Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.
habitual abortion[hə′bich·ə·wəl ə‚bȯr·shən]
the spontaneous expulsion of a dead fetus on consecutive occasions. A habitual abortion may be caused by a defective ovum, an underdeveloped uterus (infantilism), tumors (for example, myoma), changes in the cervix (isth-mocervical deficiency), and inflammatory diseases of the uterus. Habitual abortions are fostered by general and chronic infections, intoxications, hypovitaminoses (especially of C and E), cardiovascular diseases, and diseases of the endocrine glands, liver, kidneys, and other organs. Trauma is the decisive factor in the presence of predisposing factors (infantilism).
Habitual abortion most often occurs in the first two months of pregnancy. When it occurs in later stages (after 14 weeks of pregnancy), it may be a result of isthmocervical deficiency. Symptoms include laborlike pains in the lower abdomen and bloody discharge from the vagina. The fetal ovum gradually begins to slough off the uterine walls (threatened abortion) and is partially or completely expelled from it (incomplete or complete abortion).
In case of threatened abortion, the woman should be hospitalized, since habitual abortion is reversible in the early stages. Surgery is required to prevent an incomplete abortion from becoming complete. Preventive measures include removal of the causes of habitual abortion before and during pregnancy.