What are ectopic pregnancy and abortion? This guide will teach you about reproductive health.

What are ectopic pregnancy and abortion? This guide will teach you about reproductive health.

The future of safe and legal abortions has been forced into the spotlight by an imminent US Supreme Court decision that could mark the end of Roe v. Wade.

Since the Supreme Court's historic 1973 ruling, abortion has been legal in all 50 states. However, a Mississippi legislation prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which was heard by the high court in December and is anticipated to be decided this month, could jeopardize the legal precedent.

While most individuals have heard of abortion, other pregnancy-related procedures and phrases may be unfamiliar.


Abortion is the intentional ending of a pregnancy. Surgical and pharmaceutical abortions are the two types of abortions.


A medical professional performs surgical abortions. According to experts, the operation entails dilation of the cervix and removal of pregnancy tissue from the uterus using a short suction tube or device. A surgical tool called a curette can be used to remove any residual tissue. Surgical abortions are frequently performed under the influence of a sedative or local anaesthetic to numb the cervix.


These are done without surgery or anaesthetic and are done with medicine. They can be started at a doctor's office, a hospital, or even at home. Patients may require follow-up consultations to ensure that no issues arise.

When parents can undergo a safe medication abortion, there are several restrictions. A pharmaceutical abortion should not be attempted by anyone who has been pregnant for longer than nine weeks. Medication abortions are also not viable if you are using an intrauterine device (a type of birth control), have specific medical illnesses such as bleeding disorders or severe liver, kidney, or lung disease, or take blood thinners such as aspirin.

Mifepristone and misoprostol are the most commonly utilised drugs. Mifepristone suppresses the hormone progesterone, which maintains the uterus lining thin and prevents it from carrying the growing embryo and allowing it to grow, which can take hours or even days after mifepristone is taken, causing the uterus to contract and expel the embryo.

According to health experts, the same drugs can be used to help a person's body eliminate tissue following a miscarriage.


When a fertilised egg fails to implant inside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. Instead, it develops outside of the uterus, most usually in a fallopian tube, which is incapable of supporting a growing embryo. Ectopic pregnancies can result in bleeding and are a life-threatening condition that requires prompt medical attention.

Ectopic pregnancies cannot be carried to term and can result in serious consequences, such as damage to the fallopian tube or other organs, internal bleeding, or even death, if not addressed.


The term "viability" refers to the stage of foetal development at which a foetus is capable of surviving outside of the uterus.


Pregnancies are divided into three trimesters, each lasting about 12 to 13 weeks, and are considered full-term when they reach 40 weeks. Each trimester represents a particular stage of foetal development, and pregnant women should anticipate having a variety of symptoms throughout their pregnancy.

According to UCSF, the first trimester (0 to 13 weeks) is the most crucial stage of embryonic and foetal development. This is the time when the body's structure and organs start to take shape. It's also the time of year when the majority of miscarriages and birth abnormalities occur.

During the second trimester, development continues (14 to 26 weeks). Pregnant women can usually feel the foetus' first movements originating from within the uterus between 16 and 20 weeks.

The third trimester (weeks 27 to 40) is the last stage of pregnancy before delivery.


After sexual intercourse, sperm and egg move through the female reproductive system and combine in the fallopian tubes to form a zygote, resulting in fertilisation. After that, a zygote travels to the uterus and continues to develop until it forms an embryo about two weeks after conception. At around eight weeks of pregnancy, the embryo develops into a foetus.


The "morning-after pill," also known as Plan B, is a type of emergency contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, such as when birth control fails or is forgotten, or after a sexual assault.

The pills work by stopping or delaying ovulation, which prevents conception. An implanted pregnancy is not aborted by the pills.

Morning-after pills come in two varieties: one that contains levonorgestrel and is marketed as "Plan B One-Step," and another that contains ulipristal acetate and is marketed as "Ella." Ella pills require a doctor's prescription, whereas Plan B One-Step pills can be acquired over-the-counter.


A dilatation and curettage, often known as a D&C, is a small surgical treatment that removes tissue from the uterus in a doctor's office or other medical environments.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the technique entails dilating the cervix and scraping any tissue from the uterine wall with a curette, a small, thin surgical tool. When a pregnant woman has suffered a miscarriage or needs to remove leftover tissue following a surgical abortion, a D&C is frequently performed. A sample of the tissue can be taken and evaluated in a lab once it has been removed.


When a foetus does not survive the 20th week of pregnancy, it is called a miscarriage. The majority of miscarriages occur when the foetus does not develop appropriately. Around half of all miscarriages are caused by a foetus having too many or too few chromosomes.

Health issues might also cause a pregnancy to end in a miscarriage in some situations. Uncontrolled diabetes, hormone issues, certain infections, thyroid disorders, and uterine or cervix difficulties are only a few of them.

A miscarriage can also be exacerbated by certain risk factors. Age (those over 35 have a higher chance of miscarriage than those under 35); previous miscarriage; smoking, drinking alcohol, using illicit drugs while pregnant; or being under or over your ideal weight are all factors to consider.

According to American Family Physician, the same drugs used in medical abortions, mifepristone and misoprostol, can also be used to help a person's body eliminate tissue following a miscarriage.


A missed miscarriage occurs when an embryo or fotus does not survive in the uterus but no symptoms are present in the pregnant woman. The placenta or embryo tissues remain in the uterus in these cases, but the embryo never develops or fails to survive. 

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