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Repeat abortion: facts and issues
  1. Sangeeta Das, MRCOG, DFSRH, Specialist Registrar,
  2. Adewale Adegbenro, MBBCh, Senior House Officer,
  3. Susmita Ray, MRCOG, MFSRH, Consultant and
  4. Olubusola Amu, MRCOG, DFSRH, Consultant
  1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sangeeta Das, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Bolton Hospital, Minerva Road, Bolton BL4 0JR, UK. E-mail: sangeetadas65{at}aol.com

Abstract

Background The commonest reason for undertaking termination of pregnancy (TOP) in the UK is as defined by Clause 2 of the Abortion Act. There are no agreed criteria for defining 'recurrent abortion seekers'. We aimed to review the characteristics of women requesting termination of at least two consecutive pregnancies within 24 months of the first and to identify any factors for seeking repeat TOP.

Methods The database of patients that attended our Fertility Control Services from 2001 to 2006 was evaluated. Demographic data, contraceptive use in the cycle of conception and reasons for request were assessed for possible associations with repeat TOP.

Results The incidence was 2.3% as defined by our criteria. Financial circumstances was the commonest reason for seeking TOP (75%). The combined oral contraceptive pill and condom were the commonest forms of contraception in these patients before the first TOP (35% and 38%, respectively). Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) was used by only 8% of women before their TOP. Although 58% accepted LARC following TOP, only 2% continued its use thereafter and 50% of women were not using any contraception at the time of the repeat TOP.

Conclusion This study suggests that social workers and perhaps psychologists should be part of the peri-abortion counselling team. Contraceptive counselling should emphasise the side effects of LARC to improve compliance. Follow-up to ensure compliance and involvement of partners in decision-making could help to reduce the incidence of repeat TOP.

  • abortion
  • emergency contraception
  • LARC
  • long-acting reversible contraception
  • repeat abortion
  • Accepted August 20, 2008.

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