Women who use prescription medication to terminate a pregnancy are unlikely to have problems caused by the abortion during future pregnancies. New research reveals medical abortions do not increase the risk of miscarriage, tubal pregnancy, premature birth or low birth weight.
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, wanted to know if women who have had a previous medical abortion would have a higher risk of these complications compared to women who have had a surgical abortion. They gathered data on 11,814 pregnancies in women who had previously used either of the two termination methods.
A medical abortion is when a pregnancy is terminated using medication. There are three available regimens at this time; misoprostol (Cytotec) alone, methotrexate (Rheumatrex) followed by misoprostol, and mifepristone (Mifeprex, RU-486) followed by misoprostol.
Women with previous medical abortions did not have higher rates of miscarriage, tubal pregnancy, premature birth or low birth weight than women with a previous surgical abortion, write study authors.
Researchers did not compare women with previous medical abortions to women with no history of abortion because there are too many differences between these two groups of women to allow for a clean comparison. However, study authors write previous research suggests surgical abortion is safe in the first trimester.
SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine, 2007;357:648-653