Abortion is the expulsion of the fetus prior to 20 weeks ofgestation. Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) occurs in the absence of intervention. An incidence of recognized spontaneous abortion of 15% to 25% is commonly cited, with approximately 80% occurring during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Approximately 50% of early spontaneous abortions are attributed to chromosomal abnormalities, most of which are trisomy.
Compared with first-trimester abortions, second-trimester abortions are less likely to be caused by chromo-somal abnormalities and more likely to be caused by ma-ternal systemic disease, abnormal placentation, or other anatomic considerations. This difference is clinically signif-icant, because these conditions often can be treated and re-current abortions can thereby potentially be prevented.
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