and most patients are then quite satisfied and indeed glad that it ended in this way, rather than face possible difficulties in the future.