Subsequent Pregnancy Outcomes Are Similar After Medical and Surgical Abortion

Summary and Comment |
August 15, 2007

Subsequent Pregnancy Outcomes Are Similar After Medical and Surgical Abortion

  1. Robert W. Rebar, MD

Medical abortion is as safe as surgical abortion.

  1. Robert W. Rebar, MD

FDA approval of mifepristone (RU-486) for early medical abortion in 2000 has led to an increasing number of medical rather than surgical abortions in the U.S. Are medical abortions associated with the same subsequent adverse pregnancy outcomes as surgical abortions? To address this question, investigators analyzed nationwide data of all women in Denmark who underwent abortions for nonmedical reasons between 1999 and 2004.

A total of 2710 women had first-trimester medical abortions, and 9104 had surgical abortions. After adjustment for numerous potential confounders, cohabitation with a partner or not, and urban or rural residence, medical abortion was not associated with significantly increased risks for subsequent ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, or low-birth-weight infants.

Comment

As long as induced abortion is available, it will be used by some women who fail to use contraception or have contraceptive failures and do not desire pregnancy. This study indicates that the risks for subsequent adverse pregnancy outcomes are not appreciably different for medical and surgical abortion.

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