These terms are applied to cases in which the fetus is discharged before the seventh month. Miscarriage occurs most frequently in fleshy persons and those who are subject to menorrhagia, or profuse menstruation. Nearly all the severe acute diseases may give rise to miscarriage. Violent excitement or exertion, either mental or physical, displacements of the uterus, together with chronic inflammations and tumors of the organ, falls, and other violent accidents, severe vomiting or coughing, bad hygiene, and sexual indulgence, may be enumerated as the principal causes of abortion.

The symptoms of abortion within the first two weeks do not differ very greatly from those attending menorrhagia. Not infrequently miscarriages occur at this period without the woman being conscious of the fact. In the third or fourth month, there is considerable hemorrhage, and some portion of the fetus is likely to be retained in the womb, where decomposition not infrequently takes place, imperiling the patient's life. Criminal abortion is very frequently attended by fatal results. Miscarriage occurring as late as five or six months, very closely resembles labor.

The Treatment of Miscarriage and Abortion

In cases in which abortion habitually occurs at a certain time, complete rest should be enjoined upon the patient. She should not be upon her feet at all until the dangerous period is past. Sexual excitement should also be strictly prohibited. In case flooding occurs, or other symptoms of abortion, the patient should at once go to bed and apply cold compresses over the bowels, and tepid injections of tannin or a decoction of white-oak bark into the vagina. Abortion or miscarriage is much more likely to be followed by diseases of the womb than natural labor, and hence every possible precaution should be taken to prevent exposure in these cases.