Abortion Terms to Know



Abortion: induced-deliberately carried out by means of drugs or mechanical devices or instruments, insuring the embryo or fetus will not survive. Spontaneous- expulsion of the products of conception due to natural causes, without interference, and occurring before the fetus can survive outside the uterus. Medical-the use of drugs in the termination of a pregnancy. Surgical- the use of mechanical devices or instruments in the termination of a pregnancy.

Dilation: the condition of being enlarged or stretched by normal, or artificial processes.

Cannula: long, open-ended plastic tube attached to suction device.

Cervix: the opening or door of the uterus

Currettage: the removal of tissue from the inner wall of a cavity with a spoon-shaped instrument (curette) may be used to remove abnormal tissue, to obtain a specimen for histologic examination and diagnosis, or in abortion procedures.

Curette: long metal rod with a looped-shaped knife at the end, used to pull or detach unwanted tissue from other tissues.

Ectopic Pregnancy: the pregnancy is growing in a fallopian tube, and not the uterus.

Forceps: an instrument resembling a pair of tongs or pincers with blades used for grasping, compressing, manipulating, applying traction, cutting, crushing, or extracting.

Laminaria: seaweed suppository used to dilate the cervix.

Sonogram/ultrasound transabdominal– transducer is placed on the skin of the abdomen, interfaced with a water-soluble gel. Clinical applications include identification of intrauterin pregnancy, identification and location of placenta, measurement of fetus to estimate gestational age and weight, determination of amniotic fluid volume. Transvaginal- transducer inserted into vagina to diagnose ectopic and molar pregnancies and closer examination of fetus.)

Speculum: instrument for dilating and holding open the vagina during pelvic examinations and procedures.

Tenaculum: instrument used to grasp the cervix and keep the uterus in place during gynecological procedures.

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Last updated: 05/2008