WHEN a woman in the family way throws off the contents of her womb, or loses her child, during the first six months, the accident is a miscarriage, or abortion; when the same thing happens during the last three months of her term, it is a premature labor. symptoms. If abortion occur during the first month after conception, the symptoms may not attract much attention or, may be regarded only as an irregularity of menstruation. Occurring at later periods, it is frequently indicated by some feverishness, coldness of the feet and legs, a puffed up condition of the eye lids with purplish discolorations, shooting pains in the breasts, which become soft, pains in the back, bearing down pains in the lower part of the bowels, which come and go, and at length take the character of real labor pains. As these pains increase, blood begins to appear, and, sooner or later, the bag of water breaks, and the fetus is thrown off.
Causes. These are very numerous. Some of the principal are, displacement of the womb; ulceration of its neck; syphilitic disease of the fetus received from the parent; too much exercise; heavy lifting; falls, particularly when the woman comes down upon the feet, and is heavily jarred; emetics; powerful purges; and too much nuptial indulgence.
Treatment. Where the symptoms are but slight, nothing may be required more than a little caution for a few days, and rest in the horizontal posture.
Neither very hot nor cold drinks should be used, the bowels should be made quiet, liquid diet should be given, and if restless or in much pain, 8 to 10 drops of laudanum in water may be given every two or three hours for five or six doses, care being taken that at the first onset of sleepiness the medicine is stopped. Should pain persist and flowing accompany it, the chances of preventing the abortion are poor, in which case take either linen or absorbent cotton or a strip of gauze, (any of them must be sterilized) and introduce into the vagina with as much pressure as can be used. This will usually stop the flow, though in many cases it will not prevent the abortion but win allow time to call a physician who will be needed in such cases. As blood poisoning causes such a large per cent. of deaths all precautions as advised under the chapter on antiseptic surgery should be followed.
If the abortion cannot be prevented, especially in the latter months of gestation, then the case is to be permitted to go on, and to be treated the same as a natural labor,
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