1. <obstetrics> The premature expulsion from the uterus of the products of conception of the embryo or of a nonviable foetus. The four classic symptoms, usually present in each type of abortion, are uterine contractions, uterine haemorrhage, softening and dilatation of the cervix and presentation or expulsion of all or part of the products of conception.
The expulsion or removal of an embryo or foetus from the mother prematurely, this can be done as an artificial procedure, but it often happens naturally when the mother's body expels the foetus because it has died, has genetic or developmental defects, or because of infection or illness in the mother. Natural abortions are typically called miscarriages. Medically-induced abortions, which can be completed with surgery or with hormone drugs, are performed because the foetus is unwanted, deformed, not likely to live, or endangers the mother's life or health.
Origin: L. Abortio
(18 Nov 1997)
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