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Prostaglandin-induced abortion and outcome of subsequent pregnancies: a prospective controlled study

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 29 October 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:1114
  1. I Z Mackenzie,
  2. Keith Hillier


    We analysed a prospective series of 204 pregnancies occurring in 168 women after a prostaglandin-induced abortion. The mean (±standard error of mean) interval between abortion and first subsequent conception was 10·4 ± 0·6 months; no patient reported secondary subfertility.

    Fifty-five of the subsequent pregnancies were terminated, 23 during the second trimester, again using prostaglandins. Of the 149 pregnancies not terminated, 127 were delivered at term, and 19 spontaneously aborted, seven during the second trimester; there was one missed abortion and two ectopic pregnancies. Morbidity in the 127 term pregnancies was infrequent; spontaneous preterm labour occurred in three patients, and four singleton infants weighed less than 2500 g at birth. There was no apparent association between morbidity in the subsequent pregnancies and the period of gestation at the time of the previous abortion, route of prostaglandin administration, or need for post-abortion curettage.

    The results obtained overall were very similar to a control group of 612 women consecutively admitted for delivery or abortion to the Oxford obstetrical and gynaecological units. There was, however, an increased incidence of spontaneous abortion and placenta praevia after prostaglandin-induced abortion, and the multigravidae in that group had a longer average duration of labour than the control group. Sixty-five per cent of the post-abortion pregnancies were unplanned compared with 36% of the control group.