IUDs & Contraceptive Injections Tied to Repeated Abortions

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Women who use contraceptive implants such as an IUD (intrauterine device) or receive hormonal birth control injections are at a higher likelihood of have a repeated abortion, according to a new study. The results of the study were published in the December 2015 edition of The Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health and Care.

The Study

A large study done in the United Kingdom found that females who use IUDs or contraceptive injections were more likely to have an additional abortion within 2-5 years of a first time termination, when compared to those who utilized other methods for birth control.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives such as implants or shots are oftentimes the contraceptive of choice for women after they go through an abortion. However, many females will discontinue these methods of contraception due to irregular bleeding and the need for periodic replacement.

The study authors do not warn against using implants and injections. However, they called for careful contraceptive counseling which takes into account a woman’s viewpoints, and for continued follow up care, usually after the initial 2 year period.
About one-third of women have had more than one abortion in the United Kingdom. Mostly, abortion is safe, but it can wind up causing a woman to experience distress, and sometimes it can lead to preterm labor in subsequent pregnancies.

The study authors wrote, “From a public health perspective there is a need to identify women who are more likely to have repeated terminations and put in place targeted interventions to prevent unplanned pregnancies.”

The authors carried out a retrospective study using information from the Termination of Pregnancy Database in the Scotland area between 1997 and 2003.
The study considered such things as age, socioeconomic deprivation, prior obstetrical history and past sexual history.

Of the 13,621 women in the study who had an initial abortion, 23.4 percent went on to have another one.
The results of the study showed that women under the age of 20 years old at the time of the first abortion had an estimate 5.9 times higher chance of having another abortion.

Females who had two previous live births at the time of their initial abortion had an estimated 1.51 higher change of having another abortion, when compared to women who had one single abortion.

Furthermore, these women were also more likely to have been tested for blood borne viruses and were also more likely to contract a chlamydia infection.
Women who had more than one abortion had a greater chance of having an implant put in as their post-abortion birth control method.

Women who received a birth control implant after an initial abortion had an estimated 1.78 higher chance of having another abortion when compared to females who used no method, or unknown or natural methods for contraception two years after their initial abortion.

In Conclusion:

Due to the fact this was purely an observational study, there are no firm conclusions about the cause and effect of implants and injections and multiple abortions. Nonetheless, the study authors recommend that women use a downloadable cell phone app to track their contraceptive implant to let them know when it’s time to change it.


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