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F. P. Bailey, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Tufts University School of Medicine Boston,
Heather Z. Sankey, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Tufts University School of Medicine Boston
This chapter reviews the history and epidemiology of modern pregnancy termination. In this review, the surgical and medical techniques appropriate for various gestational ages are presented, potential complications are considered, and the psychological issues surrounding abortion are discussed. Most women requesting termination of pregnancy are self-referred. Physicians who care for pregnant patients should assess the patient's attitudes toward the gestation at the time of the first prenatal visit. The initial assessment of gestational age is based on the last reported menstrual period and the physical examination. The method chosen for pregnancy termination depends on the period of gestation, the experience and preference of the operator, and the extent to which safe options are available that fit the patient's desires. The most common operative complication of pregnancy termination is uterine perforation. Failure to interrupt an intrauterine pregnancy occurs in less than 0.5 percent of suction-curettage patients.
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