Womens Health

Pregnant After A Tubal Pregnancy?

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that women who have undergone medical abortions through the use of the drugs mifepristone or misoprostol are at no greater risk for having an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage in a future pregnancy than those women who are treated instead with surgical abortions.

In 2005, the drug Mifeprex, also know as mifepristone, received FDA approval to be used in combination with the drug misoprostol for the induction of a medical abortion in pregnancies no older than 49 days' gestation. Some 8-10% of all U.S. abortions are medical abortions.

Future Pregnancies

In order to evaluate the impact of medical abortion on future pregnancies, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Jun Zhang, along with his research team, studied Denmark's national abortion registry to find close to 12,000 women in that country who had received an abortion between the years 1999 and 2004. The researchers followed up by finding data on subsequent pregnancies for these women from other records, such as patient records and birth registries.

The team discovered that ectopic pregnancies, in which fertilized eggs implant outside of the womb, happened in 2.5% of the participants' pregnancies in both the medical and surgical abortion groups. The combined groups' figures for miscarriage stood at around 12%. Those women in the medical abortion group were less likely to deliver prematurely, or birth an infant with a low birth weight, but the difference was not considered statistically significant.

Lifestyle Habits

The researchers focused on the first pregnancy to occur after an abortion and opted not to compare results of those women who had had a medical abortion with those who had not had an abortion. The research team felt it would be too difficult to screen for outside influences that would affect the results, for instance smoking, rate of smoking, and other lifestyle habits that might impact on the health of the pregnancy. These variables would make it too difficult to compare them to those women who had had abortions, since the different factors would affect the outcomes of their pregnancies.

According to a Newark Star-Ledger report, one conservative body, Concerned Women for America, stated that the study is "misleading…It's most likely that women who have not had any abortions have safer outcomes than women who have had either surgical or medical abortions," said Wendy Wright, president of the CWFA. Despite such protestations to the contrary, the research team wrote, "Many studies have concluded that surgical abortion in the first trimester does not increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth or low birth weight in subsequent pregnancies."


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