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Why Did My Doctor Say My Miscarriage Was an Abortion?

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Updated March 22, 2009

Question: Why Did My Doctor Say My Miscarriage Was an Abortion?

The terminology of miscarriages can be confusing at times, and many women are shocked to see the word "abortion" on medical forms or to hear the term from doctors.

Answer:

Although the practice is changing, many medical texts and medical professionals refer to miscarriages as abortions. The term "spontaneous abortion" generally refers to a miscarriage, or naturally occurring loss of a pregnancy (as opposed to the elective surgically or medically induced abortion of an otherwise viable pregnancy). You may also see these terms used:

It can be frustrating and sometimes very upsetting to hear your miscarriage referred to in this way. Regardless of your political leanings on the issue, it's natural to be upset by comparisons between miscarriages and abortions. The elective ending of a pregnancy is a completely different situation than the loss of a wanted pregnancy, both medically and emotionally.

Many doctors respect that patients often feel this way and try to avoid using the term "abortion" in reference to miscarriages, but some still use the term and it can lead to unfortunate misunderstandings at times.

  1. About.com
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  3. Miscarriage / Pregnancy Loss
  4. Coping and Support
  5. Miscarriage or Spontaneous Abortion - Why Do Doctors Use the Word Abortion for Miscarriages

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