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Abortion  (ABORTION)

A foetus is said to be non-viable2 during the first part of a pregnancy and viable1 thereafter. The change occurs when the foetus becomes capable of independent existence outside its mother, which is commonly considered to take place when the period of gestation3 or duration of pregnancy3 has lasted between 20 and 28 weeks. If the pregnancy has lasted longer than this, the expulsion of the foetus (alive or dead) takes place during confinement4; an earlier expulsion is called an abortion5 (cf. para. 604). The period of about six weeks after delivery (during which the uterus usually regains its normal size and in which the probability of conception is low) is called the puerperium6 (424-3).

  • 1. viable adj. — viability n.
  • 4. The actual process of the expulsion of the foetus is called delivery or parturition, which is the termination of labour.
  • 5. abortion n. — abort v.
  • 6. puerperium n. — puerperal adj.