In medicine, an abortion is the premature exit of the products of conception (the fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus.  It is the loss of a pregnancy and does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost.   

A spontaneous abortion is the same as a miscarriage. The miscarriage of three or more consecutive pregnancies is termed habitual abortion or recurrent pregnancy loss. (Source: MedicineNet – www.medicinenet.com)  


Dilation and Curettage (D & C):

Dilation and curettage (D & C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside the uterus. Doctors perform dilation and curettage to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions – such as heavy bleeding- or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion.  (Source: Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/)

Fetal Death:  

Fetal death refers to the spontaneous intrauterine death of a fetus at any time during pregnancy.   Fetal deaths later in pregnancy (at 20 weeks of gestation or more, or 28 weeks or more, for example) are also sometimes referred to as stillbirths.  In the United States, State laws require the reporting of fetal deaths, and Federal law mandates national collection and publication of fetal death data.  Most states report fetal deaths of 20 weeks of gestation or more and/or 350 grams birthweight.  However, a few states report fetal deaths for all periods of gestation. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov)

Gestational Age:

Gestational age is the medical term to describe how many weeks and days of pregnancy have passed.  In most cases, the gestational age is based on the last menstrual period (LMP) before the pregnancy occurred.

Although pregnancy is often describe in terms of how many “months” a mother is pregnant or to describe her due date, it is actually the “weeks” of pregnancy that are used to calculate an expected due date.

Due dates can be calculated by writing 40 on the due date and counting backwards on the same day of the week. For example, if May 30th is the expected due date, then on May 23rd the pregnancy would be in its 39 week; on May 23th at 38 weeks and so on.  If there is some uncertainty about the LMP, the measurement of fetal body parts taken by an ultrasound technician, can also be used in determining an expected due date.  
(Source: https://www.verywell.com/gestatonal-age)

Incomplete Abortion:  

Termination of the pregnancy in which the products of conception are not entirely expelled or removed.  It often causes hemorrhaging that may require surgical evacuation by curettage, oxytocics, and blood replacement. Infection is also a frequent complication of an incomplete abortion.   

(Source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/abortion)

IIntrauterine Fetal Death (I.U.F.D):

Intrauterine fetal demise is the clinical term for stillbirth and is used to describe the death of a baby in the uterus.  Fetal demise, which is defined differently around the world, is determined by gestational age.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fetal death occurs in roughly in six of every 1,000 birth in the U.S. About one in every four stillbirths will be unexplained.


Miscarriage is the loss of an embryo or fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy.  Most miscarriages occur during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The medical term for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion.
(Source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Miscarriage)

Missed Abortion:

The woman is not aware of the loss (spontaneous abortion), specifically when there is no vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain. A missed abortion can happen in the first or second trimester, though it usually happens in the first trimester.  A missed abortion is usually diagnosed then the blood hCG fails to increase as expected, or when on ultrasound there is either no embryo (blighted ovum), or when there is an embryo or fetus, but no heartbeat. (Source: www.babymed.com)

Spontaneous Abortion:

The termination of a pregnancy before the fetus is viable; meaning the fetus is incapable of survival outside of the uterus.  In the medical sense the term spontaneous abortion and the term miscarriage both refer to the termination of pregnancy before the fetus is capable of survival outside of the uterus.

The term abortion is more commonly used as a synonym for induced abortion, the deliberate interruption of pregnancy, as opposed to miscarriage, which connotes a spontaneous or natural loss of the fetus. Because of this distinction made by the average layperson, care should be exercised in the use of the word abortion when speaking of a spontaneous loss of the fetus.

 (Source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/spontaneous+abortion)

Threaten Miscarriage:  

Any vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy may be considered a threatened miscarriage.  The bleeding associated with threatened abortion is usually mild, and usually painless.

Vaginal bleeding is relatively common during pregnancy among women who gone on to have healthy births.  However, bleeding from the vagina at any time in pregnancy can be a sing of problems and the midwife or medical doctor should be contacted immediately.

Medical Terms

Miscarriage, Mothers & Others

Providing information about miscarriage to mothers and others who grieve the loss of an unborn child.”

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