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2.
BMJ Sex Reprod Health ; 48(2): 146-148, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784852
3.
BMJ Sex Reprod Health ; 48(1): 35-40, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736081

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Abortion became decriminalised in Northern Ireland in October 2019. Until that point there existed no evidence concerning the views of health professionals on decriminalisation or on their willingness to be involved in abortion care. The purpose of this study was to address this lack of evidence, including all categories of health professionals working in obstetrics and gynaecology units in Northern Ireland. METHODS: The online survey was targeted at medical, nursing and midwifery staff working in the obstetrics and gynaecology units in each Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust in Northern Ireland. The survey was issued via clinical directors in each Trust using the REDCap platform. RESULTS: The findings showed widespread support for decriminalisation of abortion up until 24 weeks' gestation (n=169, 54%). The majority of clinicians stated they were willing to provide abortions in certain circumstances (which were undefined) (n=188, 60% medical abortions; n=157, 50% surgical abortions). Despite regional variation, the results show that there are sufficient numbers of clinicians to provide a service within each HSC Trust. The results indicate that many clinicians who report a religious affiliation are also supportive of decriminalisation (n=46, 51% Catholic; n=53, 45% Protestant) and are willing to provide care, countering the assumption that those of faith would all raise conscientious objections to service provision. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study are very encouraging for the development, implementation and delivery of local abortion care within HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland and should be of value in informing commissioners and providers about the design of a service model and its underpinning training programmes.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , Gynecology , Obstetrics , Attitude of Health Personnel , Female , Humans , Northern Ireland , Pregnancy
4.
BMJ Sex Reprod Health ; 48(1): 22-27, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736080

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Routine ultrasound may be used in abortion services to determine gestational age and confirm an intrauterine pregnancy. However, ultrasound adds complexity to care and results may be inconclusive, delaying abortion. We sought to determine the rate of ectopic pregnancy and the utility of routine ultrasound in its detection, in a community abortion service. METHODS: Retrospective case record review of women requesting abortion over a 5-year period (2015-2019) with an outcome of ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy of unknown location (PUL) at a service (Edinburgh, UK) conducting routine ultrasound on all women. Records were searched for symptoms at presentation, development of symptoms during clinical care, significant risk factors and routine ultrasound findings. RESULTS: Only 29/11 381 women (0.25%, 95% CI 0.18%, 0.33%) had an ectopic pregnancy or PUL (tubal=18, caesarean scar=1, heterotopic=1, PUL=9). Eleven (38%) cases had either symptoms at presentation (n=8) and/or significant risk factors for ectopic pregnancy (n=4). A further 12 women developed symptoms during their clinical care. Of the remaining six, three were PUL treated with methotrexate and three were ectopic (salpingectomy=2, methotrexate=1). In three cases, the baseline ultrasound indicated a probable early intrauterine pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS: Ectopic pregnancies are uncommon among women presenting for abortion. The value of routine ultrasound in excluding ectopic pregnancy in symptom-free women without significant risk factors is questionable as it may aid detection of some cases but may provide false reassurance that a pregnancy is intrauterine.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , Abortion, Spontaneous , Pregnancy, Ectopic , Abortion, Induced/adverse effects , Abortion, Spontaneous/diagnostic imaging , Abortion, Spontaneous/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Pregnancy , Pregnancy, Ectopic/diagnostic imaging , Pregnancy, Ectopic/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , Ultrasonography
5.
BMJ Open ; 12(2): e054120, 2022 02 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714411

