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The human body is an amazing thing. It does everything to protect a good fetus. It aborts abnormal fetuses with equal vigor.

Discussing "natural" ways to abort a fetus, there are certain things we need to consider. Abortion may be spontaneous or induced. The body has ways of naturally aborting abnormal products of conception. Certain diseases lead to abortion of a normal fetus also. But the body does not abort a normal fetus naturally. The available ways to abort a normal fetus are not natural. That's where induced abortion comes in.

First, a bit about spontaneous abortions. Miscarriage is defined medically as spontaneous pregnancy loss before 20 weeks gestation. After 20 weeks, it is called intra-uterine death and management principles are a bit different. Genetic abnormalities are the most common cause of early pregnancy loss. An estimated 75% of all conceptions are expelled with the next menstrual bleed. The woman doesn't even know that she is pregnant in most cases.

Structural abnormalities of the fetus, intra-uterine infections, maternal immune disorders (SLE), hormone disorders, drugs, toxins, nutritional deficiencies, endometriosis and an incompetent uterine cervix lead to spontaneous abortions.

Miscarriage presents as abnormal vaginal bleeding after a missed period. A urine hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) test will be positive and an ultrasound scan of the abdomen/pelvis shows products of conception with a fetal heart beat (in inevitable abortions) or without fetal heart beat (missed, complete and incomplete abortions).

There can be life-threatening hemorrhage as a result of miscarriage. Treatments include medications to expel the products of conception from the uterus and surgical evacuation of retained products of conception.

Now, a bit about induced abortions. Induced abortion has been around for generations. The technology advanced and the demand increased with time. The pro-choice camp gained strength and the abortion rate increased. Legal reforms gave rise to rigid regulations to control abortion.

In induced abortion, the fetus is aborted medically or surgically. Certain medications increase uterine contractions, dilate the cervix and reduce uterine blood supply. Contractions detach the placenta from the uterine wall and expel the fetus with the placenta. Sustained contractions of the uterus stop bleeding. The surgical evacuation of retained products of conception involves a minor procedure done under general anesthesia. The gynecologist first dilates the cervix. Once the cervix is adequately open, the doctor removes the fetus with placenta using special instruments. Complications of surgical abortion include infection, bleeding and perforation of the uterus.

Myths about abortion...

Rigorous exercise does not abort a fetus. Severe trauma to the abdomen may terminate the pregnancy. Some people believe that certain types of food abort a pregnancy but there are no data on effectiveness and safety.

There are legal and religious factors that need consideration. Many religions reject abortion. some states do not allow induced abortion. Pro-life and pro-choice camps argue about abortion endlessly. Think twice.

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