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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2006 Jun 22;126(13):1738-9.

[Self-decided abortion--different interpretations of 12 weeks of gestation].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Kvinneklinikken, Nordlandssykehuset, 8092 Bodø.



By the end of 12 gestational weeks, Norwegian women may decide on their own if they want to terminate their pregnancy. According to the abortion law, the upper gestational age is defined as 12 completed weeks or 84 days calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP). Using ultrasound, the recommended upper limit of the crown rump length (CRL) is 66 mm and the outer-to-outer biparietal diameter 26 mm.


In a questionnaire survey we asked how Norwegian hospital departments that offer pregnancy termination define 12 completed weeks and the upper limit of the CRL, and what method they use in case of a discrepancy in gestational length between LMP and ultrasound.


All but one of the 46 hospitals we addressed nationwide completed the questionnaire (97.8%). More than half had a wider definition of 12 gestational weeks than the law, the upper limit for CRL varied between 50 and 73 mm, while all used ultrasound in case of a discrepancy.


Even if clinical practice varies between hospitals, most of them interpret gestational age liberally. Women with the same length of gestation around 12 weeks, may be managed differently depending on where they are referred for a pregnancy termination.

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