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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1985 Apr;92(4):308-16.

Outcome of pregnancy following induced abortion. Report from the joint study of the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.


A total of 1590 general practitioners and 795 gynaecologists in England, Scotland and Wales are participating in a long-term, prospective study concerning the sequelae of induced abortion. In the present report a comparison is made between the outcome of the first post-index pregnancy in 745 women whose index pregnancy ended in an induced abortion (cases) and that in 1339 women who had an unplanned index pregnancy but were not referred for induced abortion (controls). There were no statistically significant differences between cases and controls. The increased relative risk which was found amongst the induced abortion group of non-viable outcome, low birthweight and shortened gestation, could have arisen by chance. Further analysis of a larger number of pregnancies is required to permit confident interpretation of these observations. The present data provide no reason for alterations in the current management of induced abortion, or the subsequent pregnancy.


The ongoing study reported here aims to compare the subsequent health of a group of women (cases) presenting to their general practitioner and having an induced abortion with that of another group presenting to the same doctors with an unplanned pregnancy but not referred for an induced abortion (controls). Attention focuses on the course and outcome of pregnancy following induced abortion, to subsequent fertility and fecundity, and to all reported morbidity, but particularly monitoring psychiatric illnesses. This paper compares the outcome of the 1st post-index pregnancy for both groups. The 2 main groups of women were recruited by general practitioners from England, Scotland, and Wales during a 2-1/2 year period between 1976 and 1979. The subjects of study were 7232 women referred by general practitioners for an induced abortion and a control group of 7246 subjects presenting to the same doctors during the recruitment period with an unplanned pregnancy . For those pregnancies referred for induced abortion, the gynecologist was asked to complete details of the consultation and (if performed) the operation and early complications. In the control group, details of index pregnancy and their outcome were obtained from the general practitioners 9 months after recruitment. For all recruited patients a follow-up form was sent for completion by the general practitioners every 6 months from the time of recruitment, so long as they remained under observation. The induced abortion rate in the 1st post-index pregnancies of cases was 28% compared with only 11% in the control group; this has an effect on the observed rate of other types of outcome. In comparing nonviable outcome rates in the 1st and 2nd trimesters a life table technique, by the logrank method, was used in the analysis. Looking at all post-index pregnancies regardless of obstetric history, there was an excess of a nonviable outcome in cases compared with controls, but this was not statistically significant. The relative risk of a nonviable outcome comparing cases with controls was greatest in the 3rd trimester, but the number of subjects was too small to draw conclusions. In the 2nd analysis, women in their 2nd pregnancy who have had 1 previous induced abortion (cases) were compared with women in their 2nd pregnancy who had a natural outcome to their 1st pregnancy. Although the relative risk in these cases of any nonviable outcome was greater than in the previous comparisons, it was still not statistically significant. The data provide no basis for alterations in the current management of induced abortion or subsequent pregnancy.

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