Aims: Despite reliable and effective means of contraception, cases of repeat abortion are on the increase in all developed countries. The aim of this work was to determine whether women undergoing repeat abortions are exposed to risk factors which might be amenable to preventative measures, and the methods employed by carers in these cases.
Methods: We set out to evaluate practices in the Family Planning Centre of l'Hôpital Jean Verdier (Bondy, France) by sending a questionnaire to 147 women who had undergone two abortions up to 1997, and by conducting interviews with the care team. Thirty patients responded to the questionnaire.
Results: Twenty-two women (73%) underwent one or more further abortions between 1999 and 2000. Twenty-seven out of 30 women were unaware of the existence of emergency contraception. The 'morning after' pill, indicated for cases of unprotected sex, was unknown to one woman in two (15), nine out of 30 did not know what 'back-up' measures they should take after missing a dose of the contraceptive pill. Psychological problems were found in nine cases. These were followed up with a psychological consultation in three cases. The information given to the patients by the carers was the same irrespective of the number of abortions. Poverty and psychological problems were noted by the carers.
Conclusion: Patients who have undergone two abortions might benefit, in addition to their routine visits, from a consultation with a psychologist and a consultation providing information about contraception. Providing the contraceptive pill free of charge to low-income patients is essential.