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Urine pregnancy tests are often inaccessible in low-income settings. Expanded provision of home pregnancy testing could support self-care options for sexual and reproductive health and rights. We conducted a systematic review of pregnancy self-testing effectiveness, values and preferences and cost. DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis using the Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. DATA SOURCES: PubMed, CINAHL, LILACS and EMBASE and four trial registries were searched through 2 November 2020. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES: We included trials and observational studies that compared urine self-testing for pregnancy to health worker-led pregnancy testing on effectiveness outcomes; quantitative and qualitative studies describing values and preferences of end users and health workers and costs of pregnancy self-testing. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Two independent reviewers used standardised methods to search, screen and code included studies. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration and Evidence Project tools. Meta-analysis was conducted using random effects models. Findings were summarised in GRADE evidence profiles and synthesised qualitatively. RESULTS: For effectiveness, four randomised trials following 5493 individuals after medical abortion showed no difference or improvements in loss to follow-up with home pregnancy self-testing compared with return clinic visits. One additional trial of community health workers offering home pregnancy tests showed a significant increase in pregnancy knowledge and antenatal counselling among 506 clients. Eighteen diverse values and preferences studies found support for pregnancy self-testing because of quick results, convenience, confidentiality/privacy, cost and accuracy. Most individuals receiving pregnancy self-tests for postabortion home management preferred this option. No studies reported cost data. CONCLUSION: Pregnancy self-testing is acceptable and valued by end users. Effectiveness data come mostly from articles on postabortion care, and cost data are lacking. Greater availability of pregnancy self-tests, including in postabortion care and CHW programs, may lead to improved health outcomes. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42021231656.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , Self-Testing , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Pregnancy , Qualitative Research
6.
BMJ Open ; 12(2): e054076, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1701628

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Although considered an essential service by the WHO, there are indications that access to induced abortion care has been restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic. OBJECTIVES: To investigate if the number of induced abortions and ongoing pregnancies changed during the first pandemic wave of COVID-19 in 2020 compared with recent years prior to the pandemic and explore possible reasons for the findings. DESIGN: Convergent parallel mixed-methods design. Collection of quantitative data from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish Pregnancy Register, and qualitative data from interviews. SETTING AND TIME PERIOD: National data on abortions (January 2018-June 2020) and births (January 2018-March 2021). Interviews performed at the main abortion clinic, Gothenburg, Sweden, in June 2020. PARTICIPANTS: All women aged 15-44 years living in Sweden 2018-2020, approximately 1.9 million. 15 women who sought abortion were interviewed. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of abortions and births/1000 women aged 15-44 years. Themes and subthemes identified from interviews. RESULTS: The number of abortions and ongoing pregnancies did not change significantly during the study period compared with before the pandemic started. Interview themes identified were the following: meeting with abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic (availability, and fear of being infected and infecting others); and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the abortion decision (to catch COVID-19 during pregnancy, feelings of loneliness and isolation, and social aspects). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that the number of abortions and ongoing pregnancies remained unchanged during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 in Sweden compared with before the start of the pandemic. Abortion-seeking women did not hesitate to proceed with the abortion. The women expressed a number of fears concerning both availability of care and their health, which could have been properly addressed by the authorities.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Female , Humans , Pandemics , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2 , Sweden/epidemiology , Young Adult
8.
New Bioeth ; 28(1): 1-3, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700783
9.
BMJ Sex Reprod Health ; 48(e1): e22-e30, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1596186

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive (TGE) people face barriers to abortion care and may consider abortion without clinical supervision. METHODS: In 2019, we recruited participants for an online survey about sexual and reproductive health. Eligible participants were TGE people assigned female or intersex at birth, 18 years and older, from across the United States, and recruited through The PRIDE Study or via online and in-person postings. RESULTS: Of 1694 TGE participants, 76 people (36% of those ever pregnant) reported considering trying to end a pregnancy on their own without clinical supervision, and a subset of these (n=40; 19% of those ever pregnant) reported attempting to do so. Methods fell into four broad categories: herbs (n=15, 38%), physical trauma (n=10, 25%), vitamin C (n=8, 20%) and substance use (n=7, 18%). Reasons given for abortion without clinical supervision ranged from perceived efficiency and desire for privacy, to structural issues including a lack of health insurance coverage, legal restrictions, denials of or mistreatment within clinical care, and cost. CONCLUSIONS: These data highlight a high proportion of sampled TGE people who have attempted abortion without clinical supervision. This could reflect formidable barriers to facility-based abortion care as well as a strong desire for privacy and autonomy in the abortion process. Efforts are needed to connect TGE people with information on safe and effective methods of self-managed abortion and to dismantle barriers to clinical abortion care so that TGE people may freely choose a safe, effective abortion in either setting.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , Abortion, Spontaneous , Transgender Persons , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Preceptorship , Pregnancy , Reproductive Health , United States
10.
Lancet Glob Health ; 10(1): e105-e113, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586172

