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Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2005 Apr;45(2):122-7.

A randomised trial of surgical, medical and expectant management of first trimester spontaneous miscarriage.

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Centre for the Study of Mothers' and Children's Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.



Medical management and expectant care have been considered possible alternatives to surgical evacuation of the uterus for first trimester spontaneous miscarriage in recent years.


To compare the effectiveness and safety of medical and expectant management with surgical management for first trimester incomplete or inevitable miscarriage.


Forty women were recruited following diagnosis of incomplete or inevitable miscarriage, and randomised to surgical, medical or expectant care via an off-site, computerised enrollment system. The primary outcome was the effectiveness of medical (vaginal misoprostol) and expectant management relative to surgical evacuation, assessed at 10-14 days and 8 weeks post-recruitment. Infection, pain, bleeding, anxiety, depression, physical and emotional recovery were assessed also. Analysis was by intention-to-treat.


Effectiveness at 8 weeks was lower for medical (80.0%) and expectant (78.6%) than for surgical management (100.0%). Two women in the medical group had confirmed infections. Bleeding lasted longer in the expectant group than in the surgical group. There were no significant differences in pain, physical recovery, anxiety or depression between the groups. 54.6%, 42.9% and 57.1% of the surgical, medical and expectant groups respectively would opt for the same treatment again.


Expectant care appears to be sufficiently safe and effective to be offered as an option for women. Medical management might carry a higher risk of infection than surgical or expectant care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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