Sometimes a pregnancy ends early. With miscarriage the woman simply starts
bleeding or having contractions until the pregnancy comes out. When a pregnancy
is ended on purpose, it is called an abortion.
Most miscarriages do not cause problems, but some do. Most abortions done by
people who are experienced and skilled, and with tools that have been sterilized or
the correct medicines, are not dangerous. But many abortions are not done safely.
For more information about miscarriage, see page 91. For more information about
abortion, see page 92.
Problems from a pregnancy that ends early
A woman can have serious health problems when a
pregnancy ends early. Part of the pregnancy may be left
in the womb. She may have heavy bleeding or infection.
Without treatment, she could die. This chapter will explain
• watch for warning signs.
• g ive emergency care to a woman who has a problem
from a pregnancy that ended early.
Finding care after a pregnancy ends
Women who have bleeding or infection after miscarriages or
abortions need medical help fast. But often they do not get this
help. There may be no money to pay for care if something
has gone wrong. For women in isolated villages, a trip to
the hospital in the city can be too far, too frightening, or
too expensive. Many women, especially unmarried women,
feel they must hide their condition because of attitudes
against sex, family planning, or abortion. Fear, lack of money, and distance from
medical care should not be reasons for women to suffer — but they often are.