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Clinical trials have established the high effectiveness and safety of medication abortion in clinical settings. However, barriers to clinical abortion care have shifted most medication abortion use to out-of-clinic settings, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this shift, we aimed to estimate the effectiveness of self-managed medication abortion (medication abortion without clinical support), and to compare it to effectiveness of clinician-managed medication abortion. METHODS: For this prospective, observational cohort study, we recruited callers from two safe abortion accompaniment groups in Argentina and Nigeria who requested information on self-managed medication abortion. Before using one of two medication regimens (misoprostol alone or in combination with mifepristone), participants completed a baseline survey, and then two follow-up phone surveys at 1 week and 3 weeks after taking pills. The primary outcome was the proportion of participants reporting a complete abortion without surgical intervention. Legal restrictions precluded enrolment of a concurrent clinical control group; thus, a non-inferiority analysis compared abortion completion among those in our self-managed medication abortion cohort with abortion completion reported in historical clinical trials using the same medication regimens, restricted to participants with pregnancies of less than 9 weeks' gestation. This study was registered with ISCRTN, ISRCTN95769543. FINDINGS: Between July 31, 2019, and April 27, 2020, we enrolled 1051 participants. We analysed abortion outcomes for 961 participants, with an additional 47 participants reached after the study period. Most pregnancies were less than 12 weeks' duration. Participants in follow-up self-managed their abortions using misoprostol alone (593 participants) or the combined regimen of misoprostol plus mifepristone (356 participants). At last follow-up, 586 (99%) misoprostol alone users and 334 (94%) combined regimen users had a complete abortion without surgical intervention. For those with pregnancies of less than 9 weeks' gestation, both regimens were non-inferior to medication abortion effectiveness in clinical settings. INTERPRETATION: Findings from this prospective cohort study show that self-managed medication abortion with accompaniment group support is highly effective and, for those with pregnancies of less than 9 weeks' gestation, non-inferior to the effectiveness of clinician-managed medication abortion administered in a clinical setting. These findings support the use of remote self-managed models of early abortion care, as well as telemedicine, as is being considered in several countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic. FUNDING: David and Lucile Packard Foundation. TRANSLATIONS: For the Arabic, French, Bahasa Indonesian, Spanish and Yoruba translations of the Article see Supplementary Materials section.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , Self Administration , Self-Management/methods , Abortifacient Agents/administration & dosage , Argentina , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Mifepristone/administration & dosage , Misoprostol/administration & dosage , Nigeria , Pregnancy , Prospective Studies , Surveys and Questionnaires
13.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(22)2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523969

ABSTRACT

The limitations caused by the spread of the SARS-CoV2 virus have had repercussions on the voluntary termination of pregnancy. During the pandemic, Italy issued updated guidelines regarding voluntary termination of pregnancy by means of mifepristone and prostaglandin. This included news concerning the time limit and location in which this procedure could be accessed: updates partially recognize women's needs, and they are into line with the European parliament's recent exhortations. However, these updates do not change the previously provided responsibilities that lie with doctors. This article aimed to compare regulations concerning medical abortion in Italy and other countries, with a focus on recent Italian updates in the context of pandemic.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pregnancy , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol ; 267: 150-154, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1514157

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on hospitals' activity forced healthcare practitioners to innovate in order to provide continuity of care to patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of a newly established protocol for medical abortion and to measure the level of satisfaction of the patients who experienced abortion at home. METHODS: This retrospective study compared all the patients who had an early medical abortion at up to 9 weeks of gestation during the two drastically different periods between December 2018 and March 2021 ("hospital" and "home" groups). We evaluated the expulsion of the gestational sac as a primary outcome. The rates of infection, hemorrhage, retained trophoblastic material and need for surgical management were also assessed. A survey was also used to measure the satisfaction and acceptability of the method. RESULTS: The rate of expulsion of pregnancy was not significantly different between the two groups: 92.9% in hospital versus 99% at home. Early retained trophoblastic material and surgical interventions were higher in the hospital group. No significant difference was observed for the remaining outcomes. Moreover, the level of acceptability was similar in both groups, though patients felt safer in the "hospital" group. CONCLUSION: Switching an early medical abortion protocol from expulsion of pregnancy in hospital to expulsion of pregnancy at home is effective and acceptable to women, and may be associated with decreased rate of retained trophoblastic material. Further larger studies are needed to test the long-term result of this protocol.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics , Pregnancy , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Med J Aust ; 215(8): 349-350, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1485398
16.
Health Care Anal ; 30(1): 73-96, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482241

