Abortion is defined as the premature exit of the products of conception. Every state has its own definition of what constitutes a late term abortion. The average seems to include the twenty first week of pregnancy, when it is suggested that a fetus could live outside the womb. Physicians perform late term abortions for a number of reasons, such as fetal birth defects or the safety of the mother. All abortions, like most invasive medical procedures, come with a certain degree of risk. Late term abortions can carry more dangers dependent upon the type of procedure performed.
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Physicians perform most late term abortions using a procedure known as a Dilation and Evacuation (D and E). Patients receive a dose of antibiotics prior to the beginning of the procedure because of the possibility of infection. The Pregnancy Center states that this can occur due to the surgical instruments introduced into the uterus. It can also result due to fetal parts that remain behind. A metal instrument scrapes the inner lining of the uterus to evacuate all the contents. However, dead tissue can still get left inside the uterus. When this occurs the remaining tissue begins to decay and can enter the bloodstream causing sepsis. Signs of a systemic infection include headaches, muscle aches, dizziness and an overall feeling of illness. Sepsis can present with or without a fever.
The Cleveland Clinic defines sepsis or septicemia as a serious medical condition caused by the body’s response to infection that can lead to widespread clotting and inflammation. Physicians For Life reports that RU486, also known as the abortion pill and mifepristone, has shown a significant amount of deaths as a result of bleeding and infection. Signs of septicemia after a late term abortion include fever, chills, severe abdominal pain, foul smelling vaginal discharge and excessive bleeding.
It is normal for there to be some bleeding after any abortion. However, if the uterus tears or punctures during the procedure there is a risk of hemorrhaging. According to the National Abortion Federation if you experience bleeding that becomes greater than the heaviest day of your normal menstrual period or you soak through more than two maxi pads in an hour you should contact your surgeon immediately.
Ruptured or Perforated Uterus
The doctor performing this procedure does so without the benefit of seeing the uterus. As instruments are introduced into the uterus, the possibility of perforation or tearing arises. During late term abortions, this proves especially true as the fetus is larger and the uterus is thinner. In the event of a perforated uterus, surgery may become necessary to close the tear, or in extreme cases the uterus may have to be removed.