Abortion is any interruption of pregnancy before 28 weeks of gestation, resulting in a dead foetus. Death of the foetus thereafter is called foetal death. Spontaneous human abortion may take the form of foetal infection and death, or uterine contraction and rejection of the partially formed foetus which may be malformed or have congenital anomalies. Spontaneous abortion may be habitual. It may occur as a result of disease, malnutrition, genetic defects including radiation, ageing, multiple pregnancies or emotional disorder. Women who smoke during pregnancy have a 27% higher chance of miscarriage. If resulting from disease this may be that of the prospective mother or father. Spontaneous abortion may result in death or the continuance of disease complications or emotional disorder. It may create marital and family problems resulting in breakdown. Although miscarriage may be more common than childbirth, women are not prepared for the possibility or for the callousness with which their feelings of loss and bereavement are dismissed by relatives and medical practitioners.
One to three cups of coffee a day increases the risk of miscarriage by 30 percent. Three to five cups a day raises the risk to 40 percent. Five cups or more increases the risk by 50 percent.
Miscarriages are a perfectly normal occurrence and serve a useful eugenic function in eliminating the unfit.