One of the greatest challenges in obstetrics,
is the high foetal loss which occurs in the first and second trimesters. A miscarriage is a cause of distress to any woman. Invariably the first question asked of her medical attendant by a woman who has recently had a miscarriage is, will it happen again? Apart from any mental anguish caused by a miscarriage, it is always accompanied by some degree of pain
and haemorrhage, the latter is usually greater than the blood loss which accompanies the normal third stage
in a third trimester labour. Haemorrhage with its accompanying shock is probably the commonest complication of abortion. Abortion thus accounts for a considerable percentage of the blood used in any institutional "Blood
Bank". When sepsis complicates abortion the matter of criminal abortion immediately comes to mind, however, it must be realised that sepsis may also follow a spontaneous
abortion, particularly if the patient is not curetted. Sepsis of the genital tract may cause permanent impairment of fertility. Cornual occlusion of the uterine
tubes, 1s a frequent finding in women who have had a miscarriage. Apart from these two great complications of abortion there 1s also the risk of damage to the genital
tract, in partioular, cervical lacerations.
In addition to the sequelae of the condition
itself, there are the added risks attendant to the treatment of the abortion, that is, the risk of anaesthetics and curettage.