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Specialist follow-up contraceptive support after abortion—Impact on effective contraceptive use at six months and subsequent abortions: A randomised controlled trial

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Usha Kumar, Louise Pollard, Lucy Campbell, Selin Yurdakul, Clara Cantalapiedra Calvete, Bola Coker, Tao Chen, Abdel Douiri

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217902
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

King's Authors


Objectives To assess the impact of specialist contraceptive support after abortion on effective contraceptive use at six months and subsequent abortions within two years. Methods Multicentre randomised controlled trial among women undergoing induced abortion in three London boroughs. Allocation was through electronically concealed stratified randomisation by centre, blinding clinicians and participants to arm allocation until interventions. Control group received standard care, comprising advice to follow up with their general practitioner or contraceptive clinic as needed. Intervention group additionally received specialist contraceptive support via telephone or face-to-face consultation at 2–4 weeks and 3 months post-abortion. Primary outcome was rate of effective contraceptive use at six months postabortion. Secondary outcomes were subsequent abortions within two years. Results 569 women were recruited between October 2011 and February 2013, randomised to intervention (282) and control (287) groups; 290 (142 intervention, 148 control) were available for primary outcome analysis. Intention-to-treat analysis showed no significant difference between the two groups in effective contraceptive use after abortion (62%, vs 54%, p = 0172), long-acting contraceptive use (42% versus 32%, p = 0084), and subsequent abortion (similar rates, at 1 year: 10%, p = 0895, between 1–2 years: 6%, p = 0944). Per-protocol analysis showed those who received the complete intervention package were significantly more likely to use effective contraception (67% versus 54%, p = 0048), in particular long-acting contraception (49% versus 32%, p = 0010) and showed a non-significant reduction in subsequent abortions within 2 years (at 1 year: 5% versus 10%, p = 0098; and between 1–2 years: 3% versus 6%, p = 0164, respectively). Conclusions Structured specialist support post-abortion did not result in significant use of effective contraception at six months or reduction in subsequent abortions within two years. Participants engaging with the intervention showed positive effect on effective contraception at six months post-abortion. The potential benefit of such intervention may become evident through further studies with increased patient participation.

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