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First-Trimester Medical and Surgical Abortions Comparable

Medical abortions don't cause an increased risk of subsequent pregnancy complications compared to surgical abortion

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Medical abortions using misoprostol with or without mifepristone are no more likely than surgical abortions to increase the risk of spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy, preterm birth or low birth weight in subsequent pregnancies, researchers report in the Aug. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jasveer Virk, M.S., M.P.H., of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a cohort study of 11,814 Danish women who had undergone a first-trimester abortion followed by at least one subsequent pregnancy. Researchers compared the risks of pregnancy complications in women who underwent medical abortion compared to those who had a surgical abortion.

Overall, 2,710 women had medical abortions and 9,104 had surgical abortions. After controlling for maternal age, interval between pregnancies and other demographic factors, medical abortion was not associated with an increased risk compared to surgical abortion in any of the variables evaluated (ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth or low birth weight).

"Our nationwide cohort study provides evidence that medical abortion is at least as safe as surgical abortion with respect to the risks of ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, low birth weight and preterm birth in the first subsequent pregnancy," the authors conclude.

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