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Women's experiences of the final stage of early medical abortion at home: results of a pilot survey
  1. Sharon Cameron, MD, MRCOG, Consultant Gynaecologist,
  2. Anna Glasier, MD, DSc, Consultant Gynaecologist,
  3. Helen Dewart, RGN, Clinical Research Nurse and
  4. Anne Johnstone, RGN, BSc, Clinical Research Nurse
  1. NHS Lothian Family Planning/Well Women's Services, Dean Terrace Centre, and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh; also Department of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sharon Cameron, Dean Terrace Centre, 18 Dean Terrace, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh EH4 INL, UK. E-mail: sharon.cameron{at}


Background and methodology Research has shown that many women choosing an early medical abortion would prefer to be at home rather than in hospital to expel the pregnancy. A service was commenced at a hospital abortion service in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK that allowed women at up to 56 days' gestation to be discharged home soon after misoprostol administration. During a 3-month period, an anonymous questionnaire of women's experiences was conducted 1—2 weeks after the procedure.

Results During the 3 months of the survey a total of 145 women chose to go home to abort. A total of 100 women completed questionnaires out of 145 (69%) distributed. The commonest reasons given for choosing to go home were: to get home sooner (53%) and to be in the privacy of one's own home (47%). Most (81%) of the women stated that bleeding was either “as expected” (55%) or “not as bad as expected” (26%), and 58% of the women stated that the pain was “as expected” (40%) or “not as bad as expected” (18%). The majority (84%) of the women said that they would recommend this method to a friend.

Discussion and conclusions Discharge home for the final stage of a medical abortion was highly acceptable to women. Since availability is not limited by hospital bed space, more women can be treated by medical methods.

  • early medical discharge
  • home abortion
  • medical abortion
  • outpatient medical abortion

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