ABSTRACT

Access to abortion care has been hugely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has prompted several governments to permit the use of telemedicine for fully remote care pathways, thereby ensuring pregnant people are still able to access services. One such government is that of England, where these new care pathways have been publicly scrutinised. Those opposed to telemedical early medical abortion care have raised myriad concerns, though they largely centre on matters of patient safeguarding. It is argued that healthcare professionals cannot adequately carry out their safeguarding duties if the patient is not in the room with them. These concerns lack empirical support. Emerging evidence suggests that safeguarding processes may, in fact, be more effective within telemedical abortion care pathways. In this article, we address two specific safeguarding concerns: (1) that a remote consultation prevents a healthcare professional from identifying instances of abuse, and (2) that healthcare professionals cannot reliably confirm the absence of coercion during a remote consultation. We demonstrate that such concerns are misplaced, and that safeguarding may actually be improved in telemedical care pathways as victims of abuse may find it easier to engage with services. It is inevitable that some individuals will fall through the net, but this is unavoidable even with in-person care and thus does not constitute a strong critique of the use of telemedicine in abortion care. These safeguarding concerns set aside, then, we argue that the current approval that enables telemedical early medical abortion should be afforded permanence.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , England , Female , Humans , Pandemics , Pregnancy
17.
J Midwifery Womens Health ; 66(6): 749-757, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483912

ABSTRACT

Interest in self-management approaches to abortion with pills in the United States preceded the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and has accelerated during this global health crisis. Coupled with the unclear future of legal abortion in the United States, clinical care providers need to be aware of the range of self-managed abortion approaches and of the varying levels of engagement with the formal health care system they entail. This article is intended to serve as a resource to inform providers of the current landscape of abortion with pills in the United States, while also describing possible shifts in the future that may result due to the ongoing pandemic and the continuing erosion of access to abortion care and services.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , COVID-19 , Abortion, Legal , Delivery of Health Care , Female , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
18.
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(5)2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476460

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We undertook a scoping review of recent studies on self-managed medical abortion (MA) or abortion where some or all of the process is led independently by the person having the abortion, in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) to uncover evidence gaps and help stakeholders leverage existing evidence. METHODS: We searched five bibliographic databases for all articles published on MA between 2007 and July 2020 in LMICs. The search yielded 1294 articles. We identified 107 articles in which one or more of the three WHO-defined subtasks for MA was self-led outside of a clinic setting, and use of drugs that are part of safe, evidence-based regimens was related to the study exposure or outcome. We classified these studies by subject area, study design, country, legal context, gestational age and other categories. RESULTS: The 107 studies covered research in 44 countries, of which 18 have liberal abortion laws. Seventy- four articles reported on quantitative research methods, of which 14 were randomised controlled trials. Fifty-two studies focused on MA in the first trimester. Sixty-two focused on WHO subtask two (drug administration) and 32 focused on subtask three (assessing and managing abortion completion). We found little research on self-management of the entire MA process, innovative approaches to supporting self-managed MA or the needs of underserved populations. CONCLUSION: We recommend syntheses of evidence on safety and efficacy of self-managed MA and preferences of people undergoing self-managed MA. We also encourage new research on topics including self-management of the entire process, the needs and experiences of underserved populations and innovative approaches to supporting people undertaking self-managed MA. The time is opportune for amplifying and expanding evidence to inform programmes and policies on self-care.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Induced , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Developing Countries , Female , Humans , Poverty , Pregnancy
19.
BMJ Sex Reprod Health ; 47(4): 306-307, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462996
20.
BMJ Sex Reprod Health ; 47(4): 308-311, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462988
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