Research Article

Effects of legal termination on subsequent pregnancy.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 29 May 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:1303
  1. J A Richardson,
  2. G Dixon


    Two hundred and eleven patients who had undergone vaginal termination and were pregnant again were investigated; 43-2% had become pregnant within one year of termination. The overall fetal loss in the 211 patients was 17-5% compared with 7-5% in a group matched for parity but consisting of patients who were pregnant after a spontaneous abortion. Altogether 4-3% of pregnancies after legal abortion ended as first trimester abortions, 8-5% as second trimester abortions, and 13-7% in premature delivery. Among 11 women whose cervices had been lacerated at the time of legal termination the fetal loss in subsequent pregnancy was 45-5%, and only one pregnancy went beyond 36 weeks. Routine Shirodkar suture may be beneficial when the cervix is known to have been damaged at legal abortion. Several patients had asked that their general practitioner should not be told of their termination, and such patients may not admit their termination during a subsequent pregnancy, which could thus be jeopardised. No evidence was found to suggest that infants of patients with a history of legal termination are small for dates.