Every year around 50 million unintended pregnancies worldwide are terminated by induced abortion. Even in countries, where it is legalized and performed in a safe environment, abortion carries some risk of complications for women. Findings of researchers on the factors that influence the sequelae of abortion are controversial and inconsistent. This study evaluates the effects of gestational age and the method of surgical abortion (i.e., dilatation and curettage and vacuum aspiration) on the most common abortion complications: postabortion hemorrhage and fever.
We performed a secondary analysis of the data from the population-based Georgian Reproductive Health Survey 2010. Information on 1974 surgical abortions performed >30 days prior to the survey interview were analyzed during the study. Logistic regression statistical analysis was applied to compare the abortion sequelae that followed vacuum aspiration and dilatation and curettage at different gestational ages (<10 weeks and ≥10 weeks). We examined two major early abortion-related complications: postabortion hemorrhage and febrile morbidity (fever ≥38 °C).
Postabortion hemorrhage was reported in 43 cases (1.9%), and febrile morbidity occurred in 44 cases (2%) among all of the surgical abortions. The abortions performed by dilatation and curettage were associated with an estimated fourfold increased risk of developing hemorrhage (OR 4.4, 95% CI 2.2–8.6) and a twofold increased risk of developing fever (OR 2.37, 95% CI 1.17–4.79) compared with the abortions that were performed via vacuum aspiration. The risk of postabortion hemorrhage (OR 1.9, 95% CI 0.8–4.4) or fever (OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.4–2.1) did not significantly differ at gestational age < 10 weeks and ≥10 weeks.
Vacuum aspiration was associated with reduced risks of postabortion hemorrhage and fever compared to dilatation and curettage. Gestational age ≥ 10 weeks was not found to be a predictive factor of immediate postabortion complications: hemorrhage and fever.
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- Effects of gestational age and the mode of surgical abortion on postabortion hemorrhage and fever: evidence from population-based reproductive health survey in Georgia
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